Success requires a confluence of events.
Success as an actor is a confluence of events.
I heard an actor say recently “I’ve done the work now it’s my time”. She’s super excited.
There are two problems with this statement.
There is a common misconception among actors that there are gazillions of roles they are right for passing them by. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. The breakdowns are specific – very specific. The director and the writer have a very firm idea of who their character is – they have a dream of how the project will look and feel including the characters in it. Now that may change or move but right now they have an IDEAL
The writer, the producer, the director and the studio or network want, no, NEED to find the right person to make the project sing.
The casting director is tasked with finding that diamond. Now it might be physicality, it might be that the character is a blonde with blue eyes or not. It might be a presence that they will know when they see it. It might be a slightly quirky something that again they will recognize when they see it.
And another thing is happening. This is the second problem with the actor’s statement. Her agent is submitting her on a lot of projects and the casting directors are seeing her material A LOT.
They may be impressed with the material, but she is not fitting the vision for the role.
Remember at this stage the “vision” belongs to the writer and director not the actor.
Or maybe the casting director doesn’t get the actor. The material isn’t resonating with them. Casting is subjective and casting directors see different things in different actors. For example, one casting director will comment that the accent in a scene is not good whereas another casting director says “meh we have coaches, I can see past that.”
And guess what’s happening to our actor. She’s getting fed up. Where’s that role? Why isn’t my agent doing more? I’ve done the work, I deserve to get the auditions. I think the casting directors hate me! And she feeds an ever-spiralling circle of self-doubt, anger and above all, frustration.
I’ll tell you something. In all my years in this industry I have seen more actors walk away when if they had stayed and pushed through, they probably would have seen success. It is very often not the ones with the most talent who succeed but those who hang in, who battle through, who keep going.
Yes, it takes time, sometimes. Overnight success is rare. Very rare. It takes, time, hard work, consistent effort and above all self-belief.
Remember this is a huge industry and yes the competition is fierce. But you are living in amazing times. The industry is global, the internet enables you to self-tape for anything anywhere, the opportunities are there for those who are ready for them and I believe, there is enough for everyone.
But the ones who succeed will be those who do the work, who persevere, who train consistently, who take their agents and managers advice, who provide their agent with new material – new scenes every 3 – 4 months to show how their training is paying off and how they are improving as an actor and those who keep going no matter what. They are the success stories.
When an actor is consistently bringing new material to the table, giving their agent something to be excited about, it tells the agent and the casting directors that they should invest some time in that actor, that he or she is as passionate about their career and their craft as they are.
So please, for your sake, for the sake of your agent or manager or both, for the sake of the world who should see what you have to offer – keep going, keep pushing, keep taking action, keep growing as an actor and proving it and keep hoping.
Every person is here for a reason. On your journey acting may turn into directing or coaching or casting or managing – who knows. But if you leave no-one will know what you could have achieved.