How To Succeed as an Actor: Give, Express and Expand

Here's how you can use those words to elevate your acting career to a level that benefits your life on a number of levels.

One of the biggest issues actors face when moving to Los Angeles is how to hit the ground running. At first glance, you would think that the focus has to be all on yourself. But if you’re looking to succeed, create an impact as well as experience a massive amount of fulfillment, you just need to GIVE, EXPRESS and EXPAND. Let me show you how you can use this to elevate your career to a level that benefits your life on a number of levels.

The truth of the matter is that we live in a city where initially it may seem as if Darwinism (survival of the fittest) reigns supremely in the Greater Los Angeles Area. But, that’s not necessarily the case, especially when you’re willing to give of yourself to others around you.  Now, don’t allow others to walk all over you but establish a level of trust within the entertainment community.

Here’s one of the main reasons you should give: it not only enhances your career, it invigorates your life. I’ve lived in Los Angeles for about seven years now, and one of the interesting things I find is that most people are operating on a “competitive” plane. This means that they’re willing to crush anyone in their way to get what they want at all cost. This can be dangerous because your ethics and morals potentially go right out the window. I don’t want that for you, I want you to be able to always have your integrity and be able to truly love the person and performer that you are. That’s why the true secret to the GIVE aspect of this article is a matter of living on the “creative” plane instead of the competitive.

The creative plane allows you to come from a place of being completely whole and secure. You understand that there is more than enough success to go around for everyone. You know that your career is only an extension of the phenomenal person you are. When this is the case, the pressure clamp, releases it’s hold on you. You will tend to have more fun, you want get attached to outcomes and yep you guessed it, you will give of yourself and resources freely. And by Universal law, what you put out is what you will get back!

I started in Los Angeles as a fitness professional and was fortunate enough to succeed on a high level. But my true passion was for acting. So I had to figure out how I was going to use my gifts to further my career. I emailed tons of industry people and their secretaries offering to train them for free in order to build a relationship on a personal and professional level. It worked wonders and I’m still friends with some of these people to this day. What gift of yours can you give that will put you in position to do what you love? When you think about it, I’m sure you will figure it out. Give it freely and allow that to be a stepping stone to your success.

There’s an old saying that says, “Closed mouths don’t get fed.” That couldn’t be more true in Hollywood. If you want something you’ve got to express yourself. By expressing yourself, I mean tap into what makes you authentically you and release it out into the world. Reason being is that you never know who is watching, searching or wanting to get to know you as the performer. Someone once tried to tell me that big name people don’t use social media. It’s not true. I can screenshot the times Paul Haggis (Million Dollar Baby) has liked a post of mine on Instagram. Or the time when Chris Pratt sent a buddy of mine a message on twitter in an attempt to collaborate. Social media is golden because it gives us that opportunity to express ourselves freely. For years, I’ve posted behind the scenes footage of my shoots to show those potential producers and directors that I am serious about my craft. You should also, because even though it may take some time, someone will find you when you allow the world to hear your voice. As the great song says, EXPRESS YOURSELF! HEY HEY HEY HEYYY!

The last part of this process brings it all together. Expanding just involves staying true to yourself and your craft. If you’re a lot like me, you don’t just want to be an actor, you also want to write, direct and produce. With the evolution of technology and video outlets such as YouTube and Vimeo, you don’t need a big studio backing to create your own productions. You can shoot, edit, post and market your movie all on your iPhone. I’m still wowed at the fact that this was absolutely unthinkable ten years ago. But now, you have everything you need to expand. The beauty of expansion is that it will make you a greater actor also. It wasn’t until I wrote and produced my first short that I was able to see film and television production from a whole new perspective. It really gives you the opportunity to see how important all parts are to the vehicle that is the entertainment industry. Expansion allows you to step out of your box and bring you what we all need the most as human beings, or better yet, what makes us the happiest, growth. If you have growth, then you have every right to be excited.

So there you have it in a nutshell: Give, express and expand! Through this formula there are infinite treasures you will discover as an actor that will, honestly, take your career to places you could have never imagined.

Shaun Grant is a conscious performer who uses personal development and self awareness in his acting approach. He is also the creator of Becoming A Powerhouse in Auditioning and hosts his own podcast called The Actor’s Area. Shaun has been acting, writing, and teaching for the past ten years. It is his prime objective to share the concept of vibrational acting and vibrational consciousness to performers around the world.

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