15 Tips for How to Be a Stress-Free Actor

15 Tips for creating a stress-free life around your dream career as an Actor!

#1 Permanent self-tape setup. 

Auditioning is the number one stress for most Actors. Having a permanent space and home studio setup will take so much pressure off. It will also put it out there to the industry that you are ready at all hours to put down a high-quality audition (without panicking to book a studio or borrow a camera etc.) Even if you lack a whizz-bang home studio, it’s great to have a designated space in mind you can convert for shooting at a moment’s notice.

#2 Have a community ready. 

As well as a setup, you will need readers! Auditioning is a collaborative process and in this self-tape age you need friends. We recommend at least 3-5 rock solid friends you can always tape with. You don’t want to have to always do the awkward bulk message praying someone will come help you. QUICK TIP: the key to having reliable friends to read with is to be a reliable friend to read with. Help others and they will give back tenfold!

#3 Flexible job. 

Last minute auditions and acting gigs are inevitable as an Actor. If that is a stress for you, you will end up fighting with your own life and start to resent acting because of it. If you are trying to be a professional Actor, you need to shape your life around that. Keep acting No.1 and find work that allows for flexibility.

#4 Acting cash reserve. 

As an Actor, cash is king. Last minute overseas flights, paying for casting profiles or new headshots … this is the nature of being an Actor. It’s lovely to have a daily gossip over a lazy brunch, but save your money and make sure you have a solid “Acting Fund” – a reserve purely for your career. Remember you are a small business! We know this isn’t always easy to do, but keeping some reserves will help you to make prudent career investments over the next few years.

#5 Concrete accents. 

The big panic Actors often face is auditioning with an accent. Though we love accents, most Actors don’t enjoy the stress of perfecting an accent overnight. Our advice is to have all the major accents you audition in regularly locked down. That way, when someone asks for an accent, you are ready to go!

#6 Passport. 

If you don’t have an up-to-date passport, you need to get that sorted TODAY, as you are literally asking the industry not to give you an international career! This week we had an Actor who got an opportunity in the US and only just managed to get a passport within days of the deadline. The moral of the story: get this organized ahead of time, especially in a post-COVID age when international opportunities are starting to trickle back into our lives. Don’t get complacent, and don’t think the overseas gig won’t happen to you!

#7 Driver’s license. 

Staying on the theme of being your overbearing parent. Get your driver’s license sorted! Everything from commercial work, to your next gig on Fast and the Furious, requires a license. This is one thing we would always recommend getting as soon as possible. Basically: just get all your life admin up to date so you are ready for anything!

#8 Reels, headshots and casting profiles. 

You hear us go on about these all the time, but are you ready if a Director calls you up wanting more content, or a more current headshot? Have everything you need as an Actor ready to go! And make sure everything is top-notch, professional work. Nothing worse than scrambling to find clips and reels if Casting Directors or Directors want to see something specific from you.

#9 Cold reading. 

A major stress for many actors is cold reads. Directors love throwing a curve ball and handing you a new script without a second to review it. Daily practice of cold reading makes these moments an opportunity to show off, rather than a potential career K.O.

#10 Acting skills. 

This one is pretty obvious for our Shine family, but at the end of the day the main stress of being an Actor is the eternal fear of “am I good enough”. Sorry to break it to you, but this doesn’t go away. However, it does abate. Regular practice and experience will allow you to take last minute jobs and jump into projects without reaching for the panic button. The more you do this, the easier it gets. So keep practicing your skills every week!

#11 Vocal power. 

You voice is everything. If, tomorrow, you get a Musical Theatre audition, a voice-over gig, or a callback for Hamlet, you need a voice to support you… We encourage 10-20 minutes a day of voice work to stay vocally agile.

#12 Happiness outside of acting. 

Though we’ve talked a lot about making acting your focus, one of the best ways to support a happier life as an Actor is to have passions and connections outside of the acting industry. Cultivate a rewarding and enjoyable life distinct from acting, so that you aren’t dependent on the career “success” for fulfillment. This will take a lot of pressure off when you get opportunities, as you are more empowered and are no longer desperate for the job.

There is nothing we can do about the nature of our industry. However, frustration isn’t the answer. I believe we should do everything we can to improve the “lifestyle” of being an actor. If we can create a life that allows for the whims of the industry, and reduces stress, we will be happier and healthier Artists. It’s not always an easy goal, but a worthwhile pursuit. Each and every day, keep working on your skills, so that you are always ready for everything this industry throws at you!

#13 Invite to audition

Auditions are GOLD. Treat them that way. If you are an Actor invited to audition, remember it’s because someone thinks your skill and interpretation can serve their story & enhance the overall creative vision of the project.  The assumption is that you are a good Actor, ALWAYS.

#14 Embody a professional Actor

You are a professional screen Actor so stop saying you are an aspiring Actor.  This is telling your subconscious that you aren’t “there” yet. If you embody the role of Actor, you will find yourself seamlessly stepping into the role. As though you are playing a part, but instead of a role its your real life! Align to your highest ideal self and conquer.

#15 You are who they are looking for!

You are in the right place so be brave.  Stand out!  You have seconds to engage. Have an ease about you, this is what you have trained for. Read the room, be in the moment and stay focused in-between your lines. Let go of your ideas of how to ‘play the character’ so you can discover it. The best choices are never found in the text – they’re born from it! 

The best way to show how great an Actor you will be is to listen and take direction well.  This shows respect, and that you are keen for the role and that you work well with others. Know the scene – tell the story – book more roles!