Your dreams of becoming a working actor and thrilling people with your performance drive you forward. Acting is a creative art but they call it “show business” because it is a business, so consider yourself the CEO of your career, be your best advocate, and stay invested.
You spend a lot of time taking classes, being available for last-minute auditions, and making choice about your activities. There are also legal, financial, educational, and organizational things you can learn over time as you gradually take more responsibility for your career, schedule, and even finances.
As a young actor, it’s likely you’re surrounded by a team of parents, coaches, managers, and agents. All of these adults are invested in your career, but none have the same level of investment as you. To make sure you’re taking full entrepreneurial control of your own career, follow these tips.
Start by writing down your goals and what you want to achieve in this business. Stop relying on your parents to do it all. Young actors who understand the decision making, diligence, and sacrifice necessary to pursue an acting career gain more confidence.
Call your agent or manager yourself and ask what auditions might be coming up for you. Maybe it’s been slow or you want to pow-wow about what you can be doing to get things going. You will feel more in control, focused, and determined by understanding expectations and taking responsibility yourself.
Have an acting allowance.
Budgeting, goal setting, and understanding financial obligations are essential life skills. Ask your parent to help you learn about taxes, deductions, and bookkeeping. Make a plan and create a list of all the equipment and supplies you will need to be successful, then discuss a monthly allowance for pictures, classes, demo reels, new dance shoes, self-taping equipment, audition attire, theater tickets, etc.
Casting directors look for young actors who are focused and disciplined. Keep a list of everyone you’ve met, follow up with thank you notes after a great audition or a meeting with a potential rep. Stay in touch with fellow actors—You never know when they might recommend you to their agent. Do your research on auditions and opportunities. Put your smartphone to good use and log mileage, receipts, and appointments. Upload sides, keep an audition log and create an online acting notebook.
When you take steps toward making career decisions and learning about business expectations and responsibilities, you’ll start to feel in control of your future in an industry that doesn’t offer many opportunities to feel in control. You can’t control decisions made by casting directors, your body type, or even your vocal quality but you can manage your schedule, which auditions you pursue, and some of the required paperwork and record keeping.
You may decide later that show business is not for you but the entrepreneurial skills you glean will be valuable in whatever career you select later in life.
*This post was originally published on May 28, 2018. It has since been updated.
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