How to Stay Motivated as an Actor
Let’s face it, life as an actor is not always glamorous. Throughout your career, you may land a year-long project, or even have a few – or be a series lead or regular – but then after that, maybe nothing comes up for some time. So then what? How do you stay motivated?
With the sea of actors in the film industry, know that projects won’t always come to you. This is usually demoralising, particularly for newcomers, but know that this is just the beginning of your acting career. What you do next will define whether you are worthy to be an actor.
Motivation is the energy that fuels your success as an actor. It’s the spark that keeps you going regardless of your situation. When you intend on doing something, your actions are as powerful as your words. Fear, doubt, and insecurities are out of the door!
But when you have just lost a project, have been rejected for a role you have auditioned hard for and some other circumstances that will keep burying you down, you’ll lose that energy, that fuel that keeps you from staying strong.
How do you stay motivated even if you haven’t been chosen for the part you auditioned for? How do you keep going even if you haven’t got a project for months? How do you keep active and make sure that you are on top of your game? With a spark of motivation of course! The feeling of being stagnant can easily drain your motivation, so it is important that you keep on moving. Remember that these are just setbacks which can help us learn and grow as an actor. Just keep going, keep training your mind and body (acting training is the gym for an actor) and eventually you’ll get that “big break” you’re longing for.
The Keanu Reeves Story
We all know him in the Matrix, The Devil’s Advocates and in John Wick. Earning $463.5 million and being nominated for four Academy Awards. His story is no different from all of us. And despite all those tragedies, he kept on pushing through until he reached the success he enjoys right now.
At age of 52, Keanu Reeves has had a life marred by the sorts of tragedies most people would only experience once or twice their entire lifetime. So, here’s his story:
At a young age of three years old, his father left their family. They stayed in touch for a few years, but after the divorce, their father fell out of contact.
Keanu struggled with dyslexia making his education more challenging than most. Because of that, he left school without earning a diploma.However, even when he left school, he was determined to overcome his condition. As a result of sheer determination, he overcame his condition and is now an avid reader.
At age 23, his closest friend, River Phoenix died of drug overdose.
In 1998, Keanu met Jennifer Syme and the two immediately fell in love. In 1999, Jennifer got pregnant but sadly, after eight months their child was stillborn. Because of that, they were devastated by her death and it eventually ended their relationship. 18 months later, Syme died in a car accident.
Even after these tragedies, instead of losing motivation and stewing over his pain and loss, Keanu Reeves pushed on. And because of that, he is one of the most successful actors in Hollywood.
If you want the same level of success as Keanu Reeves, then keep moving forward despite the circumstances. Motivate yourself and do what is right. Here are some things you can do to keep you motivated as an actor.
How to stay motivated as an actor: Be Patient
At the beginning, particularly if you’ve just graduated from an acting class, or your first time to complete a project getting an acting gig may be difficult. Particularly if you haven’t got any credibility yet as an actor – which is normal if you’re new in the industry. But believe me when I say that once you have started building your credibility, and have gained enough experience as an actor you won’t be the one looking for projects and acting gigs as these will come looking for you. So whatever you’re facing right now just keep moving forward as greener pastures are just around the corner.
Casting directors and agents are very busy people, so calling them days on end to know if you landed the role is sure indication for them that you won’t get that part. They usually have a lot of plate on their tables and finding the right actor for the role do take some time. So relax, and learn to be patient.
While you’re waiting here are some things you can do:
How to stay motivated as an actor: Stay Active
Don’t skip your workout routines. This keeps you on the edge and ready to go. Also, ensure that you are keeping up with your acting skill by attending workshops, acting classes, and taking side project that would help improve your skills and technique. Your physical health can clear any blockages that may be in the way of your acting choices. It’s not that you need to be ripped to succeed but just do something. The more you are active, the more they will see that you are capable and could be chosen easily as one of the potentials in case a project is available.
Avoid spending most of your time binge-watching Netflix, couching on the TV or just doing unproductive things on your laptop. Do something that would engage your creative mind.
Your mind should stay active as well. When you have a healthy mind, you’re more capable and more creative. And creativity is the forefront of good actors. When you are creative, you portray interesting and memorable characters. You can instantly shift from one character to another without even flinching. Creative minds bring those people to life.
But to be creative, it needs practice. One way to boost your creativity is to read. Read books, novels, publications, plays or just about anything that you can benefit from. Among these suggestions, screenplays are a lot harder to read. This is because screenplays are not meant for reading, and is mainly just a guide. Reading screenplays will keep those creative juices flowing and the more you read, the more you’ll not only be involved in the filmmaking process, but also your understanding of on-screen dialogue and action expands allowing you to dive deeper and be more specific with your choices.
How to stay motivated as an actor: Keep on top of your Training
As above there are so many techniques out there to learn, training is like the actors’ gym, is great to keep you sharp, fresh, creative, keep your confidence levels up…the list goes on. You could work on audition technique, improvisation, cold read, so that if you have not had an audition for a while when you do get one you know you will be ready! It is a great way to keep you active, to get you networking with other actors, it will keep you focused and it is crucial for actors to continue to develop and push themselves. It’s a great environment to try new things, for example, different accents or different character choices in a scene, you do not need to play it safe, take risks, learn more about yourself and work with new and different actors. A great example of how to stay motivated as an actor.
How to stay motivated as an actor: Learn New Skills
Can you sing? Can you play a musical instrument? Do you know how to fight? Can you ride a motorcycle or ride a horse? If you answered no to any of the questions above then it’s time for you to learn new skills. It will not only keep you busy, but also improves your confidence as an actor. Learning a skill or two makes you a more capable actor; thus help you in landing a project fast.
Actors Who Learned New Skill for Films
Every once in a while, you need up your ante to make a more believable role. One way to do that is to perform a skill you just don’t possess. But true artists are flexible, they adapt and learn new skills.
Natalie Portman trained ballet for at least five hours a day for the role of Nina Sayer in the 2010 dramatic thriller “Black Swan”. Although the stunt double had some previous dance experience, the close-up shots require Portman’s face so she trained for ballet. The result is a well-deserved Oscar for best performance by an actress in a leading role.
Adrien Brody didn’t just learn piano for his leading role in the Pianist, he mastered it. He went fully method for the role: He gave up his apartment, sold his car, disconnected the phones, and moved to Europe with only two bags. The result is a nomination for seven Oscars and winning three nominations including best actor in leading role for Brody.
At just 10 years old, actress Dakota Fanning took the task of learning Spanish for the film Man on fire. The movie takes place in Mexico city and Dakota needs to learn the language for her role as a rich, kidnapped Mexican girl.
How to stay motivated as an actor: Take Control of Your Finances
One can easily lose motivation when you don’t have the money to pay for your headshots, classes, demo reels and even food. If you don’t have the money, how else would your career progress? Think out of the box, Look for jobs that can help you earn enough to sustain your needs and be financially capable. Remember you are investing in yourself!
How to stay motivated as an actor: Networking!
Networking may be the hardest thing to do as an actor/actress but you have to do it. You need to know people and talk to them. Go to a theatre and talk to professionals, volunteer for companies, participate in plays, or even invite people you don’t know at events, parties, etc. The more people you know, the more they will remember your name and the higher the chance of landing a project.
Now that you’ve met new people, stay in touch. Communicate with them from time to time, but don’t always ask about work. Greet them on their birthdays, congratulate when they get promoted or have received an award. Reach out to them not only when you need them.
One way to make network connections is through social media. Directors, casting directors, producers and just about anyone uses social media these days so it doesn’t hurt if you have one too. Many actors have landed projects through social media, for example, Tom Holland.
Tom Holland used social media to help convince people that he should be the next Spider-Man and it worked. On May 6, 2016, he made his first appearance as Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War.
Fans would love Dwyane ‘The Rock’ Johnson to be in a superhero film and he too has not been quiet about his desire to have a role in the DC cinematic universe. He used social media to his advantage and talks about taking a role of Black Adam in Shazam. Six months later he confirmed on Twitter that his dreams had come true as it is now official and he is cast to play that role.
These are well-known examples, what I’m saying is; with email, social media you can really send out a message, show your showreel your skills, but do it in a professional manner, and apply for roles if you are 100% confident you are right for the role.
There are many things that drive our motivation low, but keep in mind that it’s not the end of the world. You are not a failure, so stop putting so much pressure on yourself and find things that can make you smile. You are still human so take time to be the best human being you can be.
Staying motivated is a tough decision to make. But we can help. If you want to learn more about what you can do to stay active and motivated, visit www.reelscene.co.uk. We have many acting course and networking events for actors including our monthly workshops, simply visit https://reelscene.co.uk email [email protected] or call us on 0207 849 4525.