How to Break into the Biz Without It Breaking You

Successful actors from film, stage and television share what they consider to be the most important things they've learned, not only about making a living as an actor-but about creating a fulfilling and happy life.

Nothing beats an on-set education. Be willing to work for free or be an extra. Pauley Perrette got her SAG card from being pulled for a bigger part while she was working as an extra. In the book NOW YOU TELL ME! 12 Actors Give the Best Advice They Never Got, Perrette says that being on a film set as an extra, or being on a film set anywhere is way smarter than sitting home on your couch thinking how great you are. In other words, "let your character have a big ego, not you." Be in the middle of it, learn the lingo, and see how a film is made. Throw yourself out there. Spend time on a film set, in any way you can, and watch, listen and learn. Perrette says that being an extra and paying attention is like free acting school.

Michael O'Neill suggests creating your own work as a way to break into the business. The industry is always changing and fast, so create your own work. Find projects and stories and other actors that interest you. In NOW YOU TELL ME! 12 Actors Give the Best Advice They Never Got he tells the story of how Charlie Day got together with 3 or 4 friends & said "What if you put several guys in a struggling neighborhood bar & had them come up with increasingly elaborate ways to keep it open?" With a miniscule amount of money and a camcorder they shot Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia and then sold the idea to Fox.

Begin to develop a community of industry people who are getting to know you as well as a group of actors who are just starting out like you. Julia Motyka says that so many opportunities, so many good things come out of the Vulcan mind meld of a group of young people just getting started. Someone might invite you to do a workshop or a reading or whatever it is and you invite other people that you know and your list of industry connections will continue to grow. Networking is key in every industry and the entertainment industry is no exception. Julia says, "Just keep working."

Michael McKean's advice is to just be yourself. He feels that the more you are like someone else, the less work you are going to find. It may seem paradoxical, because people are always making themselves the next so-&-so and sometimes they do very well at it. But if they can only get your product at your outlet, you get the sale. Michael states, "it's not just a good idea to be yourself, it's a good business strategy."

What if Sam Waterston were your uncle, and he told you all he's learned from his years in film and theater? That's the intimate feeling that comes from reading NOW YOU TELL ME! 12 Actors Give the Best Advice They Never Got.

Successful actors from film, stage and television share what they consider to be the most important things they've learned, not only about making a living as an actor-but about creating a fulfilling and happy life. Their admissions and observations will be fascinating for fans, but for those in the acting trenches, this warm and wise advice can cut twenty years off the learning curve.


Categories: Television

Tags: acting school, actors, advice, characters, entertainment industry, Famous, film, Movies, television, theater


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