As actors, it’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling powerless. Waiting for a callback, hoping for a booking, crossing our fingers that they wanted a brunette instead of a blonde. Can you relate to that feeling?
Even though there are aspects to an actor’s career that, yes, rest in the hands of the powers that be, it’s a trick of the mind to get in the habit of expecting that we don’t have any control.
Or – said another way – we’re fooling ourselves if we don’t recognize that when we step into the world with focused intention and take charge of where we want our career to go, we become incredibly powerful!
Here are 5 things you can do today to own your power as an artist and creator... “desperately checking to see if your agent called” not included!
Powerful Action #1: Use Technology to Your Advantage
Like it or not, technology is now part of the game. Sure, you could probably get along without it... but why not take advantage of a helpful tool that can move you forward?
I love this post that The Workshop Guru recently published about keeping your IMDB page up to date. Ajarae says, “Any industry professional goes to IMDB first to look for you.” Do yourself a favor and give your IMDB profile a little bit of love!
If you’re a stage actor, you can still use the power of the web to give yourself a leg up. Create a killer actor website that shows off your skills and makes you look like the real deal. We love Tony Howell’s program for creating amazing websites for actors to accomplish just that.
Essentially, the idea is to make yourself easy to find and positioned professionally online so that when industry folks look you up, not only does your content pop up right away, but it also makes you look like a star!
Powerful Action #2: Cultivate a Relationship with Your Agent
I’m not sure why this is the case, but for some reason it’s really easy to forget that agents are people, too! A good agent will pitch you to casting, send you out on juicy auditions, and follow up on your behalf to get feedback.
That’s a lot of work! And you know what? An agent doesn’t really want to put in the work for someone who doesn’t demonstrate that they’re worth the effort, in more than one way.
Here are three ways to show your agent that you’re worth the effort:
Confirm your auditions right away (more on that HERE) and always be prepared.
Continue to develop your acting skills. Even Meryl Streep has an acting coach, and you should, too.
Do what you say you’re going to do by when you said you were going to do it. In other words... have integrity! People love working with other people who follow through.
Powerful Action #3: Have Your Marketing Materials at the Ready
Have hardcopies of your headshot, resume and business cards with you everywhere you go. Keep them in your car, in your wallet and in your computer bag, because nothing screams “unprepared!” like an actor who forgets to bring his or her materials to an audition or a networking event.
I know, this one can be harder than it sounds. You have to get your headshots printed and staple your most current resume to the back of them... I get it! But it’s all just part of how the game works. The early bird gets the worm, my friend.
Now, when it comes to your online marketing materials, this means regularly updating your demo reel, website, IMDB resume and Breakdowns profile. No excuses.
Powerful Action #4: Ask for it, Baby!
It can be scary to ask for what you want, especially when you’re representing a business that is essentially just... you. But when the most powerful actors I know see something they want, they ask for it!
Examples of this might be...
Asking an actor friend for a referral to her manager...
Calling to request an audition for an indie film you know you’re right for...
Dropping by the theater’s casting office to leave your headshot and resume.
So, of course, all these things must be done with tact and professionalism (this is a no-stalker zone!), but they must be done nonetheless.
That thing that makes your heart pound a little bit when you think about it? Go ahead. Ask for it. Really, you have nothing to lose!
Powerful Action #5: Pull an Elsa and Let it Go
Ultimately, none of us can really control the outcome of life. No matter how masterfully we intend certain things to happen, no matter how many vision boards we painstakingly craft and hang in the bathroom, no matter how many inspired actions we take... it could still all end tomorrow in a matter of seconds involving a Facebook status update and a speeding bus (too morbid?).
That’s not to say our efforts aren’t worthwhile! It’s just to say that, well, we do our best and once we’ve done our best, the rest is up to the powers that be.
One of my mentors, Dallas Travers, always used to tell actors that, if you don’t book the role, “it’s not your role.” I love that because in a certain way we’re asked to trust that the chips are falling in the right place, even if we don’t book the job.
Join a fabulous group of actors learning to take their life and career into their own hands with My BIG Year. Featured guest in April is actor and coach, Michael Kostroff (HBO's The Wire, Broadway's The Producers and creator of Audition Psych 101).
So, how are you standing in your power as an artist and a human being? I would love to hear your ideas in the comments below!