So you’re interested in being an actor?

If you’re up for long hours and low pay, bouncing back from near-constant rejection, and committing to hairstyles you’d never choose for yourself for the sake of the show, read on. If not, don’t despair, there are plenty of ways to work in the arts in a 9-to-5 environment.

If you truly want to be a successful actor, you’ll need to take classes. No matter now much innate talent you have it’s still important to learn the language of the business and learn how to work with other actors. Academy of Art acting classes, classes at other universities, conservatory programs and even with local reputable instructors also give you excellent (and vital) networking opportunities. No matter how many classes you take, you won’t be successful without these three traits:

Respectful

How to be an actorActors must be respectful, especially when it comes to time. In the real world this means arriving early so you are ready to work at call time. If you are walking through the door at call you are late and you affecting everyone else’s productivity. This summer, the BBC suspended (without pay) a star of their soap “EastEnders” for regularly arriving late at work. Other actors have been summarily dismissed for similar behavior. Don’t get a bad reputation for poor time management.

You also have to know when to argue (politely) with a director and when to follow his vision. And no one likes an actor who is disrespectful of others’ hard work — when you try on and take off a costume, remember, someone worked hard to choose and create it. The same goes for all of the other aspects of production. Unless you have a constructive comment don’t be derisive, it’s a small world and you don’t want to be known for having a bad attitude.

Unselfish

As an actor you cannot always be the center of attention. You have to know when to take the spotlight and when to let a fellow actor take focus. You must also commit to your character — a character who might think, say and do things you personally wouldn’t — without showing your personal feelings about it. This is especially important in improvisational comedy.

Charna Halpern, founder and director of the iO (improv Olympics) theatre, says:

I think a lack of commitment is my biggest pet peeve. Some team is trying to build something really cool, whether it be physical or verbal, and somebody else stands off the stage with their arms folded going ‘I’m too cool for that. I’m not going to do that.’ Then that’s not going to succeed. It’s only when everyone’s fully committed that something cool will come out of it.

Driven

You have to want to succeed, because the road to success will be hard and the road after success won’t be much smoother. As seen on FilmTVCareers, not only do you have to constantly expand your skills and horizons, you have to constantly battle to find acting work and stay optimistic. You won’t have someone to get you up in the morning and force you to go to three auditions, it all has to come from you.

Award-winning actor Ben Gazzara, was quoted in Backstage Connect as saying, “Don’t do it. Unless you’re insane, unless you love it so much you cannot live without it, unless you’re a masochist able to take rejection 90% of the time and acceptance–if you’re lucky–10% of the time, then you can be an actor.”


1 Response » to “The 3 Essential Traits of a Successful Actor”

  1. Great article :) They could also check out Backstage for auditions and even sign up for Actors Access – both are really good resources.

    Now Casting is good as well but that’s down a couple of tiers.

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