29. The princess and the star

Photo by Johnny Gruelle

Once upon a time there was a beautiful young actress. And boy was she pretty. Long dark hair, piercing blue eyes, long legs. She had a great face and a quirky smile. It was the perfect look. She wasn’t a model though. And she knew acting was definitely where she belonged. And she was willing and keen to work hard. She was committed to the great cause of “making it”.

Every night, just like Rapunzel, she would look out her window and stare at the pretty stars, wishing on a falling star that she would be discovered.

Day after day she dreamed of sequences in her head. The prince riding in on a horse and rescuing her (in a movie role of course), a handsome guy rolling over and kissing her on the beach (in a TV mini series) or the leading lady role.

One day she looked around and noticed everyone else was so much busier than she was. Everyone else was booking work constantly…or at least twitter said so. Everyone else was happier. Gradually she stopped looking out the window at that star and stopped believing in her dream. One day a bill came. The next week another bill came and finally when the power was cut off she realised she had no choice but to leave her beautiful house and “go and get a real job”. The daydream and fairytale bubbles had burst.

Halt. Wait. What?

The princess doesn’t get the red carpet happy ending? That can’t be right. Nope I’ve checked it and it is indeed correct. Sadly it turns out that the only way to the top is hard work and determination. And determination alone won’t get you there.

Ever read the bios of successful people. Rarely, if ever, do they proclaim they just woke up one day to find they were hugely successful (unless born into it). No. Usually they are humble and if pressed will reveal just how hard they worked. They just got really good at making it look easy. And you can too.

If you want to make it then get ready to work your butt off. They don’t hand out super actor trophies in ASDA sadly. And agents don’t take on lazy actors, and casting directors don’t keep bringing back actors who don’t learn their lines.

Be effortlessly cool – don’t be a dimwit and shout out to the stars about how great you are eg. This morning I read a tweet from an actor who wrote (verbatim) “I am so lucky so many Casting Directors now know me by name I barely have to audition anymore #blessed”. Yes well blessed she may feel but she just made a muppet of herself in front of her 500 followers.

Be effortlessly gracious – say thank you often, smile a lot and help wherever you can….even if that means being a tea runner when you are the leading lady on set.

Don’t be a diva – yes you may get your green jellybeans on this shoot but you may never get invited back to work with that team again. Another true story: I once heard from a Director that a new actor he was working with asked if she had a stand in on the non paid short she was working on. Doh!!

Be energetic – people who haven’t had enough sleep & who are whiny sleep deprived complainers aren’t well liked on set. Yes, so days will be long. That is unavoidable. And everyone else’s day on set is as long as yours, if not longer for the crew. Your job is to be clever enough to know your triggers. If coffee ramps your dial tone then drink up. If a run spikes your endorphins get up early and go for one. Do what you need to do to be that little ray of sunshine every day.

Eat the humble pie – no matter how big you get, continue to show humility. That is one of the key winning attributes of those who are well liked and book often. Oh, and they usually have many friends.

So that’s it, you can be a hardworking actor who dreams big and walks the walk. Easy enough #RigheoWorkToDo


2 thoughts on “29. The princess and the star

  1. Lisa-Marie Long says:

    Another AWESOME Sucker Punch of TRUTH. You have Asses for a reason people.. WORK that tushy like no tomorrow!! Channel that whining into positive action.. If there's something else you can be doing for your career that you are not doing.. Well.. What the hell are you waiting for?!!


  2. Angela says:

    Couldn't agree more Lisa-Marie! Thanks for the comment. There is absolutely nothing worse than hearing (read as 'hearing them complain') from an actor about how little work there is when they aren't actually looking for their own work.

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