Life as an actress : Getting started & Tips to stay Motivated

There are probably thousands, if not millions of people out there hoping they will be the next big thing! Whether that is on television, a cinema screen or stage production. But, what does it really take to get from here to there, especially if you are just starting out. There is no linear route to becoming an actress, throughout your whole career there will be highs and lows, but the key is to embrace every chance you get because you love it. Even the small parts. Life as an actress isn’t easy, I can definitely attest to that, but I want to stress that the littlest moments and parts you get in your life can sometimes be the stepping stones leading you towards success.

So, what has my journey been like? Everyone’s will be different but if you’re interested to hear my story, I aim to offer you some tips I’ve learned along the way, and hopefully inspire you to keep charging forward even in the hardest of times or obstacles.

**Scroll to the bottom for top 5 tips to stay motivated

How I got started

I was a very shy kid growing up, to this day my mum is still amazed I wanted to become an actress; because of how terrified I was to be around anyone. However, it was something I so desperately wanted to do and I kept being drawn to performing. I think my major breakthrough moment on the stage was in 3rd grade, I was 6 years old. It was the talent show and I sang “When there was me and you” from High School Musical (because lets be honest those are the best movies ever). My first audition was a train-wreck, I left the room before I could even sing. But one of my favourite teachers believed I could do it and let me re-audition, sometimes you just need that extra push. Turns out, singing in front of five hundred people wasn’t so scary after all. Okay, maybe it was but it got me out and showed myself that I could do it if I really wanted it badly enough.

Acting didn’t come straight after that, though. It actually took me many years to build up confidence, and to be honest is something I still continue to work at to this day. But what really helped me ease my self into the spotlight and become comfortable on the stage (or camera), was my love for dance. I didn’t have to talk or sing, just let myself have fun through the movement. It helped me in more ways than one. I went from just generic classes to competition team, and before I knew it was performing in front of thousands. It really helped me break out of my shell and understand that performing is a deep passion of mine, I was finally comfortable enough to put myself out there and into acting classes.

I’m sure most people watched Disney Channel growing up. Suite Life, Hannah Montana, Wizards or Waverley Place? Yes, no? Well, for me, at the age I started acting (14 years old) all I wanted to be was on Disney Channel. I can tell you now it did not happen (obviously) but it was a dream that gave me something to aspire to. To this day I still have hopes of being in a Disney Production, or Disney Live-Action film. But what ever your goal or dream you have as an actress, don’t let go of it. Especially if it is what drives you to keep going, even in the hard times.

My first agent was Page Parkes in Houston, TX. I became homeschooled so I could really focus on training, and dedicated myself to it. I took intensives, six week courses, and workshops. Honestly, starting out this really helped and highly recommend taking classes. I made the switch from stage to on-camera which can make a big difference in how you perform. I met loads of friends as well which was great because we all encouraged one another and helped each other when we had auditions. Auditions are so exciting to get, I got ones for Disney Channel, Feature Films, Commercials (I actually landed an Academy School Advert one time) but they can also come with a lot of rejection. One thing I wish I knew when I was starting out was to have more confidence and put everything you’ve got into every audition because it is an achievement in itself just to get called into the room or a self-tape, so don’t forget that.

On set Gentleman Jack (HBO)

At age 17, I packed my bags and made the jump the the UK. I kept my agent from America for the longest time, but shortly got an agent here. I studied Drama and Film at university and worked tirelessly along side my studies to continue to create my own projects and put myself into being an extra onset. Every step has been a learning opportunity, because although I wasn’t always acting I was constantly engaging with the production world and it has also taught me about my love to write for screen and do more behind-the-scenes work. A lot of people will tell you not to take extra work, but some of my best memories and learning experience has come from them!

So finally I am in London, it’s been a long road to finally get here and amongst it all. Of course Covid has slowed things down since I got here, but I have hopes for what is yet to come.

MY TOP 5 TIPS ON HOW TO KEEP MOTIVATED :

  1. Remember your WHY – why do you want to become an actress? If you don’t have a passion to act or work in the film industry rejection is going to hit you a lot harder.
  2. Don’t let it consume you – I’ve been there, I was so wrapped up in it constantly. Who was getting what audition, why it wasn’t me, and what did that person have I didn’t. STOP. Your time will come, I know that is cliche but it is true. Don’t forget to enjoy the ride and where it’s taking you.
  3. Keep training or exercise your craft – Staying in tune with your craft can get you prepared for when the auditions do come. This could simply be taking a workshop class, finding a monologue to record yourself, finding student films to act in, or just having another friend to rehearse scripts with. Like with anything, practice never hurts.
  4. Pick up a hobby – Remember at the bottom of your CV there is the ‘skills’ section? Well why not make yourself more available to work by learning a new one. Maybe teach yourself a new language, or learn how to dance. With all the free time actors usually have between jobs it will keep you busy and could come in handy one day.
  5. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF – Cannot stress enough, this is so important. You are your business, you are pitching yourself for everything. Making sure you are healthy and rested is not only good for you, but when you do finally book the job it will be busy and you’ll need to ensure you will have the energy to do it.

I am by no means a top actress, but I continue to strive to do the best I can to achieve my dreams. All the rejection, little victories, and hard work has made me appreciate how much I love what I do. With perseverance and passion, will come success. Hang in there and if its all you can think about doing, then don’t give up.

Sending you every once of luck! xx

Be sure to follow and like my posts. I post new content every Monday, Friday, and Saturday (:

Follow me on instagram : @Jennifer.james16 @Double_J_creative

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