In this blog post, we will go through 16 ways to remain motivated as an actor. We will explore how to avoid the common pitfalls of an actor’s career, including burnout and depression, and how to keep your head above water in the sea of acting.
Acting is a high-pressure career with lots of hard work and rejection that makes it difficult to remain motivated.
Actors juggle a lot of things while they pursue their careers. Most days you are either hunting down auditions, going to an acting class, doing some sort of work to pay the bills, or living your life.
It can get overwhelming really quickly and it is very easy to lose your motivation.
The good news is that there are several things you can do to maintain your enthusiasm and energy even through the tough times when it feels like all hope is lost.
Below are some steps you can take to remain motivated as an actor.
1. Be kind to yourself
- Don’t be hard on yourself. Take a step back and realize that as an actor you are in a career that requires high performance and dedication without any guarantees of success.
- Feeling insecure, frustrated, and unsure are natural feelings under the circumstances and it’s okay to have them.
- Realize that anyone embarking on a short project let alone a career, with an outcome that has more chance of failure than success will have the same feelings as you do.
- Instead of worrying about the things that have may not have even happened yet, just accept you’re going to feel a bit uncertain.
- It might take a while but once you are at peace with feeling uncertain then you will appreciate your wins even more.
2. Be active
- Try to spend less time laying on your couch and watching tv or glued to your ipad watching funny videos.
- Stick to your workout plan. This will keep your body conditioned and ready to go. Take action and do something, anything! You don’t even need to leave your home, just be productive and proactive.
- Keep your acting skills sharp by attending workshops, acting classes, and working on your own personal projects.
- You should also keep your mind active as it will help increase your mental and creative abilities. And don’t forget creativity is a huge part of acting.
- One way to boost your creativity is to read. Read books, novels, publications, plays, or just about anything that you can benefit from.
3. Enjoy the process
“Winning an Oscar is an honor, but, between you and me, it does not make things easier”
- You will only be deeply and truly fulfilled as an actor if you enjoy the mechanics and process of acting. Focusing on fame, money, or awards will rarely satisfy you, and even then not for long.
- Immerse yourself and enjoy acting classes, training, and preparing your resume, headshots, and showreel.
- It might take some time but if you can train yourself to master and love the process more than the end results you will be able to stay motivated and love your craft for a long long time, perhaps until you can’t do it anymore.
- Paying attention to the ordinary moments and finding uplifting or touching memories to cherish and hang on to will help you remain motivated when times are rough.
4. Eat healthy
- The food you eat has a big impact on your energy level, mental focus, capacity to memorize lines, and your overall ability to act or perform at a peak level.
- Consuming foods loaded with sugar and fats will sap your energy and leave you feeling groggy and tired.
- Pack healthy snacks in addition to your meals to help sustain yourself through the long hours inevitable in acting.
- One of the greatest ways to stay motivated is to keep your energy levels up at all times, and great food choices have a direct impact on this.
5. Do something completely unrelated
- We all have those days where we get bogged down in our work. It simply becomes painful and demoralizing to keep going forward. Acting can seem like that at times whether it is in acting class or at auditions, you just can’t seem to get a break.
- Though it may seem counterintuitive this is the time to take a break from what you are doing and engage in a completely different and unrelated task.
- Albert Einstein would take a break from his scientific work and play the violin. Most times he would find an idea or solution that was eluding him before he engaged in a different activity.
- Engaging in a different activity helps by lowering pressure and expectations, thus allowing us to think creatively and clearly.
- You also somehow end up combining diverse and unconnected ideas to come up with a solution that you initially did not foresee.
- Making breakthroughs in your career will boost your confidence and motivation and keep you loving your craft.
6. Create and execute your daily plan
- In a highly competitive and fluctuating industry like acting having a plan is absolutely necessary. You should have an overall career plan as well as a day to day plan.
- Write down your plan for the day and do your best to accomplish them.
- Networking, auditioning, meetings with your agent, acting classes, working out, vocal warmups. acting exercises, putting together or updating your headshots, resume, and show-reel, and reading and watching plays, are all activities that you must incorporate in your daily plans.
- It’s also important to include relaxation time into your daily schedule.
- Depending on your living situation spread out these tasks throughout the days in a week and focus on building consistency and accomplishing your tasks.
- Make your goals realistic and achievable so that you don’t stretch yourself too thin.
- Put your daily goals list in a visible place, like on your fridge or bathroom mirror.
- Tell your friends and family about your daily goals so they can help you be accountable and actually do them.
- Creating and accomplishing daily goals will help you stay motivated by creating momentum and gently but surely nudging you towards fullfilling your career goals.
- Keep your daily plans after you have done them so that you can refer to them when you are feeling down or unmotivated and remind yourself how far you have come and how hard you have worked.
7. Have motivation on speed dial
- Motivation doesn’t have to be accidental or unexpected. You don’t have to wait for that song on the radio that lifts your spirits.
- Make a playlist of all the songs that always make you feel good and keep it on your phone or ipad.
- What about movies or shows that you watched that inspired you so much, you feel like taking on the world at that moment. Keep a list of those movies. They are usually even better when we watch them again after a long time.
- The same goes for quotes, mantras, and pictures, keep them close by for quick access.
- Next time you are feeling blue or you had a demoralizing thing happen in your acting career or in your life peruse through your arsenal of motivational items to get you back on track.
8. Start your day right
- Try to make a habit of getting out of bed as soon as you wake up in the morning. The longer you stay in your cozy and warm bed the harder it will be to get momentum through the rest of the day.
- Jumping out of bed shifts your mental state from resting to being ready to work.
9. Learn new skills
- In acting having a skillset or two on top of your acting prowess will help you land a role.
- There is a multitude of skills you can choose to pick up and study. It could be playing a musical instrument, learning martial arts, studying a new language and the list keeps going on.
- Your ability to perform skills on top of your acting will help you land roles you wouldn’t have been eligible for otherwise.
- It’s also a great way to increase your confidence and sharpen your learning process.
- Learning new skills is a great way to stay employed, be confident and as a result stay motivated over a long period of time.
10. Visualize your goals
- Back in the days visualizing was mainly used in sports. Over the years however it has permeated all sectors of society. It is a fantastic tool that actors can use in bringing their goals to fruition.
- Jim Carey used visualition effectively to ahieve his goals in his career. He wrote a check to himself for 10 million dollars dated two or three years in the future for “acting services rendered”.
- Just a few months before the due date on his check he actually got 10 million dollars for his role in dumb and dumber.
- Visualization helps you clear out negative thoughts, doubts, and fears that we usually face when aiming to achieve our goals.
- Write down your goals using emotionally descriptive words. You can also use photos or pictures to represent your goals.
- Practice visualization frequently for 2-3 minutes at a time throughout your day everyday.
- It is also key to feel the emotion of achieving or doing your goal when you visualize.
- Visualization is a great way to remain motivated and accomplish your goals. It will help you believe in your abilities and purpose especially when things don’t look so good.
- In acting who you know is as important as your acting skills.
- You want to ultimately surround yourself with people who share your vision and support you in your career.
- Expand your network from fellow actors to others in the industry like writers, producers, and directors.
- Got to industry events where you know they will be attending.
- These days it is very easy to follow casting directors and others on online platforms like Twitter and Facebook.
- When you are networking and establishing relationships focus on caring about people and adding value to their lives.
- Like they say making friends and relationships before you need them will save your butt during difficult times.
- Having a good network helps you remain motivated by giving you access to opportunities, information, and advice that will make an impact in your acting career.
12. Be inspired
- Every succesful actor or person got there as Isacc Newton put it “by standing on the shoulders of giants”.
- Read biographies and take lessons from the life stories of actors or people in the acting industry that inspire you. Tom Cruise, Keanu Reeves, and Al Pacino are great examples of perseverance and triumph in the the face of tragedy, poverty, and abuse.
- Read interviews, watch movies or performances and anything else you can do to learn from those who have came before you and succesfuly navigated the path you are on.
- Find out what motivated them through their struggles and how they maintained the love for their craft. This will help you remain motivated.
13. Get a mentor
- Find a person who can give you advice, help nudge you towards your goals, and holds you accountable.
- Your mentor could be an acting teacher, an experienced actor, or a director who is a friend.
- No matter what level you are at in your career, you will always benefit from getting feedback and guidance.
- Mentors can help you stay motivated by offering advice, listening and encouraging.
14. Be Patient
- If you’ve just graduated from an acting class, or it is your first time completing a project, getting an acting gig may be difficult.
- You will also have a hard time landing roles if you haven’t got any credibility yet as an actor – which is normal if you’re new in the industry.
- It might take some time but once you get some substantial acting experience under your belt and make a name for yourself you will have an easier time getting acting jobs.
- So whatever you’re facing right now just keep moving forward as greener pastures are just around the corner.
15. Get rid of stress
- Actors have turbulent emotional lives. Drinking tea is a great way to calm yourself and unwind from the stress.
- Pick from a variety of soothing teas like chamomile, peppermint, lemon, and basil.
- A few minutes of meditation every day is an excellent way to disassociate yourself from the stress of your day and relax and revitalize yourself.
- Journalling or simply writing down things that stressed you out during the day on a piece of paper has a therapeutic effect of trapping your negative emotions on paper and out of your system.
- Dedicating some time every day to de-stress and refocus is essential to remain motivated in the long term.
16. Learn how to navigate your bad days
- There will be days where you are either exhausted or in a bad emotional state to get up and apply for jobs or put together a self-tape.
- Instead of giving in to your feelings and doing nothing all day, compromise with yourself and pick 2-3 easy tasks to accomplish for the day.
- After completing your tasks take the day off to recuperate and rest.
- This way you will get a sense of achievement and satisfaction that will keep you from going into a downward spiral of demotivation and lazinees that can stretch into days or weeks.
Acting is a tough career choice that is extremely competitive and challenging.
Actors have to endure countless rejections, work other part-time jobs to pay the bills, and constantly work on their acting skills by taking classes or getting coaching.
There are some important steps you can take as an actor to stay motivated and focused on your career despite a lot of setbacks.
Going to the gym or exercising is key to keeping your body and mind healthy which will give you the energy and stamina you need.
Building networks and relationships are key to creating opportunities and opening doors you couldn’t do on your own.
Most importantly however the key to staying motivated and enthusiastic as an actor is all about mindset.
You have to cultivate patience, accept your mistakes without blaming yourself, and simply understand that this is a tough career and you will have bad days and trying times.
Being motivated and resilient is key to your performance and longevity of your career.
It is not an easy task to accomplish but by following the steps discussed above you can definitely take steps to recapture your motivation when it ebbs away.
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