Written for The Networker by Terry Berland @berlandcasting
Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Acting is a fickle business with no job security or guarantees. The desire to pursue it is in your blood; it’s a calling. To stay in it, you have to believe and keep on believing, and at times you need to find ways to get inspired.
The first source of inspiration can come from peers in your own community, i.e., celebrities. While watching the SAG awards, I was taken aback by how inspirational the actors’ acceptance speeches were.
Let’s start with Chadwick Boseman, on hand to represent “Black Panther’s” win for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. He spoke about sticking to what you believe in, even when you’re told over and over that there is no place for you. He said, “We know what it’s like to be told there’s not a screen for you to be featured on, a stage for you to be featured on. We know what it’s like to be the tail and not the head. We know what it’s like to be beneath and not above.” But he added that, in spite of those roadblocks, “we knew that we had something special that we wanted to give.”
Then there was Sam Elliott, who mentioned the “highs and lows of an acting career.” I’m sure everyone reading this article feels career highs and lows, but it’s a great reminder to hear what a star of Elliott’s caliber has gone through—and will continue to go through. Struggling and working actors alike could relate to his feelings because they’re the very same feelings all actors experience.
Jason Bateman, who won for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series for “Ozark,” also moved me with his words. They were exceptionally inspiring for actors trying to keep going: “I hope I’m a little bit better each year.” Wow! Someone just won a top award from his peers and is humble and real enough to want to grow as an actor. Another beautiful thing Bateman said was, “I’m just one job away from all the actors that I am accepting this award on behalf of.”
Something else he said that I’m sure all actors can relate to was: “I know there are a lot of fellow union members who are not working as frequently as they might want to, and that was frequently the case for me for a long time. You wonder if you got it.”
Rachel Brosnahan, who won for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series, thanked the unsung background actors. Hearing someone who’d just won this award acknowledge actors working their way up in the business had the power to validate one’s struggles, to feel included in the larger family of actors.
Here’s another way you can feel inspired: Know always that we casting directors need you and are depending on you. We appreciate and respect that you are refining your craft and that you show up to auditions being the best that you can be. And here I mean all levels of projects.
Know that your agents are also depending on you and are grateful that you show up prepared for your auditions.
Feel supported knowing that your managers are eagerly putting themselves on the line for you.
And there’s no shortage of inspiration to be found in a great acting class led by experienced and encouraging teachers.
Lastly, know that those of us who love to watch performances on stage and screen—whether it’s the movie screen or our smartphone screens—appreciate everything you do to make stories come alive.
If you want to sharpen up on your commercial acting technique, follow this link to Terry Berland’s Commercial Acting workshop.