It's a bit embarrassing, but whenever friends come over to my house, if they stumble into my room, they see something that looks like this (above) blue tacked to my wall. It's an example of a personal score card I made up for keeping track of my acting career and I recommend using it for three important reasons:
1. It gives me perspective: By reminding me that my craft is only 1 of the 9 components I need to be a working actor.
2. It empowers me: By showing me the things I'm in control of, so I can focus on that and let go of everything else.
3. It keeps me accountable: By showing me what's in a good place and what I still need to work on.
At the 50 point mark, I divide the graph into two sections, which I playfully label as the 'Major Leagues' (top) and the 'Minor Leagues' (bottom). In the 'Minor Leagues' you're an amateur on the rise, wearing multiple hats, doing lots of jobs and working reasonably independently to build up a body of work that will get you noticed by the Majors. In the 'Majors' you're a professional, working within a much bigger team, with bigger budgets, bigger stakes and more resources to produce more widely visible work.
It's a subjective scoring system, but I believe if you can build each area up, to be above that 50 point threshold, it becomes the tipping point for more high end work and opportunities to come your way. Admittedly once you cross that threshold, your priorities likely change and other factors come into play, but focussing on the here and now, this is what's important/ the questions that I ask, regarding each component cited in the graph.
Auditions/ Audition Technique - Are you getting them? (Big or small it doesn't matter). Is your preparation up to scratch? Could it be better? Are you committed to seeking them out? What's your success rate at right now? What could be improved?
Side note: I'll touch on this more in a later article but auditioning can sometimes be more about the weight of history rather than the audition itself. If you've repeatedly done good auditions for someone in the past, when the right role comes up - sometimes even if you do a bad audition you'll still get the part, because it suits you and they know you can act. Every audition is an investment in your career.
Contacts - Don't be afraid to pick up the phone, to shoot off an email or ask for an introduction. Providing you're leading with what you can give, trying to offer something of yourself first and then asking for a small, specific thing in return, you can make valuable contacts anywhere from: Producers to Directors, Casting Directors, Agents, Writers, other Actors and more.
Immersion - Watching and consuming your profession is important. Seeing theatre and film, Australian and international is crucial to your development, because seeing good examples of acting, learning from it and being able to speak to it in auditions, shows that you're committed and hooked in to the industry. It gives you a significant advantage that people notice in the audition room.
Workshops - They provide opportunities for you to be seen by other actors, teachers, directors and/ or casting agents. You can network while getting the chance to showcase yourself and improve your craft. You can start new relationships, find new ways to approach the work and sometimes even jobs can come from these valuable investments.
Head shots - Are they out of date? Do they show you in your best light? Do they look professional? Do the colours you're wearing in them suit you? Is that your best hair cut? Do you have photos that show multiple looks? Head shots are often the first thing somebody sees when considering you for a role, so it's important to get them right.
The Agent Relationship - Do you have one? Do they have the leverage to put you in front of the right people? Are you doing everything you can to make it easy for them to be motivated to find you work, have faith in you, know exactly where you fit and push to get you the right auditions? Knowing how to communicate with your agent is paramount to 90% of what you do, make it easy for them, don't make it hard.
Showreel - Is it out of date? Does it show you at your best? Does it make you look like you belong? Is it professional? Does it lead out with a strong scene that shows you in your niche? Can people immediately get you when they watch it? Does it make you an easy sell?
Craft - Are you committed? Do you practice regularly? Do you have people to practice with and be honest with you about what needs work? Do you have a mentor? Do you have a good technique? Are you continuing to read and learn about what's possible?
Visibility - Are you finding opportunities to be seen? Short films, indy features, film festivals, co op theatre, classes, showreels, social media and competitions all qualify, anything that could lead to you being seen by the right people. Are you doing everything you can to make the most of the opportunities you've got?
Health - Are you in good shape? Do you fit the look that your niche demands of you? What could you do to improve your health? Your skin? Your weight? Your vitality and energy levels? It's all important when it comes to being the best you can be.
So there you have it. I hope some of these questions helped spark something in you and provide a platform for you to take the next step. I'd like to challenge you to make your own scorecard and see where you're at. You don't have to share, but be honest with yourself and hopefully you'll find what you need to work on next.
I believe the core of improving this industry is all about support and helping each other out. If you need help, please feel free to get in touch.
Also, what did you think of this? Was it clear? Did you get something out of it? Was there anything I missed? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
As always love and inspiration. Happy dream chasing!
Film and Theatre Actor Based in Sydney. Creator of Script Gym. Lover of Stories.