“The only thing to do with good advice is to pass it on. It’s never of any use to oneself.” ~Oscar Wilde

I often find myself drowning in a sea of actor “advice,” with very little good information rising to the top. As I continue to speak with actors around Los Angeles, I find this to be a common theme. There are a million coaches, teachers, classes, books, websites, and the like which proffer advice on how to “make it,” how long your reel should be, what colors you should wear to an audition, and how to say your name.

Unfortunately, I think there is very little great information out there for actors, and even less information on what you should actually DO. With that said, there are some wonderful nuggets of information out there, they just take some digging sometimes. Here are some thoughts on how to sift through all the noise.

Check Your Sources

Whether you’re getting advice on your headshots, your reel, or your website, whomever is giving you the advice has their own set of experience and world outlook that is going to shade their advice a certain way. Is this person an actor, a casting director, some lady who was on 3 episodes of a series 17 years ago, or just some dude with a blog (wink wink nudge nudge)? Is that actor working? Does the CD cast TV? Feature films? Low-budget indies? Is this person trying to make money through their advice? Does this person normally give advice to amateurs or seasoned professionals?

Always Ask WHY

Perhaps the most important thing you can do is ask why the person is giving the advice they are. Finding out what experiences led to their outlook is absolutely crucial, and should very much help you determine how to interpret the advice to your situation.

Check the Advice

See for yourself. Take the advice someone gives you and see what happens. Does it get you more auditions? What are those auditions for? Has your callback ratio gone up? Are you getting more compliments on your reel? Learn by doing. Just because someone hasn’t seen success or isn’t an actor, doesn’t mean they have bad advice. There are sports coaches all over who couldn’t play the sport they coach to save their life. Doesn’t mean they can’t coach, but you should test the advice anyway.

Trust Yourself

At the end of the day, it’s your life and your career. You don’t owe anybody anything. The more experience you get, and the more advice you investigate, the better you’ll be at recognizing good advice when you hear it. If something jives with you…go for it. Trust. Yourself.

Final Thoughts

A philosophy that seems to work really well for me is to get absolutely as much advice as possible from as many people as possible. After a while you start to see trends and pick up on common themes. You see who gives what kind of advice, and more importantly why they give that advice. I find it wise to keep a critical eye of what you’re hearing, and when all is said and done…go with your gut. You’re a rock star. Keep on makin’ it happen.

Advertisements