How To Stay Motivated And Inspired As An Experienced Actor
If you’ve been acting for a while, you’ll know only too well how easy it can be to become a little disillusioned with the supposed glitz and glamour of it all.
While your passion for what you do may still be there, finding the motivation to push on in an increasingly competitive industry can be a challenge.
If the thought of doing anything else as a career doesn’t appeal, but you’re feeling less than interested in attending yet another audition, what can you do?
To help you find renewed inspiration and motivation, we’ve prepared this easy to follow guide.
How Burnout Happens
If you think back to the start of your acting career, you probably remember feeling excited, keen to attend as many auditions as possible and somewhat undeterred by rejection.
You likely embraced the long hours and challenges of being on set too, it was all new and thrilling.
However, years of working in this high pressure environment and facing continued rejection can seriously take its toll.
Alongside the relentless hunt for auditions, attending acting classes, working (either as an actor or in a side hustle to pay the bills) and other commitments, life can be exhausting.
Many actors face a point where it feels more appealing to simply take on a regular 9-to-5 job and do away with all the additional stress and uncertainty acting brings.
Thankfully, there are some practical steps you can take to keep you on track and enjoying the career you love.
Twelve Steps For Better Motivation As An Actor
1. Be Realistic & Kind To Yourself
Acting is not a standard career path and very few careers expect such a high level of dedication with such a limited guarantee of success. It is naturally going to have more ups and downs as you seek new roles, finish up roles and face the uncertainty this can bring.
Being realistic about this and learning to accept that sometimes you’re going to feel uncomfortable or challenged by this uncertainty is important. This will help you navigate the down periods with a little more ease.
2. Stay Active & Eat Well
Prioritising your health by eating a balanced diet and exercising your body and mind means you will be ready for any opportunity that arises. This is important for everyone, not just actors.
Using time between projects to attend acting classes, read, meet with friends and invest in your fitness and overall health is going to motivate you much more than being a couch potato.
3. Focus On The Journey, Not The Destination
If you only ever view your career from the lens of ‘I’ll feel accomplished when…’ you’ll never find fulfilment and will constantly feel unmotivated. The process and mechanics of acting have to be enjoyed too or it will never feel like an enjoyable process.
Finding joy in preparing showreels, attending acting classes, reading scripts, being on set and all the other aspects of acting is essential.
If you can learn to focus on this more than the end result or desire to win awards and acclaim, you’ll find it much easier to stay motivated when times get tough.
4. Find An Outlet
It is not healthy to relentlessly pursue your career goals without a break. This can quickly become overwhelming and depressing if things are not going as hoped for.
It is important to have a hobby or an outlet that is completely separate from acting that gives you a break and a chance to refresh yourself. This could mean learning an instrument, playing on a sporting team, learning to crochet or cook – just about anything goes.
You may even find your creativity and problem solving are boosted by taking this break and your career will benefit as a result.
5. Follow A Routine
A long-term career plan is great, but a daily plan and routine are also highly beneficial to help you stay motivated and inspired, and can give you the sense of achieving something useful even in quiet times.
Set small goals and tasks that you can resolve each day. This could be work related such as vocal warm-ups, acting classes and agency meetings, or even just things that need doing around the house.
Try to complete as many things on your list each day as you can, this will help you feel accomplished regardless of what is happening work wise.
6. Seek Out Motivating Materials
There’s a lot to be said for a great playlist or uplifting movie when it comes to boosting your mood.
If you’re in a slump and feeling burnt out, you should actively seek out music, movies, books, quotes or similar that have helped you feel inspired in the past. This can help you reignite that spark and pull you out of a low point.
7. Learn Something New
Similar to finding an outlet, pursuing a new skill set is an excellent way to inspire and motivate. Certain skills can also go on your resume, making you more appealing as an actor.
Consider pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and learning:
- A new language
- Martial arts
- An instrument
- Dancing and more.
Learning also helps to keep our minds sharp and is a great confidence booster – it’s also a lot of fun which is great for relieving stress.
8. Visualise Your Future
Taking the time to imagine yourself where you want to be in the future can be a powerful tool when it comes to eliminating negative thoughts and finding renewed motivation.
Try visualising yourself in your dream role, winning that coveted award, working with your favourite actor or whatever your career goals look like.
Just 2-3 minutes of this a day can help to ignite excitement and squash those feelings of apathy regarding your role as an actor.
9. Prioritise Connection
Networking is so important as an actor. Not only does this connect you with like-minded people, but it can also expose you to new opportunities you might’ve missed otherwise.
Networking could include attending industry events, following casting directors on social media, attending theatre productions, acting classes and more.
This can also help you to find a mentor. A mentor supports the growth of your career as an actor while also holding you accountable and pushing you to be your best, even when things aren’t going your way.
As an experienced actor yourself, you may also like to be a mentor. This can be incredibly rewarding and motivating, showing you how much you have learned and have to offer based on your own experience.
10. Look For Inspiration
You’re not the first actor to struggle and nor will you be the last. To find inspiration, it can be beneficial to look to those who came before you.
Read biographies of successful actors who have triumphed against adversity. Or watch movies, performances or interviews to learn how others have navigated the same challenges you are facing.
You’re likely to learn some tips and tricks for staying motivated while also feeling more inspired to persevere.
11. Remain Patient
As we’ve discussed, experience as an actor doesn’t necessarily translate to an easy time securing work. Just as patience is important at the start of your career, it remains crucial throughout your journey.
Learning to remain patient at every stage of your career can help you avoid becoming overwhelmed or disheartened. We suggest using your time productively as both a way to stay distracted and learn something that could support you in future.
12. Accept That Not All Days Will Be Good Days
No matter how dedicated you are to doing all of the above, there will still be times when you just cannot face the day. This is completely normal and nothing to beat yourself up about!
Sometimes we just need a great self-care day to recuperate and rest before we can get back up and keep going. Give yourself grace, rest, eat whatever you like, sleep or do whatever makes you feel comforted and then leave it behind you.
The key thing is to not indulge in weeks of this at a time as it is then so much harder to pull yourself back into line.
The Importance Of Ongoing Acting Classes
As you’ll have noted above, many of these motivational steps include engaging in acting classes. Why? Because they are ideal places to hone your skills, remind you why you love what you do, network, find mentors and learn something new.
Continued learning through acting classes best positions you for new roles and ensures you do not become isolated.
At The Actors Pulse, our highly qualified teachers have decades of experience in supporting actors of all experience levels to achieve their goals.
We understand the challenges of the industry and work closely with you to ensure you do not experience burnout and lose that much needed motivation.
We value community and connection and have been embracing our role as the leading school for the Meisner Technique in Australia. Whether you prefer one on one tutoring, online or in-person classes, we have something to meet your needs.
To learn more, speak with our team today at 0414 475 515 or contact us here.
Billy Milionis is one of the few Australians to have ever studied under the legendary master teacher, the late Sanford Meisner. Billy has also studied story structure and scene analysis techniques with John Truby and later at UCLA. He has also spent several years doing improvisation in Hollywood with the L.A. Connection. In addition, he trained in the technique of Stella Adler, Practical Aesthetics and Lee Strasberg’s method.