5 Ways Your Acting Career Can Make a Difference

Hey, all. It’s time to get back to our roots. Take a second and really remember why it was you decided to devote yourself to this grueling career. If it was the prospect of fame and fortune, I wish you good luck, but must advise that this article will not help you on that front. But to be honest, with some notable exceptions, the bulk of the fame and fortune seekers don’t make it too far in this business. Not if that’s the primary drive. Most of us need something more substantial to see us through the sacrifice and heartbreak that litter the road to a career in the arts.

So what was it for you? The endless fascination of the human condition? The seduction of stepping into varied and disparate lives? The drive to shape societal psyche through the mirror of artistic expression?

All the bread-and-butter gigs, the industrials, print work, walk-on roles—they’re important. They pay the bills, help us hone our craft, teach us how to sell. But if you’re in this for the long haul, eventually you’ll feel the need to go deeper. You’ll want the roles you can sink your teeth into, the projects that inspire and rejuvenate you. And maybe more than that. At some point you may find yourself pondering the very origin of acting itself.

Film, theatre, storytelling—this art form has ancient roots in society. It remains a path to catharsis, to enlightenment, to empathy and connection. This is why we need actors—to show us who we are, and who we can be. So if you’re feeling the need to bridge the gap between the arts and society, here are some ways you can start.

  1. Raise Funds for Charity. Staged readings don’t cost much to produce. Get your squad together, pick a relevant project, and market the hell out of it. Blast social media, get calendar listings in local publications, hustle some interviews on your NPR culture segment. Make the event free with a suggested $10 donation at the door to a charity you feel strongly about. Have a canned food, clothes or hygiene supplies drive for your local shelter. Make it a party—bake cookies for the highest donors or the first twenty to bring supplies. You’ll get to do some work you care about and support a good cause in one.
  2. Produce Your Own Work. If you’ve got something to say, say it. If there are issues you don’t feel are getting proper attention, write about them! Or collaborate with someone who can write about them. Produce your own one act, short film, web-series. Don’t wait for someone to pitch you the perfect product—create your own perfection.
  3. Art as Protest. However you feel about the state of the world, you must recognize that we are on the precipice of drastic social and governmental change, in a country that is deeply divided in our views on what shape that change should take. It is a breeding ground for artistic innovation. If you have something to support or protest, find ways your acting training can realize that. Write your own anthem and bring it to a march, organize a flash mob, stage relevant readings, skits, and variety shows at institutions you wish to champion, and split the proceeds. You are fortunate enough to be skilled in storytelling. Figure out what story you want to tell.
  4. Bring Art Where There Is None. Think back to the performances that inspired you, that moved you, that altered your perspective. What if you never had access to that viewpoint? There are plenty of people, in prisons, in remote rural areas, in poorer districts, that might have limited access to the arts. Find organizations that bring arts programs to these places, or assemble your own. Theatre is a beautiful tool that can inspire empathy, connection and self-awareness—and it should not be the sole province of those who can easily afford it.
  5. Art as Education. Use art and storytelling to educate and enlighten! Find or create an educational tour—shows on anti-bullying, healthful habits, and exploring history make regular rounds in public schools. Find the message you want to impart to young impressional minds and pitch it to existing tours. Get out there and inspire the next generation of actors.

You are in charge of shaping your career. Get creative. If you’re not involved in work that says what you think needs saying, find your own way to speak up. Surround yourself with artists that challenge and fulfill you, seek and create work that says something meaningful. Remember that we have a very fun job, but it was created out of societal need. Give back. Push back. Elevate the conversation.

We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and we would definitely appreciate a visit to the Cast It Talent website. Stop in and tell us what you think!  Start building your online brand with Cast It Talent as the centerpiece.  #RightActorRightJob

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Rachel Rachel Frawley is an actor living in Atlanta. She holds a B.F.A. in Theatre from Michigan State University (with cognates in Music and Professional Writing) and is an Apprentice Company graduate from the Atlanta Shakespeare Co. She also works as an education artist for local theatres, which have included the Shakespeare Tavern and Aurora Theatre. For more information, visit her website at www.rachelfrawley.com

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