THE SEVEN ACTING MYTHS
by Bob Fraser
Myth #1 – YOU HAVE TO START YOUNG
This commonly held belief is far from the truth. Although
starting young will certainly give you more time to perfect
your craft, many stars have started “late.”
Phyllis Diller started her career at age 38 after raising a
family and spending almost twenty years as a newspaper writer.
Richard Farnsworth was over fifty before he began his acting
career. When he won an Academy Award nomination for his role
in Comes a Horseman, it came as a surprise to many in the
industry that this ‘newcomer’ had been around since the ’30’s
– as a stuntman.
There are literally hundreds of these examples. No matter how
old you are, if you love it – TRY. (great to know! I was a little concerned since I am getting started much later than most)
Myth #2 – IF YOU HAVE TALENT … YOU WILL MAKE IT
Although it’s important to have some talent, any reasonable
observer can point to dozens of successful actors who might
be considered ‘talent challenged.’ In fact, depending on
talent alone is a strategy for disaster. There are many
other skills (mostly business skills) that lead to success
as an actor. If you’re talented, great. But don’t depend on
your gifts for success. It’s mostly hard work.
Myth #3 – AN ACTOR MUST BE OUTGOING
Not at all. In fact, I’d say that the opposite is closer
to the truth. Most of the stars you watch and enjoy are
basically shy people. It is under the cover of a role that
actors seem to be demonstrative. If you are shy or retiring,
you are like most successful actors. Don’t sweat it. (good to know! I was just telling my friend the other day that I’m a shy person and he was like, but how you going to be an actress if you’re shy? I was like there are a lot of people that are naturally shy & they act. I’m more outgoing than I used to be growing up so people that meet me now may not think that I’m shy but I still have my shy nature.)
Myth #4 – ACTING CLASS WILL RUIN YOUR NATURALNESS
Wow, this one is really off base. In fact, without some
training it is unlikely you will get to the top ranks of
the acting profession. Agents look for training. Casting
directors look for it.
And it goes without saying that education has rarely hurt
Myth #5 – HAVING AN AGENT GUARANTEES YOU WILL WORK
There is no doubt that having a salesman for your acting
business is beneficial – but signing with a good agent
rarely happens before you have already achieved some level
Actors who think an agent will automatically get them to
the top, rarely get there. Agents are not magicians – they
are salespeople who develop leads for your acting business.
Myth #6 – YOU CAN BECOME AN OVERNIGHT SUCCESS
This almost never happens. In fact, a brief study of the
careers of very successful actors will convince you that the
average time it takes to get into the ranks of regularly
employed actors is about 9 years.
Like becoming any sort of professional (doctor, lawyer,
architect) this is a business that takes time to accomplish.
That’s why they call it ‘paying your dues.’ (I’ve heard someone say & I don’t remember who it was but they said: there may be overnight discoveries but there is no such thing as an overnight success! If you don’t have what it takes to take advantage of the “opportunity” presented to you then you will be that one hit wonder. “Good luck happens when preparedness meets opportunity”)
Myth #7 – ACTORS MAKE THE BIG BUCKS
No. This is totally wrong.
Sure some do … and their salaries are publicized to
the skies. But the reality is that the large majority of
actors make very small paychecks and they don’t make them
very often. Go to SAG’s website and see the statistics. Just
making a decent living as an actor is a huge challenge.
Bottom line: Don’t go into acting for the money. If you want
to act, do it. And do it for money as often as possible.
But don’t kid yourself … this is hard work and the pay is
nothing to write home about – unless you have the tenacity,
business skills, and work ethic to get to the very top.
I hope you do.
Here’s some good advice from the cadets at West Point:
RISK more than others think is safe.
CARE more than others think is wise.
DREAM more than others think is practical.
EXPECT more than others think is possible.
(I have to say, I’ve spent way more money now than I have made….it’s totally expensive pursuing an acting career. But I plan to do this as a full-time career & I plan, like anyone in every other career, to live a very, very comfortable lifestyle…my goal in life is Financial Freedom…and that should be everyone’s goal no matter what career path they choose! I think with creative careers such as acting, it’s like starting a new business so you should be prepared to spend money to make money…..and be prepared to invest a lot of years before you start to see a great profit! I plan to be the VERY BEST at what I do….and when you do GREAT WORK you will always be rewarded accordingly!)
“Reprinted from THE ACTOR’S TOOL KIT, the email course for
subscribers of Show Biz How-To -The Free Actor’s Newsletter.
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Copyright © 2008 Bob Fraser Productions All Rights Reserved”