Why You Need an Actor Manifesto

Your acting career doesn’t follow the rules. Rather, it’s an I-can’t-breathe-I’m-so-excited joyride that body slams you with an unexpected, hairpin-turn email that says they’ve gone in a different direction.

It’s as fickle as a cat who only wants to snuggle when you’re sitting on the toilet.  

It’s as brazen as Prince’s raspberry beret-wearing crush who walked in through the “out” door.

But you’re an actor and the unknown is kind of thrilling. You know the statistics of success in this business and you’re doing it anyway.

You’re all glittery, sunny, and full of high hopes until you don’t book for a while or can’t find representation or your agent drops you or the traffic takes its toll or....any number of things outside of your control. 

READ: How to Shift Your Thinking About Audition Rejections

Maybe you gave yourself a year to “make it.” Maybe your money is running out and you hate your day job. Maybe your family is encouraging you to come home and get a “real” job, one that will suck out your soul through your sensible shoes.

No. Don’t fall for it. “I did that” crushes “I wish I had done that” all day, every day, especially 20 years from now. Which is where the idea of an actor’s manifesto comes in.

If your resolve ever wavers, even just a little bit, then you need an actor’s manifesto to clarify and distill your why because if your why is strong enough, nothing can stop or deter you.

Your manifesto should be a tug-at-your-own-heartstrings reminder of why you’re doing this in the first place, your touchstone for when the going gets rough. So when you’ve had your fouth “no” in as many days, read it and remember, “Oh yeah, that’s why I’m doing this.” Here are some questions to ask yourself to get the manifesto juices flowing:

  • Why am I an actor?
  • What do I love about acting?
  • How does acting make me feel?
  • How do I react to the way others feel about my dreams or when I tell them I’m an actor?
  • What are my non-negotiables as it relates to my career and dreams?
  • What am I willing to give up to make my passion a reality?

And as for your day job? Keep working part-time—it’ll be different than the day before, just like your acting career. And that’s exactly why you keep coming back for more.  

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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.

Heather Hiatt
Heather Hiatt is a working actor and founder of the Magnetic Actor Method which is a revolutionary program designed to help actors bust through what’s holding them back in their career, from the inside out. She helps actors believe in themselves, stop overthinking and connect to any character they need to play in a brand new way.
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