Whenever I hear students ask me questions like, “Am I good enough to make it?” or “Should I quit?” I always say, “How can you quit something you never fully invested in?” It’s one thing to quit and say, “I gave it a solid try. I did everything I needed to do to get myself positioned properly to be seen by the right people who can give me an opportunity and it’s just not working for me.” But it’s another thing to say, “It didn’t work. This career sucks,” and not do anything about it.
Like any business, it takes time and money. Some of you might say, “Why is that guy or girl working? They’re awful!” Well, I hate to say it, but it’s as simple as, they know how to work the business better than you. Do you know how to work the business? What is working the business? Well, there’s having a package that works, having reps that send you out, having the training that helps you book, networking and building relationships, and being ready when the opportunity comes.
This is a business. Do you know where you belong in the business? Do you even watch television? If one more person tells me about the amount of opportunities that they have been given and not nailed the job, I will just scream! If you’re one of those people, don’t take those opportunities for granted. Get prepared for them and go out there and fight for that booking. If you know that there is any type of hole in your package, why aren’t you fixing it? You need a fully functioning product for people to buy.
I’ve been on all sides of this business from personal management to casting to producing to writing to directing to acting, etc. for 20+ years and I have to say that the people that have made it were the most together, focused, and determined people on the planet. Trust me, I have made more than my share of mistakes and missed plenty of opportunities. I truly wish I knew then what I know now.
So, before you decide to quit, ask yourself these four questions:
1. Have I given it my best shot? The day you start your career can’t truly be counted as the amount of time you have been going at it. When your arsenal of photos, demo clips, and résumé all match you, then you are considered a comprehensive package. After you get your team of people and have given it your all for five solid years, then perhaps you can make a fair assessment. Until that time, it’s been a hobby, not a career.
2. How hard am I working to get someone on my team? We have lost some really talented A+ actors because they got frustrated, gave up, and moved back home. If you are that A+ actor with a C+ package, how can you expect anyone to logically see past that package? There are great companies out there that can put together amazing demos with scenes that look like you can be a series regular on television. Is your résumé formatted properly? And do your photos look like roles that can easily represent your type that we see every day on television? We live in a “snapshot” society. Casting and reps need to get a hit on where you fit in immediately.
3. Am I busy complaining and not getting busy working? Action relieves anxiety. It’s truly counterproductive to sit around being negative about what isn’t working in your career. Are you on all the actor websites? Are you submitting yourself? You never know where people are going to find you. It’s not always the typical way. Work begets work.
4. Am I really doing what it takes? Do you have a schedule every day that supports your acting career? How much time are you investing in it? Think of yourself as a shoe in a shore store. Is your shoe selling? If it’s not, keep moving that shoe around the store or get another shoe. Keep working on making it work. Don’t forget, you are the product.
I honestly can go on and on about this topic, but for now I will say: Go for it with all you have and don’t let anything or anyone get in the way of your success. If you have done everything that you could possibly have done, then you can say that it didn’t work. Just know…the only way that you don’t make it if you quit.
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