Advice For Actors . . .
You have to want to be an actor with every fiber of your being. If you have any doubts, or think you need something to fall back on just in case the acting thing doesn't work out, do something else. There are too many dedicated & talented actors out there who want nothing else & will do anything to achieve their dream. I never wanted anything else & I knew I would be successful if I put all of myself into my acting career. I rallied my parents behind my dream & they became my biggest fans.
You are a product. Brand yourself & market your product well. Do at least one thing every day to move your acting career forward. Yes, even on the weekends.
When I moved from Iowa to NYC to become an actress, I worked as a waitress until I didn't have to anymore. The money I made was wisely invested in my career. The job was flexible & my manager was supportive. He always made sure I could go to my auditions, even if it meant being short a waiter. Find a way to make ends meet that fully support you.
Never second guess what the casting director, or director, are looking for. When you present yourself, don't be what you think they want you to be. Get comfortable in your own skin & be yourself.
You'll take a lot of different classes over the years, if you want to improve. Take the best from each class & create your own technique that works for you. There is no one method that is the correct way. Only you know what speaks to your heart & helps fuel you.
I was doing a new play in NYC at an off-Broadway theatre. At one of the rehearsals, the director told me to bang my fist on the table before saying my next line. I resisted, saying that it didn't make sense to me to bang my fist on the table for no apparent reason. Just do it, he insisted. So I did. Out poured a flood of tears & deep anger that I didn't even know were there. I never resisted after that. Always be willing to play. Allow yourself to be surprised.
A wise old actor once told me that all actors need to learn to "go fishing" in-between their acting jobs. Later in life, I understood the meaning of this statement. Enjoy all aspects of your life. Learn new things, take time to explore, be curious & adventurous. It will all be helpful for your acting. Real life makes you who you are.
Where thoughts go, energy flows. Make sure your thoughts are positive.
Surround yourself with supportive, loving friends. If they're not behind you 100%, they're not good for you.
Envision yourself succeeding. See it, feel it, breathe it in & out. You are everything you imagine yourself to be. Imagine yourself wildly successful!
Reporters who have never met you will write things about you that just aren't true. It happened to me while I was on Another World. It was upsetting at the time, but now I've learned that it's good to be talked about & that people will say whatever they want to say anyway. Don't dwell on it. Let it go. Pay attention to the good things that are being said about you. There will be far more positive comments. Enjoy them!
An actor friend of mine told me that he had trouble talking about his successes. He said it felt like he was bragging. No one is going to know what you've done unless you share it. When you have successes, share them with the world. Be bold. Brag a little!
Article contributed to "Actresses @ Work/Cautionary Tales from the Rank and File" by Molly Cheek and Debbie Zipp (not yet published).