Why do some people succeed in the acting world when others do not? Is it always down to talent or are other things involved?
Why do actors who have completed three years at prestigious drama schools, nurturing outstanding talent, often end up stuck in a rut, or even giving up?
Why do new actors with minimal training and mediocre skill sometimes end up flying to the top of the industry?
Have you ever watched a TV series or soap and thought to yourself, “There are much more talented actors out there, how did they book the job?” Are these actors merely lucky? No! They are not lucky. Being successful has nothing to do with luck and everything to do with attitude.
To stop being ordinary, we need to do things that ordinary people don’t do and think in a way that sets us apart from the rest.
Do we need talent? Yes! But having talent alone isn’t enough. We need to be the kind of person that others want to work with and possess the sort of attitude that means success is the only option for us – regardless of the knock backs.
Successful actors have certain qualities in common. If we want to follow their path, we need to mimic their behaviors consistently.
Here are some things that successful actors do differently
They are Passionate about Acting: In an industry where there are far more actors than there are jobs, it is essential for you to have passion for your craft. Those that are in it for fame, fortune or whatever else will not last long term – they tend to get bored and give up when they realise how hard they actually have to work.
They Have a Lot of Strength & Determination: Not many people can take rejection after rejection, brush it off and carry on. However, that is exactly what you MUST do as an actor. It takes strength and determination to keep going after each knock back. It takes guts to put yourself out there as an actor and to be critiqued by the public. It takes courage to keep stepping out of your comfort zone in order to move forward.
They are Patient: The famous saying goes, “It takes 20 years to make an overnight success.” This is real life, not a fairy tale. You are highly unlikely to be spotted by Steven Spielberg when you’re at Tesco’s doing the weekly shop. It will not happen overnight. It takes a long time to build relationships and a good reputation in the industry. As with other jobs, you start at the bottom and work your way up.
They are Confident: If you don’t believe in yourself then why should others believe in you? You have to believe in your skills and your ability to succeed. Your confidence needs to be stronger than your fear in order to put yourself out there. You can’t let other people’s opinions hold you back. You need confidence to be able to say yes to new challenges, and no to the things that won’t benefit you. It’s confidence that will keep you moving forward and testing your limits.
They Have Positivity: Positive actors see the best in everything and as a result, are happier and more motivated. Instead of dwelling on problems, they think of a way around them. The actors who have a positive attitude make others around them feel good – it is contagious! Who would you rather be with on set – the actor who is moaning that they are tired, cold, hungry and bored OR the actor who is having a great time despite being up at 4am and being outside all day in the middle of November?
They Possess Willpower: Are you able to resist short term temptations for long term gain? You’ve had a hard day at work and all you feel like doing is crashing in front of the TV.
Do you still go to your acting class? You had set aside an evening to start preparing your role in a film you have been cast in but a friend you haven’t seen in months calls to invite you to the pub for a few drinks. Do you go? It’s easy to talk yourself out of doing something you don’t feel like doing, but to get ahead, you need to be consistent in your efforts.
They Get on Well with People: I have known many instances where an actor has fit a role perfectly but wasn’t chosen because they weren’t easy to get on with. It’s simple – nobody wants to work with a diva or someone who is argumentative – and word does get around.
They Look After Their Bodies: Healthy body, healthy mind. Enough said. They Realise That There Is Always More To Learn You should always be striving to learn more and to improve in all areas of your life. Why settle for mediocrity when you can continue learning to be the best you can possibly be?
They Follow Instruction Well: Follow instruction carefully. During a scene, on set, at an audition, when applying for jobs… all of the time! It shows professionalism and that you will be easy to work with.
They Rely on Themselves: You are in control of your own future – don’t rely on anybody else. Haven’t booked a job for a while? Instead of blaming your agent/ the industry/ producers/ your pet dog – take a look at what you could be doing to help yourself. Do you need new headshots? Are your CV’s and online profiles up to date? Are you applying for your own work? Networking?
Take control of your future, be consistent with the above and see how your career changes for the better.
Do what others refuse to do and that will give you the edge!
Eirian Cohen is an actress, writer, co-producer for ESG Media and founder of Northern Star Acting. Her acting credits include lead roles in psychological thriller Inside Fear and comedy horror There’s No Such Thing as Zombies. Hugely passionate about acting and believing her true path in life is to inspire and motivate others on their road to success, Northern Star Acting was born in 2015. This academy was founded with the vision to offer new actors more than just an acting class – to welcome them into a tribe of actors and coach them to develop, not only their acting skills but the business skills and mindset needed to make it in the industry.