Written by Dallas Travers, CEC
Do you ever catch yourself wishing you could stop shlepping all over town to auditions and just wait for the offers to roll in instead? Like Halle Berry or Tom Hanks or even lesser known actors who go straight to producers?
Well, perhaps that shift could start with you.
What if you started to treat your career with the respect you wish others felt for you? I bet if you did, you’d start to feel more empowered and less at the whim of your next audition. I want to help you be in charge of your career sooner rather than later.
So, let’s get to it.
Here are 3 suggestions to take charge of your career right now:
1. Have a life
If you’re always waiting around for the phone to ring or postponing or canceling plans in case you book something, you’re missing out. On life. Truly. The best actors out there are rich with life experiences that they can draw from for their craft. So have a life. Go out and travel whenever possible. Get a hobby and practice it. Of course see movies and TV shows you’re interested in working on, but you should also read, go hear live music, visit museums and gardens. Meet people, connect, and have fun.
2. Know your worth
Just because you’re not starring in your own sitcom yet doesn’t mean you’re less of an artist or a person. You have gifts to give and no one is in competition with you because there’s no one else exactly like you. I know, you’ve heard all that before. But do you really know how valuable you are to a project that casts you? Do you know what you do really well? If you don’t, find out. Ask your acting teacher or your last director. Ask your scene partner. Let them reflect back to you what they think your greatest strengths are.
And then you need to really own those gifts. You get to walk into your next audition with your head held high because you know how you can serve the project and no one can take that away from you. Don’t you think every movie star you could name knows what they do really well and why they continue to get hired? It’s time for you to know the same about yourself.
3. Ask for what you want
When you’re at the point of really knowing your worth and what you bring to the table, your confidence starts to grow. And when you’re that confident, it feels right to ask for what you want. I have a great story of an L.A.-based actress named Caroline that is a great example of this.
“I recently went to USC for an audition, spent hours preparing and driving and parking, only to find the filmmakers had a “snafu” and simply weren’t there. A total waste of time. Then I got a call for another audition at USC but I was still bitter about getting stood up, and wouldn’t be able to go there again without having a chip on my shoulder.
So I called the filmmaker back, and said, as professionally and confidently as I could:
I’m calling you back regarding [film], and am very interested in your project.
I get asked to audition for USC often, and I’ve learned through doing many student films over the years, that the way I work best is, rather than auditioning –where I don’t get the chance to learn anything about you, your vision, or your approach – I meet with filmmakers and we get to know each other to see if we are on the same page as far as your vision, and how I could see myself interpreting the character
I understand this takes a bit of extra time, but I find that it can really pay off.
Take a second look at my website and my reel if you’d like and if you [feel] it would be worth us meeting together, then great. You can even have auditions first and if you don’t find someone really perfect THEN we can meet.
The filmmaker seemed surprised but impressed. I’d already made an impression before walking in the door!
I looked at the sticky on my desk that said: “Replace auditions with meetings and offers.”
I felt so empowered. I felt kind of like a movie star who doesn’t have to audition. They just “take meetings.”
Their work speaks for itself and I believe mine does as well — but NOW, I am actually BEHAVING as if my work speaks for itself. I’m saving myself a ton of time (and frustration and gas and heartache)!”
Now that’s truly knowing your worth and asking for what you want. How can you step up your game and treat your career more like Caroline did?
The leading expert on business strategy for actors, Dallas Travers teaches the career and life skills often left out of traditional training programs. Her groundbreaking book, The Tao of Show Business, garnered five awards including first prizes at The Hollywood Book Festival and the London Festival and a finalist for the National Indie Excellence Award. Through her workshops, Dallas helps thousands of actors increase their auditions, produce their own projects, secure representation and book roles in film, television, and on Broadway. She is a certified life coach and entrepreneur with over a decade of experience implementing marketing and mindset strategies that work.
For more information about working with Dallas, visit www.thrivingartistcircle.com.