Want to Be an Actor and an Activist? Start With These Tips

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Bret Shuford, also known as “the Broadway Life Coach,” has been a prominent voice with Backstage’s The Slate series, offering advice and peace of mind to actors during these difficult times. In one of his recent YouTube Live sessions, Shuford recognizes why some actors may worry about how political and social activism may impact their careers, and he speaks to why that fear should be thrown away because activism is part of art. 

Shuford says your acting career shouldn’t prevent you from making your voice heard.
“There are no rules to show business. We all had this fear that there’s some sort of blacklist that if you do something, [that] if you say something that upsets one person you're gonna get put on some list and you're never gonna get hired again. I'm here to tell you that there is no list; there is no list, there is no magic key to getting in. What people really want is to connect with you as a human being.”

Acting is activism.
“Art is activism. Merely creating art into the world is a form of activism. You don't have to stand on some mountaintop and preach. You get to do this thing that you are naturally good at that God has given you this gift to be able to do. So acting is activism. You help the world through the work that you do. Simply singing a song that conveys how you feel, reciting a speech that is other people's words and interpreting those words that gives perspectives to other people, to the writer even. However you choose to create, that can be a form of activism if you allow yourself to be seen.”

On credibility vs. vulnerability and the importance of striking a balance.
“We have to find a balance of both. When it's all credibility, we're losing out on the human connection, you become a robot. No one wants to work with an actor robot. If all you know is to talk about what auditions and things are happening, you're forgetting to connect as a human. On the other side, if all you're doing is talking about being a human being and you're not sharing who you are as an actor, as an artist, you're not allowing people to be a part of that artistic journey, that collaborative journey that you want people to join.”

Don’t be afraid to lose followers.
“If you share your opinion, if you share your opinion about really anything, you're gonna probably lose some followers on Instagram. Do not be afraid to lose followers because you're sharing who you are. Because guess what you're doing? You're creating space for those people who believe in what you believe.”

For more from Shuford, watch his full YouTube Live session below, and keep tabs on who’s coming up on The Slate with our list of programming right here!

Looking for remote work? Backstage has got you covered! Click here for auditions you can do from home!