• Written by Lauren Cohen


I remember walking into my very first acting class a few years back. My teacher, then and now, John Pallotta said something to a large group of us: “Your voice is often too soft to be heard, you will always be underestimated, overlookedand often totally ignored and rejected – Use that!, study hard and become the actor that they never saw coming.”

As I make my way in my journey, I am finding out rather quickly that to make it and survive in this industry as an actor, you must commit to the lifetime rule. It takes a lifetime of study, practice and actual application to truly master your craft and survive in an uncertain industry. There are no bad actors, just actors who aren't willing to fully commit to their development. The true meaning of being an actor is not to be discovered but rather to discover who you are along the way.

Take classes and fine-tune your instrument.

Acting is more than just wanting to get cast, it’s about the journey. It’s about developing your craft and being the best that you can be. A director on set told me recently that being an actor is not about being better than the other guy, it’s about being better than you were the day before. Best advice I can give you is to take classes as often as possible, study hard, study life. Take voice, scene study, improv, anything that has to do with this industry. As a lawyer, I was required to take years and years of classes so that could be on top of my game. A serious actor is one that is committed to the craft and iswilling to invest  in themselves and their career.

Audition every day and own the audition room.

Your audition doesn’t start when you sit in that chair. It starts from the moment you get the call. The way you take care of yourself, mentally, physically and spiritually. The way you prepare for the audition, doing your homework, knowing the back story, developing your character and being off book. Also being kind to people you meet on your way to the audition. You never know who you’ll bump into on the elevator or the street. That person just might be the producer or casting director. Be kind, considerate and most of all don’t be an actor in front of the casting director, be a human being.

Study the universe.

Study life, Travel and explore. Learn about people, about their lives, who they are. When you are in a cab, give the driver a name andcreate a life back story about him/her. Walk behind someone (a total stranger) and create a story about them. These experiences are an amazing thing to draw upon for characters that you want to develop. It not only helps you develop the character but helps you develop who you are as a person. Incorporating the above and drawing upon your own past experiences helps create amazing characters.

Be different then everyone else in the audition room

From being on set endlessly, watching my fellow actors and listening to what directors want, I’ve found that this industry is an editor’s, casting director’s and director’s call. I don’t have the final say. All I can do is supply the best possible choices, hopefully the right choices, and something that will keep the casting director andDirector coming back to me. Playing the opposite is also something important that have learned .Crying in a scene is easy, yelling at the top of my lungs is easy. I’ve learned in playing the opposite, that if your scene calls for crying or yelling you can make a stronger choice. Their are always better options that can make you stand outfrom the rest.

Be more than just an actor and run your business

I have found to truly survive in this industry, you have to do more than being just an actor. You must learn how to write scripts, directand even learn the camera. The more you know about what’s involved in this industry, the better you will be. In my short time in the industry I have also learned marketing skills, social media management, networking, producing, building my own website, and the list goes on.

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