So dark you can’t even see your hand in front of your face. It happened in an instant with just a slight popping sound. 10 seconds ago you had the lights on and Netflix running the Office for the 30th time and then SNAP! No power. Now as your fan slowly turns to a stop, there is complete silence.
Is it even safe to get up and go check the fuse box? Where the hell IS the fuse box? You’ve got to do something and soon because all this darkness means no lights, no fridge, no phone, no internet.
If your paycheck keeps the bills paid and the lights on, then you would surely be working hard to ensure this doesn’t happen to you, right? If you lost one job, you would bust some serious ass to get the next because those lights don’t pay for themselves.
In over 100 interviews with acting pros and industry insiders, I’ve learned one major lesson that separates those who use their acting career to keep the bills paid, fridge full and lights on from those who don’t. That lesson is: You MUST Treat Your Career Like a Business.
You have to attach the same urgency and commitment that you would to any career that kept a roof over your head and tacos in your hand (or whatever your favorite food is). Without that level of determination, the excuses come pouring in. “It’s too hard. It’s not the right time. I blame my agent/partner/job/parents.”
But how do you actually do that? School or your acting training never taught you how, and you thought if you just believed hard enough and “worked on your craft,” it would just work itself out, right? Well, calm down and don’t panic. I’ve taken the tips, tricks, and insight I learned from the actors I’ve interviewed on my podcast and turned them into simple steps that let you develop a business plan for your acting career in just 5 days. At the end of those 5 days, you will have 5 months of goals, tasks, and actions custom built to get your career moving in the right direction and building momentum.
Want to take the 5 Day Challenge? Find the link in the bio below.
The 5 Day/5 Month Planner is a fast and furious guide to getting you motivated, confident and moving towards your acting goals without waiting for any permission or "the right time. " This is your career, and you’re in control.
You’ll have 5 days to put together your 5-month plan. Each day will have 5 action items related to planning, accountability, and focus. The goal at the end of those 5 days will be to have a clear 5-month plan on where you want to be, what you need to do to get there, and the action that you’ll take every day to make that goal happen.
I’ll lay out the 5 days below, but in respect for your time and to keep this post readable, I’ll include only 2 actions each day rather than all 5.
“It’s changed my life!” - Khalid Rivera on his experience
with the 5 Day/5Month Planner.
See his review in the link in the bio below.
Know who you are and what you do.
The 80/20 rule. What are you great at right now? What qualities or skills do you have that allow you to look at material and know immediately that you could do 80% of what this audition requires without any extra effort? You know this type of character, you know this type of circumstance, and you could get into this story immediately because this is your zone of genius. The other 20% can be used to spend that effort learning lines, stretching yourself a little depending on the audition scenario, or really getting solid on some technical aspect of the audition if it applies.
Action 1: List 2 “types” that you can play right now based on your current age, body type, dominant personality (aggressive, bubbly, clever, devious, funny, nerdy, shy, sweet, etc.), and the types of roles that others have cast you in (if this applies). This is easier than you think, and you should trust your first instincts. These two types will pretty much be who you are in 90% of your everyday life.
Action 2: Check all your headshots, websites, reels, and other actor media to make sure you are putting out this type in a consistent way. Update them if necessary! Make a plan to get the cash for new headshots, to change your website, or get the right footage for your reel. Do what it takes to get this right. The biggest complaint casting directors have is when actors try to be too many things. It’s confusing, and they end up being nothing rather than a really STRONG something! Don’t do this. You can always change things later, but you must commit to something and work at it first. If you find that it’s not really you, change. No big deal.
Where can you work right now?
This research teaches you where your best opportunities are right now.
Action 1: Make a list of the types of tv shows, commercials, movies or streaming content that your type would be right for. These are roles that if you got called in to audition for them tomorrow, you would be fully confident that you know how to play that character. In fact, there would not be much of a stretch at all because it’s already so close to your everyday personality. These are the roles you want right now because you’ll show the casting director you know your type, and you can be counted on to come in fully prepared and ready to work.
Action 2: From that list, head to IMDB.com or Deadline.com and make another list of the Casting Directors (and Assistants) who are casting those projects. These are the people who are hiring for the specific jobs you’re right for and you should submit your materials to them! See how this reverse engineering works? There is no point in “gaining exposure” by going into a casting call you are not right for so that you can “be considered for a future project. ” Trust me, they don’t want you wasting their time, and casting directors have loooooong memories. If you come in and show them your skills, savvy, and professionalism they will remember you for future projects. It’s literally their job.
What does it take to get in front of casting for the jobs you can do right now?
Play your own agent. This is a very important skill you’ll develop that will serve you throughout your career.
Action 1: Know your goal! Post your goal in my Acting Business Mastery Group so you can show your peers you’re serious and hold yourself accountable. Want to be booking better auditions with network TV casting by the end of 5 months? How are you going to get there? Who do you need to meet, where do you need to submit, and at what level does your material or skill need to be considered? Your realistic goal will determine all the small steps you take to make it happen or come as close as possible.
Action 2: Maintain consistency. Better to be routinely submitting for student films that fit your type so you can get 2 solid clips on your reel that you can show casting for Blue Bloods, than to submit for commercials and features that don’t work towards that goal or are currently out of your reach. Take notes on what you submitted for and why it matches your overall goal.
What are the key performance indicators per month that show you’re making progress?
Action 1: Post an update in an acting Facebook group, to a group chat with other actors, or somewhere public each month with how many auditions you’ve submitted for and how many you’ve gone in for. Please do not feel embarrassed about your number. This is like a game of golf, you’re only playing against yourself. Every type and market are different so stay focused on your own goals. This number is a way to keep you on track and accountable. Plus, you might be surprised how many others you inspire to kick it up a notch!
Action 2: Are you improving your submission technique? Is it less general and more specific? Do you feel like you are honing in on the types of roles you are really right for? What indications do you have that this is working? Are you working these smaller submissions into your larger end goal?
What are the key performance indicators per week that show you’re making progress?
Action 1: This week, how many casting pros did you engage with on social media? How many auditions did you submit for? How many theaters did you look up to find out their season and see if you are right to submit for any roles? How many times did you do something for your career? Stay strong. Keep hustling.
Action 2: What was something you read, heard, or watched that inspired you or informed you about your career this week? Make sure you keep your ear to the ground using Deadline.com, Backstage, IMDB, trade publications, news, and other outlets to stay in tune with what is happening, who is making it happen, and what it means for your career.
What is the prize or gift you will give yourself if you meet your 50% goal? What will be the prize or gift you give yourself when you reach your 100% goal?
Find something that you can do for yourself as a reward when you reach the halfway point (3 months, let’s say) to your goal. You’ve worked hard and deserve to treat yourself. You’ll also be more motivated to push towards the end goal where you’ll give yourself an even better gift for completing such an incredible task! You deserve it.
Go Do It!
Now is your chance to focus intensely on taking your career to the next level. You’re in control and you’ll find the right balance so that you can live your life and do something every day that advances your acting career. You’re building a business and you're in it for the long haul, but if you've followed these steps and stay committed, you'll find a whole new way of working and will undoubtedly see improvements in how you approach your career.
Take a minute to SHARE this challenge with another actor you know since company and accountability will make it easier to stay motivated. You can also follow The Actor CEO Podcast for interviews, advice, and staying connected to your creative community!
Michael Moreno is a New York City-based podcaster and producer. In the last three years, Michael has bridged the gap from his MFA degree to acting, producing, and building a top-rated podcast for actors with over 8K followers and a worldwide audience featured by Backstage, Casting Networks, DailyActor, YouArtiste, and more. With over 100 interviews with top industry pros and a wealth of resources at ActorCEO.com, Michael aims to help actors build sustainability by treating their career like a business.
Find ActorCEO on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and at ActorCEO.com sharing insight, tips, and strategies to unlock the massive potential creative professionals have in this new media environment. If you want to take action in the next week to achieve your career goals for the next 5 months, you should grab the free 5 Day/5 Month Planner.