“When they tell you that you can’t do it, don’t listen”. ~ Ruth Gordon

The acting profession in some ways is like treading on thin ice. Apart from the obvious risk of falling into the lake and drowning, there is also that inner drive to always surpass your last performance and that tenuous grasp on steady work amidst a sea of competitors.

Studying those actors you have always admired will render an insight into understanding their techniques, which in turn will lead you to develop your own performance magic. A great way to study your favorite actors is to watch the movies they have been in. DirecTV’s Genie allows for you to record and search movies by actor and makes your study quick and painless. If you are looking to sign up for DirecTV www.saveontvdirect.com offers great start up rates for new customers. Also read their biographies and look for those moments that professionally defined them; those forks in the road where they stepped out of their comfort zone.

Learning how to be a good actor isn’t magic at all; it’s like every other craft that needs to be nurtured, honed, studied and practiced. Bear in mind the following:

Learn how to network
Behind every great actor there are those who helped in one way or another along the way. All of your favorites, without exception, cultivated relationships with industry professionals albeit in their own particular manner.

Be realistic
Aiming high is fine but you must earn your way to the top. It takes time to build legitimate credentials; learn to develop both your skills and a good work ethic.

Set long term goals
The big picture should always be your ultimate objective. Finding an agent and getting the right headshot are two pieces in the grand chess game of success, but it is getting the king and queen and the whole royal family together that matters most.

Take risks
The industry demands adaptation and even re-invention sometimes. All of your favorites had to do it and so will you. Learn from their mistakes and find inspiration in their examples.

Theater jargon is a sign of being an insider. Here are a few words to add to your vocabulary:

  • Avail- an actor’s availability for a specific project without any contractual obligations.
  • Composite- These series of headshots on an 8’’ x 10’’ sheet reflect an actor’s various looks and expressions.
  • Copy- A script, informally
  • Holding- Where background performers remain until they are needed on set.
  • Mark- This position, on a set or stage usually indicated by a chalk mark or piece of tape on the floor, ensures an actor will have proper lighting and camera angles.

Becoming a successful actor requires dedication and the fortitude to face countless rejections. But find strength in Ruth Gordon’s words when she received her first Oscar after more than forty years in the theatre industry:

“A thing like this can be encouraging!”