I’ll go right out and say it: I’m not where I want to be in my career. I realized I wasn’t where I wanted to be when I started watching Homeland, the TV show with Claire Danes and Damian Lewis. Claire Danes gives riveting performances in every single scene, in every single show, for seasons on end (and has the Emmy’s to show for it). I almost quit acting when I realized I didn’t feel like I could do what she does. Her incredible performances became a problem. My problem.
What I haven’t mentioned yet, is that I watched Homeland four years ago.
What did I do to address this problem in the last four years? I tried getting a new manager; I got many new headshots (I kept changing my hair); I took audition technique classes, worried about not booking enough when I did get auditions, or complained about not having enough auditions when I didn’t.
Addressing The Real Issues Holding You Back In Your Acting Career
And here’s my point: instead of fixing my real problem (strengthening my acting abilities so that I can believe in myself and stand behind my work with pride), I spent the last four years doing a bunch of things that “seem” important for an acting career. I think you’ll agree that in this context, these activities were a waste of time and energy.
When I finally decided it was time to stop avoiding the real issue (the number of new headshots I was shooting was getting ridiculous), in October of 2019, I enrolled in a serious scene study class. This is when things started to change. I gave myself what I needed:
- I needed to be challenged;
- I needed to work on material that had meat on it;
- I need to fall in love with acting again, for acting’s sake. Not to count the number of gigs I didn’t book.
Since then, I’ve performed nine challenging scenes in class and strengthened my acting to a level I never even thought possible. This has given me such confidence that I made a commitment to stay in class until I performed 200 scenes. The simple math tells me that if my acting can improve so much up after merely 9 scenes, my acting will be the stuff of legend after 200. And I decided that this is the level of confidence with which I need to run my acting business.
What Is Holding You Back From Soaring in Your Acting Business?
Now I’ll ask you: what is the one thing that will change your career? Do you need:
- A great agent?
- A guest star role?
- A new demo reel that can really showcase your talent (instead of showing your casting type)?
- More training?
- Fixing anxiety issues?
- To attend casting director workshops to help you with your nerves?
- Get a part time job that will help you invest in your career more?
I hope this blog entry can help you quit all the useless things you are doing to “stay in business as an actor” and put energy into that one thing you really need to do to get to the next level, and don’t stop until you get it.
Be Honest With Yourself
Be honest with yourself, you know what the one thing is. Do yourself a favor and answer that call. Remember: Great things are never easy.
You’ve got this.
My name is Lili Wexu, I am a Canadian-American actress. I moved to Los Angeles some years ago and I’ve written a few e-books about acting in Los Angeles to help other actors who are considering relocating here (or have recently relocated). Feel free to check them out.