Having a hard day? Hard week? Hard year? Acting is a profession that will test you endlessly—but you’re tough enough to prevail.
When you’re down and out, or just need a quick line of motivation, here are 21 inspirational quotes from famous actors to get you on the right track!
“If you get a chance to act in a room that somebody else has paid rent for, then you’re given a free chance to practice your craft.” —Philip Seymour Hoffman on auditioning
“If all the circumstances of acting are made too easy, then there’s no grain of sand to make the pearl.” —Peter Sarsgaard
“If you live in the past that’s depression, and if you live in the future that’s anxiety. So you have no choice but to live in the present.” —Sarah Silverman
“If you risk nothing, then you risk everything.” —Geena Davis
“You’re not going there to get a job. You’re going there to present what you do.” —Bryan Cranston on auditioning
“Goals on the road to achievement cannot be achieved without discipline and consistency.” —Denzel Washington
“Giving voice to characters that have no other voice—that’s the great worth of what we do.” —Meryl Streep
“It’s important to say that the more challenging a scene is, in a way, the more fun it is because the more of my job I get to do.” —Daniel Radcliffe
“For me, our job as artists is to serve the story, serve the director, and serve the fellow actors. And if you do that, by osmosis you’re serving yourself because you’ll get the best out of yourself.” —David Oyelowo
“If you’re an actor, even a successful one, you’re still waiting for the phone to ring.” —Kevin Bacon
“My thought process has always been, I’m excited to show you what my version of this story would look like. You’re going to be able to get a little condensed show. That took the pressure off getting the job” —Tituss Burgess
“Without wonder and insight, acting is just a business. With it, it becomes creation.” —Bette Davis
“I’ve always approached things with hunger and just enough fear. Plenty of confidence, you know, but just enough fear to work extra hard. Paralyzing fear does nothing, but the kind of fear that makes you nervous enough to really be aware and focused? I like that kind of fear.” —Queen Latifah
“Learn to live your life—there’s no recipe for it. You can’t go to acting school to learn to be a deep person with a lot of experience to draw from; you can only become that person by feeling, by getting hurt, by feeling incredibly happy, by seeing the world; those are the things that make you richer as a person and give you a much bigger bank to draw from when you bring characters to life.” —Pablo Schreiber
“We think too much and feel too little.” —Charlie Chaplin
“When you’re in a theater, it’s about reaching the back rows. When you have a camera in your face, it’s just about knowing the size of the room.” —Corey Stoll
“An actor is at most a poet and at least an entertainer.” —Marlon Brando
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Photos Courtesy of Matt Doyle, Chad Griffith, and Stephanie Diani