How can you become more successful as an actor?

Wanting to be successful, in any field, is something you shouldn’t be ashamed of. It’s a British trait that shining, in-yer-face success is somehow vulgar.

People are often taught to go for ‘quality’ as an end in itself. Of course there should be quality. We should all do our best to strive for excellence and develop ourselves to the maximum of our potential. But without an opportunity to show this quality and without the acknowledgement, you’re not going to feel very happy or fulfilled.

The other point about success is that we can achieve it at any point in our lives. If you’re not a successful actor at 25, that doesn’t mean you’re a write-off.  The great thing about the acting profession is that it’s tailored to every period of your life. As you get older, different casting possibilities will present themselves. And different actors will reach their success peak at different points. James Dean reached a peak in his 20s, then his career was cut short. Others will work away for years and then suddenly hit it in middle age. Yet others will peak in their 30s, be less popular in their 40s and 50s and then have a second wind when they reinvent themselves much later in life. This describes Sir John Gielgud who had renewed success in a series of eyebrow-raising film roles when he was well into his 80s.

So the point is, never give up, provided you still have the passion and the will to succeed. It’s worth reflecting that Thomas Edison succeeded in inventing the light bulb only after 10,000 failures. What might have happened to his career if he’d given up after 1,000, or 100, or even 10 tries?