Having been a full-time writer-director/producer for the past 15 years and having taught my twice-monthly ‘So You Want To Be An Actor’ Workshops for the past seven, I’m often asked by young — and in some cases, older — actors how they can best achieve their dreams, but, sometimes, I think what they need to be asking is ‘what pitfalls should I avoid’.
It’s frustrating for me because I frequently see many actors making the very same mistakes in their career — often things that require little else than common sense to combat. Yet, these mistakes can truly hinder their progress and set them back.
So, without further adieu, here are the Top 10 Mistakes That Actors Commonly Make (in no particular order):
1. Not doing the bare minimum.
By this, I mean, have excellent headshots, an imdb page with credits and a subscription to imdb-pro, a good reel, business cards and be enrolled in an acting class.
These things are all prerequisites if you are serious about your acting career. You’d be surprised how many actors I meet who have terrible headshots — a chipped tooth, puffy cheeks that make them look 10 pounds heavier, awkward position, terribly photo-shopped — no reel, no imdb-pro subscription and subsequently an imdb page with no photos and no bio.
These things, along with having business cards to hand out at film festivals and networking events and being enrolled in an acting class, are all essentials, I believe in doing the bare minimum before you can even think about rising to the next level. Don’t be penny-wise and pound-foolish with your career expenses, as there are too many actors who do these things correctly.
2. I don’t really believe in acting class.
An out-of-work actor actually said this to me at a film festival last year and, worse, he was complaining about the industry and how hard it is. FYI — Meryl Streep still takes acting classes. Anne Hathaway was trained at the New York Barrow Group and still takes classes with coaches from time-to-time. Sylvester Stallone trained with one of the best acting coaches in all of L.A. in order to prepare for his dramatic reprising of Rocky Balboa in Creed and all he received for his trouble was his first Oscar Nomination in 39 years.