There is a lot of confusion out there on how to best tackle your acting career. There are so many people doing and saying different things. Unfortunately—since everyone is doing these same things—most of them don’t work. On top of that, most of this sameness is dedicated to indirect communication—postcards, headshots, workshops—which simply don’t work when nobody knows who you are and what you are all about.
However when someone—like me—sheds some light on what really works and you agree with them, what do you do? Do you A) Get with the program? Or do you B) Start making excuses?
Here is a list of some of the most popular excuses actors make to put off pursuing their career.
1. I will do it when I have the money.
2. I’m having trouble with my relationship.
3. I need to have work/life balance.
4. I need new headshots.
5. I need a new reel.
6. I need more classes.
7. My friends/family don’t approve of what I’m doing.
8. I can’t memorize fast enough.
9. I have to take care of some things for my friends/family.
10. I’m not ready yet.
11. I’m involved in a lawsuit.
12. I can’t afford it right now.
13. I have to do the laundry.
14, I have to do my boyfriend’s laundry.
Why so many excuses? Most actors are confused about their careers and end up putting it last. Everyone and everything comes before their acting. After doing the laundry, the dishes, the banking, the crossword, washing the car, and scanning their hard drive for viruses. They may say that having an acting career is important to them, but they make up excuses and end up putting off what they say is important to them. Maybe organizing your friend’s birthday party suddenly sounds like a great idea compared to that student film audition. If you are terrified of cold-calling a casting director, then Meal on Wheels sounds awesome! Guess what? All those acting activities almost certainly will lead to you building your career, if you only get yourself out the door to do them. Guess where directors come from? The stork? No, they come from film school. Most great directors were once film students so why not go be in their films now?
I was offered many TV and film auditions based on relationships I forged on student film sets. I also ate some pretty awesome homemade food! Thanks, mama! You know what? I have to admit that I blew some off too, and all that means is that my career could have been moving that much faster if I had only had the gumption to stop making excuses!
Sure, it’s great to help out/flake out/check out once in a while, but the vast majority of your efforts should be dedicated to getting you where you want to go in life. Life is short. We have no claim to anyone but ourselves. Stop making excuses now.
David Patrick Green is a professional actor and the founder of Hackhollywood.com, a membership-based website dedicated to empowering and educating actors around the globe on how to become a professional actor. His simple, five-step approach inspires actors to be ruthlessly creative in their approach to the art and business of acting and life in general. Mr. Green has an MBA from the University of Southern California and was an international management consultant before realizing Platinum frequent-flyer status had few rewards other than boredom, bedbugs, and beer. His earlier reincarnations include working as an advertising account executive in Warsaw, Poland and he is still kicking himself for leaving the French Alps where, among other things, he taught skiing to European royalty and often simultaneously) tasted fine French wines. He has lived and worked as an actor in Los Angeles, Vancouver, and Toronto and coaches/consults to actors and businesses who want to get on the short path to success while maintaining a sense of humor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.