The 1 Thing That Can Destroy Your Acting Career

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A clear actor brand is vital to marketing yourself effectively. You work hard making sure your headshot, résumé, website, and social media platforms are clear expressions of it. But one thing can easily destroy all of that hard work.

Your reputation!

Your reputation is your brand. A reputation for hard work, generosity, and excellence leads to a long and successful career. But if the word on the street is that you’re difficult to work with, no matter how brilliantly talented you are, you’ll have fewer opportunities to work. No one wants to be stuck on set or in rehearsal with a negative, difficult, or crazy actor.

The good news is you have control over your reputation! Here are seven ways to create a positive one.

1. Be respectful. At an audition, always treat everyone with respect. Not just the artistic team, but the monitor, fellow actors, interns, and receptionist as well. Don’t trash talk in the elevator or the bathroom either. The person you didn’t know was within earshot could be watching your audition later. Today’s assistant may also become tomorrow’s casting director

2. Be gracious. Did your accompanist mess up your song? Remember, everyone makes mistakes. Be kind and thank them. Everyone in the room appreciates kindness. If you’re given direction on your reading, simply take the note and make the adjustment. Ask for clarification if you’re unsure. Be open to change. No one wants to work with an actor who won’t take direction.

3. Be dependable. When you confirm an audition for 12:10 p.m., don’t arrive at 12:15 p.m. And please don’t audition if you’re not available for the job. When you get a job, you’re expected to be there on time and prepared. If you’re the actor who is always late and is the last to learn your lines, you’re creating a reputation for being unprofessional and unreliable.

4. Be professional. No job is perfect, but be careful how you voice your displeasure. Don’t post negative feelings about co-workers on social media. If you’re working in a union theater and a violation occurs, talk to your Actors’ Equity deputy. Think before you confront someone with whom you’re having a problem. How you deal with a choreographer could keep you from working with the director, stage manager, producer, or actors again. Always ask yourself “Will my behavior today keep me from being hired in the future?”

5. Think before you tweet, post, or snap! Social media is not private no matter what your settings are! Why? Because our “friends” can share, take a screenshot, or spread the word if they don’t like your point of view. These 10 things to never post on social media can also adversely affect your reputation.

6. Only post media that shows you at your best! You don’t need all of your video footage on YouTube or your website. Pick the clips that reinforce your reputation as a terrific actor. Poor quality videos shouldn’t be made public. If you’re self-submitting or doing mailings, agents or casting directors should see you at your best!

7. Keep good company! Motivational speaker Jim Rohn’s great quote, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with,” also applies to your reputation. If you find yourself being negative, look around. If the people you’re associating with are negative, you may want to surround yourself with more positive influences.

If your brand is the macho/rebel/bad boy, don’t muffle it in the audition room, online, or in rehearsal, but know where the line is. Be the best version of yourself—the version you would want to work with. It’s completely possible to be edgy, rough, sassy, and assertive without being offensive or rude.

So remember, your reputation precedes you and lingers long after you leave! Do these seven things and more people will want to work with you.

To learn my four steps to manage your reputation online check out my video below!

Like this advice? Check out more from our Backstage Experts!

The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

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Heidi Dean
Heidi Dean is the industry’s top social media expert for actors. She was a working professional actor for over 20 years and a proud member of SAG-AFTRA and AEA. Now she combines her years of industry experience with cutting-edge social media strategy to help actors open more doors for their careers.
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