3 WORDS EVERY ACTOR SHOULD LIVE BY- By Tom Burke
As actors, there is already so much that we have to remember when it comes to our craft. However, there are three words that are so important for an actor to imprint in their brains and bring to the forefront every time they act: in class, rehearsals, on set, during meetings with agents or producers, headshot session, even doing something as low key as putting together an audition outfit. Image and branding is very important, and it’s important to focus on how your incorporate these vital words into the way that you choose to present and market yourself.
One of the main components in acting is exploring the truths in life and relationships. This is why it’s so important that actors must be completely honest with their own truths. If you are ever practicing a monologue, or even some scenes from a project you’re in, try turning the camera around so that you can see yourself through the eyes of the industry- not in your own eyes, or those of your family and friends. Those people will more then likely tell you what you want to hear. But actors need to acknowledge and be completely honest with exactly what they’re bringing to the table.
This even includes being honest about your range and physicality. Some of us would love to be the prettiest, youngest, whatever-est, but the majority of film and television roles represent real people portraying real lives. Just be you.) Camera’s don’t lie and you can’t either. You should own everything about who you are by just being honest.
As important as it is to be honest with yourself, it’s just as important to be realistic about who you are, what you have to offer, and where you fit in. From time to time we all think we can play every part. Unfortunately, that’s just not true.
Your acting roles will all fall within your parameter, which will be set by your look and your personality. They will also depend on your background and resume. For example, if a thirty-eight year old man who is very good looking suddenly decides that he wants to be an actor, and only goes for the roles that an actor like Brad Pitt turns down, no studio is going give that man (with no acting credits) a multi-million dollar film to carry. Realistically that would never happen.
You have to be realistic about where you fit in this industry today, not where you’re hoping you will be after a few years or at the end of a five-year career arc or even as soon as you book your dream acting job. You need to figure out, realistically, which roles you’re right for today based on your overall look, background and resume. And then choose to go after those. You will find it’s easier to target and achieve something attainable than an unrealistic dream. Keep setting goals for yourself, just make sure the keep them realistic.
Actors need to make specific choices and depict specific points of view when it comes to readings, auditions and classes. This also applies to your image. You need to be specific in the image you present. It doesn’t matter if you apply this to your headshot, reels, meetings or clothing. It’s very important.
Casting directors can get thousands submissions per role. If you read the casting call, it wont ask for “whatever”, “kind of” or “we’re not really sure” characters. Casting notices will be very specific in the descriptions of what exactly they’re looking for, which means actors need to be specific in the way they present themselves at all times. Whether this be in person or through their own marketing. A generic headshot, a generic performance, and audition in which you’re just trying to act like how you think they want, will not open doors to an acting career. It’s time to get specific.
Try taking an honest, realistic and specific look at who you are and how you present yourself. This can be on the most difficult tasks that an actor can face, so ask for help from acting teachers, casting directors, consultants etc. Whoever can help you achieve the most truthful self-evaluation, look to them. Show the industry that you’re a professional in that you know exactly who you are, exactly what you have to offer and exactly where you belong.