The Competitive Edge — Seven Things That Make An Actor Successful (that you can’t learn in class)

Screen Shot 2018-03-06 at 10.52.15 AMWelcome to the start of 2018.  It’s that time of year.  You are refreshed and pumped up, renewed and ready to start the New Year on the right foot.

I’m always asked what makes someone successful in this business.  Stating the obvious would be you need to know the basic strong foundation of acting, know the technique of the venue you are working in and be aware of how the business works.  The good thing is there are lot’s of classes to take and articles to read to arm yourself to be the mighty worrier to learn what it takes to be competitive.

However, I am going to share with you the other things that makes an actor successful, that people just can’t seem to articulate.

Traits You Need To Have That You Can’t Learn In Class.

I’m excited to have identified these traits.  Check them out.  You can’t study them.  Realizing you have them and embracing them can put you in a position of strength, help you show up in a positive way and even help you through some rough patches that come up.

The successful actor has…..

Courage. You have the ability to put yourself out there.  You go for it; every audition you go to is a risk.  You move through fear and you do not let fear stop you.  In fact fear feeds you energy.  You do not feel rejected if you do not book something.  You make choices, you take chances and commit to your choices.  Every audition takes courage.

Involvement: You are involved all day, every day. You get up in the morning and check the breakdowns, you are aware all day of texts from your agents and managers, you get in your car, your Uber or Lyft and show up at your auditions.  You know how to act and how to approach each audition, you have a way to support yourself so you can do what you love to do.  You know the players.  You know how to balance personal time and work time. In fact you have a well-rounded life with many interests.

Enthusiasm: Your enthusiasm, love and devotion for what you do is obvious.  Casting directors can feel it when you enter the audition room. Because you know you are the best you can be, and you know what empowers you, you are not cut off from your enthusiasm.  You love that you received an audition, you love being at the audition and you love your time in the room that you are given to audition.  You are grateful.

Graciousness:  You accept your audition times, you are happy to have auditioned.  You are not needy.  You are thankful for the opportunity.  You realize who all the players are and understand what their job is. You know you are part of a team effort with many cogs in the wheel, with everyone usually under stress to do their part right.  Because of your understanding and knowledge, you can be polite to the session runner, session director and casting director.

Positiveness: You walk out of the audition knowing you gave it your all, feeling positive because you gave a good audition.  You are happy to have been invited to audition.

Curiosity:  Your curious nature keeps you open.  You are up for any crazy, unexpected audition situation. You are aware of people around you.  Your curiosity allows you to go deeper and deeper into your emotions and sensory work.  Your curiosity enables you to be creative.

Love for learning:  You love taking classes, learning more, delving  deeper into your craft and always getting better and better.

If you are pursuing acting by studying, building up your resume, are up-to-date with your professional photos, on breakdown services and auditioning, I’m sure you will find these traits in yourself.  My best advice is to recognize and embrace them.  Owning them will be extremely empowering.


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Terry Berland
Terry Berland Terry Berland is an award-winning casting director for on-camera, television, voiceover, and hosting. Her casting awards include Clio, The Houston International Film Festival, Art Director’s Club, Addy, and the International Film and Television Festival. Her former casting staff position for Madison Avenue giant BBDO/NY has contributed to her deep understanding and involvement in the advertising industry. She is known throughout the country for her talent development, and is the co-author of the how-to industry book, ”Breaking Into Commercials.”

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