By Charlotte Thornton: The Five Acting Myths Holding You Back
A lot of opinion and beliefs get passed around the acting community as if they were facts. It can be quite overwhelming at times, confusing and disheartening. All these supposed rules. Let’s examine a few that I believe are not facts but myths, and they could be holding you back.
Myth Number One: Agents are Not Signing People Right Now.
An agent told one of my clients this. She took it for a fact. But I had just had four clients sign with new rep this summer, so I knew it was a generalisation at best. And no, my newly signed clients were not big names or just in certain casting brackets. I agree that the market might be slightly tougher right now, but that doesn’t mean it is impossible. Thinking it is impossible will stop us taking action.
Myth Number Two: I Can’t Change Agents Until I Have Better Credits
I would be lying if I didn’t say your resume had an influence on an agent’s decision to sign you. But let’s not get carried away that we can’t write to new rep until we have booked X or Y. If an agent has breakdowns coming in for an actor like you, and they do not have an actor like you on their books – they will be interested in signing you. This has nothing to do with credits and everything to do with the market.
Myth Number Three: You are the Wrong Brand for the Market Right Now
Our brand is our casting type and there are times when it seems our casting type is less popular. Simply being a female actor in the early 2000s felt restrictive. I would often count the male to female ratio in shows and add it to my ‘moans’ about the industry. But know this: there is still work for every casting type. Every one! To put energy into an alternative belief will just make you feel defeated and take less action. As with the former myth, don’t confuse probability with possibility.
Myth Number Four: Work Leads to More Work so you Shouldn’t Turn Down Work
When we get a job offer, we have a gut feeling that tells us what we want to do. Yet so often we ignore this because we are afraid to be out of work. So we accept work we do not want to do so we can tell people we are “in something”. Yes, work can generate more work, but usually it is work of the same kind. Why would you want to generate more work that you do not want to do, or that does not align with your plan? This simply takes you off course, delaying success in the area you truly want.
Myth Number Five: To Succeed You Need to Have/Do This ___ (fill in the missing blanks – drama training, a top agent, be young….)
Whatever you think you need to have, be or do to succeed – it is most likely to be a limiting belief. Limiting beliefs hold you back. Sure, training can help an actor look professional and be prepared for acting roles – but we also know some big names who did not go to drama school and have the kind of careers we would love to have. It might also be beneficial to have a powerful agent with great connections, but there is more than one route. I was with a cooperative agency when I booked work in the West End and at The National Theatre, so having a top agent is neither a must nor a guarantee.
It’s not that these statements were ever intended to be untrue. Some of them may be true in certain circumstances. But unless an opinion applies to 100% of actors 100% of the time, then it is not a fact, and can become a limiting belief that holds back your success.
Charlotte is a former West End Actor and Career Mentor for Actors. She is also the author of Talent isn’t Enough – Ten Ways to Enhance Your Chances of Acting Success and Develop the Winner’s Mindset. Find out more at www.charlottethornton.com.