4 Things Desperate Actors Do (and What to Do Instead)

I get hundreds of questions from actors about how to move their careers forward. Unfortunately most of these queries are about doing things that make them look desperate instead of serious and confident. As we all know, desperation is not an attractive quality. The sooner you stop acting and looking desperate, the sooner you will be booking your first professional jobs.

Here are four desperate actor moves and what to do instead.

Carrying headshots everywhere you go. Ever been told to carry your headshots around with you everywhere you go? This is one of the most desperate things an actor can do. I guess the idea is just in case you meet the producer of your dreams, you better have a picture with you or your career will go up in smoke. Does that even make sense? Leave the headshots behind, and if you meet someone who can help your career either by coincidence or by design, set up a meeting and discuss how you can truly help them.

Sending unsolicited mail/email and having an email signature with IMDb/agent/contact/headshot/website/reel links. Do you like receiving junk mail or spam? Then why would you send it? Imagine getting thousands of postcards from people begging to be seen? How much attention could you pay to them? Ever get an email from someone and their signature is bigger than the actual email? Not only does it look silly, but it reeks of desperation. No one wants to or has the time to look at unsolicited news or information about random unknown actors.

Believe it or not, this stuff is either junk mail or spam, and in the case of spam, you might be breaking the law. Just because you add a personal message to it doesn’t change the fact it’s still spam. The cure is to be personal and personable. Be brief and specific to specific people and you will get far more mileage from all forms of mailing.

Trying to make a big splash on social media. While there is a trend among some producers to try hiring actors with large social media followings if the message doesn’t live up to the medium, the facade will quickly crumble. Bad is bad, regardless of how many Twitter followers you have. So leave being a Kardashian to the Kardashians and focus on developing your skills to the highest level, and soon others will be talking about you. Your profile will grow more quickly by being a great actor than it will by artificially pumping up your profile being salacious and outrageous.

Carrying clothes in your car. Ever been told to have multiple outfits in the trunk of your car? I guess the idea is that if you are spontaneously offered an audition, you have a suit, lab coat, etc., to make yourself more believable. Two things on this: How many spontaneous auditions do you get? And, uniforms/extravagant costumes of any sort smell up the room with desperation. You’re either a good actor or you are not. The cure is to not try to look the same, but actually try to look different. Be noticed. It takes a pair, but you will stand out far more when “one of these things is not like the other.” It also intimidates and confuses other actors when they are all wearing a suit and you walk in wearing jeans and a t-shirt.

Start to empower yourself with the common sense activities that all professionals in any career do to move from where they are to where they want to be. Don’t make me spell it out to you. Decide what you want, get the skills to do it, learn how the business works, and in the process, meet a few people who you can help and impress into finally promoting you and your amazing skills to the rest of the world. It’s so simple!

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