Advice for Actors: Comparisons
In this month's advice column, film & TV industry Psychologist, Charlotte Armitage talks about comparing your career to your peers and how to be proactive in furthering your acting career.
"I've loved acting since school and have achieved relative success in both film and theatre productions but I'm unsure what next. The constant comparison of where others in my friendship circle are at in their stage of life makes me question my achievements and if I should be doing 'more'."
It’s very positive that you acknowledge the success you’ve had in your career and it is certainly a sign that you are doing something right. It’s also very normal to compare yourself with those around you. For those who are not in the acting industry and choose a steady career, it’s possible they will be in a different position to you but it’s worth noting they will likely look at your career with envy and intrigue and have their own comparison battles too.
As most actors know, working in the acting industry is an unpredictable and challenging career path for many different reasons; there is rarely job security, you are never sure when your next audition is and you never know when you are going to next land a role. Sometimes the cost of travelling for auditions can outweigh your earnings, and you are left in a worrying position of not making enough money to afford to live, let alone take out a mortgage or buy a car. These are the realities of working as an actor, this is why it is so important to be rational in your decision making and ensure that you have other work options to support you whilst you are building your career as an actor. This will help to alleviate stress in a number of ways.
To have the best chances of success, ensure that you are being as proactive as possible in furthering your acting career. Continue to attend classes to keep on top of your acting skill, attend as many workshops as you can afford. Workshops are a great way to meet new actors, to network and to get yourself in front of industry decision makers which may actually lead to you securing work. Keep your profiles up to date, it is important to keep your headshots, showreel and CV current. Your agent can only work with what you provide them so give yourself the best chance of being invited to auditions by keeping your profiles updated. At YAFTA, we find that our most successful actors are the ones who are proactive with their careers and also those who are writing and producing their own content. Success in most industries is about networking and ‘putting yourself out there.’ The more that you network and perform, the more chance you have of succeeding so putting on a play or producing your own short film is an excellent way of showcasing your talent.
It is also important to be realistic with your expectations. This industry can be challenging, psychologically and financially; auditions don’t always come along every week and you don’t land every role you audition for. However, as long as you are pursuing a career in this field because you have a passion for performing, then that alone will help you to enjoy the journey. View your acting career as a lifelong career where sometimes you’ll land work and sometimes you won’t - but you have until you’re 90+ years old to work, there are always potential roles. Just ensure that you have other work opportunities available to support you financially because aside from the practicalities of needing funds to survive, this will help to protect your mental wellbeing also.
Charlotte Armitage is the Managing Director at Yorkshire Academy Of Film and Television Acting (YAFTA). She is also a psychologist and helps people in the film industry with mental health issues. Read our exclusive interview with Charlotte.Tags: