21 Inspirational Acting Quotes From Famous Performers

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Photo Source: GL Askew II/Jason Hetherington/Camila Falquez for Netflix

Having a hard day? Hard week? Hard year? Acting is a profession that will test you endlessly—but you’re tough enough to prevail. Whether you’re down and out, or just need a quick line of motivation, here are 21 inspirational acting quotes from famous performers to get you on the right track.


Famous actors on auditioning

Tituss Burgess, Queen Latifah, and Billy Porter

Burgess Credit: Eric Liebowitz/Netflix, Latifah Credit: Michael Greenberg/CBS, Porter Credit: JoJo Whilden/FX

“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

“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

“We speak into existence what we are. If you keep saying, ‘I can’t,’ then you won’t. If you say, ‘I can,’ then there’s a transition that happens all around you. Me speaking life into myself ultimately has changed my life.” Billy Porter

“You cannot try to get the job. Just go in there, have some fun, and do your version of that part. This is what I’m selling. If you want to buy it, that’s cool. Have some adjustments for me? That’s fine, I’ll make some adjustments, but this is basically what I want to do. That’s the attitude, sort of a ‘fuck it’ attitude. Not fuck you, but fuck it.” Sam Rockwell

“My approach is to look at the character’s world. Often, we get so locked into memorizing lines and practicing how we’re going to say those lines, when in reality the lines are just a symbol or representation of the person. I spend a lot of time getting into the character’s life. Every character has a point of view, so what informs this character’s point of view?” Malcolm-Jamal Warner

Famous actors on overcoming challenges

Brendan Fraser, Pablo Schreiber, Sarah Silverman

Fraser Credit: Featureflash Photo Agency/Shutterstock, Schreiber Credit: DFree/Shutterstock, Silverman Credit: Joe Seer/Shutterstock

“When everyone is working at such a diligent level, an intentional level, you can lean on those shoulders. The weight is not all on you, even if you are the lead. It’s a community for a reason.” Danielle Deadwyler

“I know how wanting this profession can make people become. It can really change your brain chemistry, turn you into a different person that you maybe weren’t anticipating. I wanted to make sure I had a strong sense of identity. That always came from feeling comfortable in my own skin—the way I felt as a kid, going somewhere new all the time.” Brendan Fraser

“What drove me to give voice to this dream, to step in front of the camera again not knowing what the outcome was going to be, was…fear of regret. I don’t want to live my life with regrets.” Ke Huy Quan

“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

“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

Famous actors on the work of acting

Bryan Cranston, Sarah Snook, Constance Wu

Cranston Credit: Ben Rothstein/Vinton Productions, Snook Credit: David Russell/HBO, Wu Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

“The job of an actor is to really get close to that and become a vessel for sensations, not ideas or plans or technicalities—sensations.” Javier Bardem

“It stopped being about trying to be a good student. It became: What is my own relationship to this [character]? How can I diminish the line between me trying to be someone else and instead just really feel like I’m seeing the world through his eyes? I would wake up and just follow my curiosity. It became much more personal.” Austin Butler

“When I ask if you’re talented, you’d better say yes. Not in a boasting sort of way, just a quiet confidence: ‘Yes, I’m talented. I know I am.’ You need that. And you need persistence and you need patience, and that’s not contradictory.” Bryan Cranston

“I think the process of making anything is going as far afield as you can and then reconnecting to the original impulse. That’s the gig.” Lin-Manuel Miranda

“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

“When people used to ask what I did, I’d say, ‘Oh, I do acting.’ Then that shifted to me saying, ‘I’m an actor.’ It’s such a tiny little change in language, but it really feels different.” Bella Ramsey

“Out of joy comes comedy.” Martin Short

“Stand behind whatever decision your character makes, even if it’s the wrong one.” Sarah Snook

“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

“But what I always say is, craft is first. Craft, craft, craft. That, you can never get away from.” Lena Waithe

“You build those emotional memories, and then you eventually have a mountain of them and you ski down the mountain, and you let the slope take you where it wants to take you. You can’t preplan. You can’t be like, ‘I’m gonna think of this memory I created at this point,’ because then your performance becomes static. But you can build it so it’s in your bones and it speaks through you. It is in the script; you just have to find it.” Constance Wu

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