How to be an Actor is Easier than You Think

Paul RussellSo many rules:

Don’t use that audition material…

Don’t wear Jessica Simpson nude shoes to every audition which make you look like every other actress auditioning…

Don’t do Star Trek acting turning away from a character during an emotional revelation….

Don’t send a Christmas greeting of yourself to casting pictured as a clown…

Don’t shake hands with the auditor…

Don’t. Don’t. Don’t.

I tire of “Don’t.” Surprising, huh coming from someone who has a best-selling book, blog, and endless articles flooding the Internet about the “Do’s and Don’ts” of being a successful actor.

Have I flip-flopped like Ronald Regan who once was a Democrat but became a G.O.P. deity? Am I trashing advice I and other keyboard-huggers dispense?


But like you, I often become weary of my nagging voice in my head that turns the helpful advice of others (or me) into repetitive dogma that I (and you) via insecurity distort into restrictions. The negative noise is stifling. We create that harmful harping in our heads from what was once a helpful whisper from others.

Yes, there are “rules” better termed “advisories” that greatly benefit our goals. To paraphrase my quote at the beginning of ACTING: Make It Your Business; take what works for you, and discard implemented advice that after time doesn’t seem to grow your desires.

We get many “rules” hurled at us in all aspects of our lives. The above acting career “Don’ts” are basic common sense acting career advisories to follow. Common sense is what makes being an actor—easier. Just. Use. Common sense.

Be passionate, not foolish, in pursuing goals. Be professional. Be sensible. You needn’t worry about every minuscule aspect of the journey. I’ve had students fret over the staple placement and the number of such when attaching their resume to a headshot. Just staple the damn paper to the picture, move on, and act.

Paul's book ACTING: Make It Your Business!So what to do?

Maintain, and improve the tools in your acting shed that help you harvest the bounty of your desires. Toss the clutter; clutter often rummaged from insecure actor-to-insecure actor.

Here’s a “Don’t” to ponder: Don’t try so hard. Just do.

There are sensible advisories to follow. Just don’t be consumed with every “Don’t” that you’re left idling from doing.

My Best,

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Paul Russell’s career as a casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned nearly thirty years. He has worked on projects for major film studios, television networks, and Broadway. Paul has taught the business of acting and audition technique at NYU and has spoken at universities including Yale, Temple and the University of the Arts. He is the author of ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working Actor. For more information, please visit

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ACTING: Make It Your Business

Author: Paul Russell

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