It’s hard to be a working actor when you feel stuck. Never has a statement been truer. Here’s the thing – You don’t know what you don’t know.

But if you don’t know what you don’t know, how do you figure out what you need to know to move forward?!

I was faced with this very question a few years back in my career. My acting career was going… fine. I was getting in some big rooms, had solid callbacks and was put on hold for a new Netflix series. The only issue was in the end, I didn’t book any of it. Ugh.

Here I was, the business & branding coach for actors, and I couldn’t call myself a working actor. Ouch.

I knew I needed to make some changes and figure out what I didn’t know. Every actor is going to face this at one point or another.

I wanted to share with you how I did it.

5 Steps I Use to Get Unstuck as An Actor

1. Make a list of areas where you aren’t getting the results you desire

First of all, I could’ve changed nothing. I could’ve complained about the industry. Complained about the casting directors. Complained my agents weren’t getting me in enough. Blamed the outside world because I knew what I was doing, I’d been doing it forever.

I’ve seen countless actors do this over all my years of being na actor and a coach. It never leads where you want it to go. It’s the fastest way to become bitter and jaded and leave your dreams behind.

And in the words of Theodore Roosevelt –

“Complaining about a problem without posing a solution is called whining.”

So… I decided to stop whining and complaining, and I got real with myself.

I made a list of where in my acting career I was not getting the results I desired. Here’s the key, I made it from a place of curiosity, not judgement.

You could go on your acting career journey forever without examining what is working and what is not. That is the definition of stuck.

I got honest with myself on where I was falling short and what wasn’t making me happy.

  • Lack of bookings
  • Lost my creative joy
  • Started second-guessing myself
  • Falling into old patterns of trying to get it right

With my list in hand I moved on to Step 2.

2. Research people you admire and find out what they’re doing

I decided to look for inspiration in the people whose acting careers I admired.

  • What were they doing?
  • What did I like?
  • What didn’t I like?
  • What did I think they were really successful at?
  • What inspired me?
  • What were they doing different than I was?

Look, what works for one person might not work for another. But doing the research and finding the commonality between everyone you admire is a good place to start.

Again, this just forced me to be honest with myself and allowed me to stay in that curiosity and possibility.

Once I got clear on what was missing in my career and researched the people I admired, I moved on to Step 3.

3. Look outward and be observant – know what’s happening in your industry.

I decided to keep my gaze outward and observe industry trends. So many actors never pay attention to the trends in the industry.

I watched more TV to see who looked like me that was cast, who were the working actors. It was eye opening. And then it hit me, the trends have shifted. A few years back, redheads were everywhere in commercials and were the interesting choice to cast in a small role on TV.

At the time of my research, Hollywood’s leading ladies all had red locks a-flowing. What were the odds that they were going to cast a redhead in a supporting role opposite a redhead? Not great. And I had to be honest with myself, that I was not yet competing at that ‘leading lady’ level. Was I costing myself jobs?

Once I made that realization, I emailed my manager to discuss. I told her what I researched and asked what she thought about my being a brunette. Ironically, the whole office had been thinking the same thing and were elated I brought it up.

I then reached out to my commercial agent and asked her opinion on my hair color. She said that brunettes go out on commercial auditions 50% more than redheads nowadays.

Sold. My research paid off.

I researched shades of brown, found my ideal hair color for the roles I wanted to book and made the switch!

I knew there was still something missing, so I moved on to Step 4.

4. Look inward and find out where you need to grow

Looking back on all the data I collected, I realized the big thing I admired about the actresses I researched was they all had this spontaneity and freedom in their craft that I found super compelling.

I decided to look inward and really examine where I was in that.

I knew I was a good actor with a solid acting technique and I auditioned well. But something was missing in my craft at that time.

So I got myself in an intense acting class to shake up my technique and put it back together.

It was exactly what I needed to rekindle my passion, take back my creativity and find my artistic freedom. (Thank you, Crista Flanagan!)

5. Seek out the advice and knowledge of the people you trust when you’re ready to shift

I leaned on my manager to support me. I found an acting coach to support me. I found a photographer to help fulfill my vision of my next headshot session.

This is not a go-it-alone business. You will need a team and a village of people supporting you in various aspects of your life and career.

Find your people. Find your acting coach, your career coach, your self-tape readers, your hairstylist, etc.

Once you make decisions in your career, you need people you trust to help you execute it.

If you don’t know the HOW you just need to find the WHO.

We all don’t know what we don’t know!

You just get to have enough courage to figure it out. Life is a journey of constantly growing, learning and shifting. If you think you’ve got it all figured out, that’s a sign you get to dig deep and examine what you don’t know.

If you’re committed to taking massive action towards being a working actor, it is a must.

After being in my new acting class for a bit and releasing my brunette headshots into the world, I had a callback straight to producers where the casting director gushed over how she liked my new hair color.

I’ll take that as a sign that it’s working.

Look, you have a choice. Stay where you are and do nothing OR take a risk and make change.

Doing nothing usually just means complaining. Did you know a research study from Stanford University found that a half hour of complaining every day physically damages a person’s brain. Yup.

So, dear actor, what will you choose?

Complain or follow these five steps?

I encourage you to always do the latter.  Your career deserves it.

Need support in uncovering what you don’t know?

Watch my on-demand masterclass about 5 Proven Steps to Book More Work HERE.