With so many reality shows emerging in recent years, a huge number people—fueled by images of overnight fame and fortune—are pouring into our industry hoping to become the next big star. Because of this, real artists are finding themselves surrounded by an ever-increasing crowd of wannabes vying for attention. Casting directors are now faced with hundreds—sometimes thousands—of submissions for the smallest roles, and because time is a factor, they often end up bringing in the actors they already know. This means other legitimate talent is lost among the sea of faces.
So, how do you stand out? Of course there are many ways to be noticed in a crowd. You could jump up and down. Take your top off. Twerk. Make loud noises. But those strategies usually create short-lived interest or ridicule. Instead, there are ways to stand out in the crowd in a professional way and be noticed as the real artist that you are. Here are some of them.
1. Take your work seriously. Being a respected artist requires that you become a master at your craft. If you’re not working consistently already, get out there and hone your skills in every way possible.
2. Don’t take yourself too seriously. We all make mistakes, and it’s how we handle it that makes the difference. Learn to laugh at yourself, brush yourself off, and carry on with the job at hand.
3. Be a server. The entertainment industry is full of actors who are hoping to get their break, but the actors who really stand out show up with something to give. An attitude of service makes people interested in what you have to offer.
4. Be disciplined. Artists often live by impulse and feeling, but those who really make it in the world of dollars and time constraints also develop the art of discipline. Consistently show up on time, honor your commitments, and be prepared.
5. Know thyself. Get feedback from others, and find out how you come across. This way you can accurately market yourself and target the roles that fit.
6. Say “no” when necessary. If you keep saying “yes” to everything that comes along, you’ll get lost. Get clear about what you really want and don’t be afraid to say “no” to what you don’t want.
7. Raise your emotional intelligence. There are more than enough wacky folks in the crowd so do your personal work and heal what needs to be healed—not only for the sake of your work but for the business itself.
8. Love thyself. Self-love has nothing to do with the ego. It is a confidence and friendship inside you that elevates your relationships with everything else. You’ll stand out by being modest yet happy with who you are.
9. Believe you can do it. When you truly believe you can create what you envision and you take the steps to make it happen, not much can get in the way.
10. Act like you’re already successful. People who act like wannabes tend to stay that way. Start being the person you want to be, and life will meet you there.
11. Do whatever you do with excellence. Even if you’re currently waiting tables or doing extra work—excel in it. Practicing excellence anywhere prepares you to deliver high-quality work as a professional.
12. Be a master collaborator. Be a great team player. Make your fellow cast members look good, and show up for the benefit of all.
13. Be kind to everyone. Lots of people in our industry are only nice to those who can do something for them. Stand out by treating everyone as important and interesting—even those who can do nothing for you in return.
14. Be response-able. Respond to e-mails, calls, requests, and inquiries as soon and often as you can. Your responsiveness will have you stand out as a person who respects others and communicates well.
15. Be responsible. If you miss an appointment or make a mistake, you’ll gain respect from the industry if you take responsibility for your own actions and make the amends you need to make.
16. Get organized. Get to know what it’s like to be organized in your own life so that when the opportunity turns up, you’re ready and able to be part of a larger organization, like a production or show.
17. Have purpose. Purpose is one of the most important things an actor can have. I’m not talking about the popular things like “I want to win an award,” but rather a deeper understanding of why you’re even in the business and what your higher intention is.
18. Practice listening. Learn to listen from your heart, to listen with intuition, and to listen to what’s being said beyond the words. You will stand out in life and as an actor.
19. Be around those who elevate you. There are plenty of miserable, complaining actors sitting around saying they should be famous by now. Positive, proactive, creative, and inspiring artists rise to the top, and if you’re going to be around anyone, make it the people you want to be more like.
20. Set achievable goals. For many, goals are impossible to accomplish because they’ve not been thought through. Get clear about what you want and get some support in creating an easy, doable plan for your career path.
21. Be inspired. A passion for life attracts us to the actors we love and keeps them on our screens. To stand out and inspire others, you must first be inspired.
Practice these traits and you’ll not only stand out in the crowd, you’ll probably travel far beyond it.
Justina Vail, PCC CHt, is a life coach, master NLP practitioner, hypnotherapist, speaker, award-winning author, and award-winning actor. She is owner of Actors Life Coaching and author of the award-winning new book “How to be a Happy Actor in a Challenging Business: A Guide to Thriving Through it All."
Vail coaches actors all over the world via Skype and in person. For info about private coaching packages as well as Actors Life Coaching seminars and workshops visit www.actorslifecoaching.com.