By Mindy Robinson
Be sure to leave Mindy a video comment in the comments section at the bottom of the post.
I am a working actress, and I have poured everything I could into efficiently building my career in these last 3 years…and although I am not a “name” I have managed to find some success with over 150 credits and appearances on various TV shows and independent films. It is every actor’s dream to star in an amazing big budget studio film or become a series regular on a popular network show, but there are a lot of things in the middle big and small on the way toward that goal. You are not going to get magically discovered at a coffee shop, you are not going to “just meet the right person” at a party. If you can’t act or audition well, if you don’t stand out to casting directors, if you are just an all around dick to work with…you will not get further than your friend’s web series, an unpaid music video, or some weird Scientology film.
The movie industry is evolving, and independent films have found vast distribution markets through Netflix, Amazon, Redbox and other forms of VOD. There’s a good chance that a lot of people will actually see your lower budget projects now…even studios are releasing big films straight to rental. With the rise of reality TV an actor can gain mass national exposure and build a fan base that can translate into more acting roles… but only if they had they had the acting chops to pull it off and move forward in the first place. Social media can be a huge tool to market yourself while building and demonstrating your popularity, all of it without having to shell out big bucks on a publicist. Hollywood in the modern age is not as impossible as you would think. But you still have to be original, you still have to have talent, and you still have to be willing to work immensely hard for it and as well as be willing to put in the energy to keep it up.
I can’t emphasize that last one enough. Acting is work. Work that I am happy to do, but this is usually where aspiring actors will mess up. It will be so cold you want to die, it will be so hot you’ll think your lungs were imploding, you could be in the most uncomfortable wardrobe imaginable, a 13 hour work day is the average and expected, your call time will likely be ungodly and there will be traffic both ways somehow, the food may be cheap and of questionable origin, your co workers might be impossible dicks, and you will spend so much time sitting in a metal folding chair then you swear your ass bone is slicing through your body…and what can you do? You just have to visualize the bigger picture, the coolness of the finished product, and the friends made while on set. You must suck it up, learn to see the positives, and don’t complain. No one likes a whiner and you’ll hurt your chances of ever being asked back or recommended. Granted, there were times in my career where I had to stick up for myself because of a legitimate complaint or concern. But those situations were few and far between and so ridiculously out of line that I could have honestly cared less if I offended them. There will always be opportunists and scam artists in this industry, and I have always found great joy in watching them never amount to more than the bottom feeding they were doing when I started out. If they had put half their effort into their own craft instead of trying to get something out of others then they might have actually gotten somewhere.
So if you have a natural work ethic, talent, and can hold steady through all the disappointments and successes (yes, success can trip people up too) then please continue to look forward my future columns about the crazy business of trying to be an actor.