Who should read this book?
Anyone interested in making a living as a professional actor.
What sort of acting do you do?
I work in film, television, commercials and corporate videos. I also do voice overs.
Is acting for a living really feasible?
Absolutely. In fact, if you have the right skill set and are willing to listen and learn – it’s more than feasible. Your chances of success are probably better than you imagine. You don’t have to be a movie star in order to make a good living as an actor. If you have talent, there’s every chance that you can create a practical and highly lucrative business for yourself.
How is this book different from other acting books?
Well, for starters…it was written by a professional actor. There’s a lot of acting advice being thrown around in books and online these days, but amazingly, almost none of it comes from working actors. Most acting books are written by casting directors, talent agents and teachers. Some of these are very good – others, not so much. In any event, if you are serious about making a living as an actor, it might be wise to listen to what a working actor has to say.
This book is unconventional in almost every way, and with good reason: It pays to think unconventionally. If you expect to reach the upper echelons of this, or any industry, you need to understand that you will never get there by following the herd.
Do I have to live in New York or Los Angeles?
No. The volume of work outside the major markets is one of the best kept secrets in this business. In 2009, the Screen Actor’s Guild released statistics showing that, for the first time in it’s history, more than 50% of union work took place outside New York and Los Angeles. SAG and AFTRA have regional branches all over the United States. If you live within commuting distance to almost any major metropolitan city, there’s plenty of work to be had.
What if I never studied drama in school?
Don’t worry about it. I majored in economics and political science in college. I never considered acting until years after I graduated. My career background was built around business and sales. As it happened, I soon discovered that professional acting has as much to do with business and sales as it does drama. Maybe even more.
Don’t I need to be young and beautiful to have a realistic chance of success?
Being young and beautiful never hurts, but talent and good business sense will take you far. Watch television for 10 minutes and you will see roles for every age, shape, race and category. I know several actors who started in their 30′s, and one who never acted until he was in his mid-50′s. I’m sure you’ve seen them all many times on both film and TV.
Will I have to cry on cue?
It’s difficult for most actors to whip up emotions at the drop of a hat. If you have a hard time showing your emotions, don’t let that stop you from pursuing an acting career. Emotional acting can be learned and developed, but even if you never manage to do it effectively, you can still make a fine living as an actor.
Do I need to start out as an extra?
No. As a matter of fact, you should treat extra work as if it were the plague. Extras put in long hours for low pay. They get no lines, no face-time, and very little respect from anybody in this business. With only a couple of exceptions (some SAG Commercials, NY Soaps), I advise you to stay away from extra work entirely.
Do I have to act full-time? Could I just do it part-time?
Of course! Every actor starts out working part-time. There’s nothing difficult about that. The trick is to develop your career to the point where you can make a living as an actor. Obviously, I can’t guarantee that you will be able to act full-time, but can promise that if you follow the advice in this book, your chances will significantly improve.
How much money can I realistically expect to make as an actor?
That’s going to depend upon several factors – including how much ability you have, how hard you work, and how well you absorb and apply information. Luck will also play a part. Speaking for myself, I typically work about two days per week and clear six-figures per year. That’s nothing compared to what some actors make, but it’s a combination that allows me to live well. Acting is my job, not my life. I love having a career that allows me free time for other things I enjoy – such as travelling, writing, photography, etc…
If you follow the advice in this book, with time and talent, there is every chance that you will surpass my modest accomplishments. That’s one of the best things about acting for a living; there’s no limit to how far you can go. Until you try, you will never know.