Today we look at the commonly asked question “Am I too old to become an Actor?” and the potential barriers to entry. Is it possible to become a full-time actor? Yes. Is it easy? No, not at all – but if you love the craft, you put the effort in, yes, it’s very much achievable.
This can, unfortunately, be a huge barrier of entry, even for a potential actors in their late twenties. They feel the ship has sailed and that once they’ve completed training they’re in their early 30’s and the time has passed. That’s not the case at all, once you’ve read this article I bet you have at least changed your mind a little!
Am I too old to become an actor?
The answer is no, you are never too old to act or to even to start your acting career. There are plenty of advantages to starting your acting career later in your life.
- Focus: Ability to stay focused on becoming an actor and not being distracted by multiple things.
- Experience: This is key, you will have so much more life experience that you can lean on and draw from to create a lifelike, gripping performance.
- Life skills: You can use the life skills you have developed and utilise them in your acting or adding them to your acting resume, you never know when these may be called upon!
- Financial stability: Usually when starting acting later in life you have had a career and saved up a lot – so you won’t depend on this being your main income stream for a while. Also if you haven’t, you have a career behind you and can support yourself through evening film school.
Actors who became famous after their 40’s:
Here are a few actors that dispelled the question “am I too old to become an actor?” – they had to persevere and wait for their chance to hit the heights of stardom, they were acting for a couple of decades before the achieved “a-list” levels.
It wasn’t until he was 50 you could class he “made it”. However, he did at the age of 34 make his big-screen debut, but after that, there was relative silence. However, his rise to fame was receiving an Oscar nomination for his role in “Driving miss daisy”.
McCarthy’s career blew up in 2011 as one of the stars in the hit comedy “Bridesmaids”. Before this McCarthy (And still does) put a lot of effort into her training and developing her acting skills, it took time to get here, but she achieved it and has gone on to build an incredible career.
Samuel L. Jackson
Samuel L. Jackson acted in a huge amount of movies, including short films and less successful movies, until he starred in “Pulp Fiction” – for his upstanding performance he received a “Best Supporting Actor” nomination. An incredible actor with large amounts of perseverance and determination.
What skills do I need as an actor to succeed?
This is a question we get asked a lot and while the answer is very subjective to each person, there are a few core skills and attributes that will help you achieve stardom
Unfortunately, it does take a bit of time to succeed and being patient is something integral for you to succeed.
The best way to be patient is to always be learning and developing your acting and looking back at the small improvements you make. This will help you appreciate your talent and how far you’ve come.
READ MORE: 9 acting techniques all actors MUST know
Motivation is key to becoming a successful actor if you don’t love acting it can be demoralising. However, there are plenty of strategies to combat this one is to constantly celebrate the small wins and build out smaller goals to achieve that all add up to reaching your main goal.
This will help you celebrate and feel you are moving forward, this will give you the right motivation and energy to constantly improve and apply yourself.
Always look to learn, all the top actors are always learning and improving their craft – if they didn’t, they’d be knocked off their perch.
Treat it like you’re an athlete, and flex those acting muscles daily. Even if it’s for ten minutes at the start of the day, maybe recite your lines in the mirror, read a book on your commute, or attend a weekly improv class.
Make sure you are looking to learn daily and practise what you currently know, this will allow you to perform much more free-minded in auditions and in class.
Create a YouTube channel, make your own skits, write a short film. Always look to write your own material and also, there is no stopping you writing your dream role – no ones stopping you, Ricky Gervais did it in The Office and Larry David did when he developed “Curb Your Enthusiasm”.
You never know where it will take you, write your logline and develop a film treatment and you’re on your way to writing your first script.
Here are some guidelines and resources to help you write your script:
- How to write a logline: The ultimate guide
- What is a logline?
- Why your script outline is essential: 3 simple steps
You now have everything you need to enter any screenwriting competitions you desire, also think of it as another way to network and build relationships, you never know who’s hiring for their latest production – this may lead you to another role.
Have a backup job.
I know this sounds boring and it may seem as deemed a failure, but you’ll find having a backup skill to earn money will allow you to flourish as an actor.
When there are no financial restraints you can really excel. This means living quite frugally but by having back up income it doesn’t crush you as your not 9 to 5 and you can still attend auditions, but it doesn’t mean you are unable to pay rent.
This allows you a form of freedom, so go out there and learn a new skill – it doesn’t mean you’ve given up it means you are now able to keep pursuing your dream as an actor. When you do hit that point you can leave your backup job behind you as you become an award-winning actor (we’re basically saying be sensible, have a backup plan, but still dream big).
Finally, please assess what you deem a success. To become a successful actor doesn’t mean you have to be consistently trending on twitter or always hugging the headlines in the latest celebrity spotting magazine.
Success can be receiving your first role in a short film, or graduating from evening acting school. Always celebrate the small successes, this will motivate you and propel you to where you want to be as an actor.
Remember to celebrate all the success on the way, it will be far more enjoyable :)