It’s hard to think of another job as exciting or rewarding as acting. You get to passionately feel and share things with other people. When you finish, people applaud. Every project is exciting and fun (as long as nobody involved is a complete lunatic). There are two sides to acting. One is the artistic side. The other is the business side. Most actors love the artistic side. Some feel queasy with the “business” end of things. If you’re queasy keep reading, at least for another paragraph.
The Artistic Side of Acting
Hard to qualify, but among other things this is about being fully present with who you are, what you want, and being free enough, (mentally and physically) to pursue your needs in a very public way. Achieving this is impacted by how you train and how you choose to live.
The Business Side of Acting
Is acting your profession or your hobby? If it’s your hobby stop reading and enjoy yourself. If acting is your profession, accept that you’re going to be involved in marketing, advertising and sales. You’re not just an artist, you’re an entrepreneur at the head of your own business. How you run the business affects how much you’re paid to act. You need to work on the artistic side AND the business side if you want to succeed. Two points to consider:
1. Separate Art and Business. Nurture Both.
Think about world-class professional athletes. They strive to combine training and lifestyle choices that lead to peak performance. Successful actors do too. Elite athletes are paid for performing in their sport as well as for endorsements. The endorsements deliver big money but also impact negotiations for future athletic contracts. An athlete who doesn’t take care of business is behaving like his/her sport is a hobby instead of a profession. The business side is time consuming for athletes. Endorsements and appearances cut into training time, affecting performance. Athletes have to strike a balance for optimum results. Successful actors face the same challenge. The artistic and business sides each need nurturing and protecting. How do you separate and nurture each? When you train as an actor, make it about the training. When you work on the business side, make it about business. Fine-tune the balance so you grow as actor and entrepreneur.
2. Learn from the Best
Who’s the best instructor? The one who presents an environment that you can expand into, and ideas that help you clearly see the your path to the things you want. If you’ve been acting a long time, you probably know several great teachers and some to avoid like the plague. On the business side, there are also great teachers and a few hacks. A quick online search using “acting business” reveals a truckload of information, some of which is excellent. Take classes and read information specific to the acting business. Another great thing is to read books specifically about Marketing, Advertising and Selling. These books are aimed at entrepreneurs and you can directly apply the principles you learn to the acting business. Here are three I highly recommend:
“Reinventing You” by Dorie Clark
“Same Side Selling” by Ian Altman and Jack Quarles
“Duct Tape Marketing” by John Jantsch
I hope this has been helpful. If you have questions or thoughts, please reach out.