Andy Nyman on Surviving and Thriving as an Actor
Updated: Dec 8, 2020
Last week, we were lucky enough to sit down with the incredibly talented actor, director, producer, author & magician, Andy Nyman.
Andy's published writing includes Ghost Stories - in which he also starred - The Golden Rules of Acting & More Golden Rules of Acting. On screen, Andy's probably best-known for his roles in Judy, Death at a Funeral, and many more.
Here, we ask him all about not just surviving, but thriving as an actor in today's world.
What made you realise that you could find another passion outside of acting without sacrificing your acting career?
I didn't realise it - it just happened. My hobby, magic, went from being a way for me to earn a bit of money between acting jobs, to suddenly becoming a force in my life.
I have had to be very strong about not mixing the two. For years I never spoke about magic as it was essential that my acting remained my major focus. What I've learned is that a second string is essential, as it gives such freedom.
In The Golden Rules of Acting you say 'be happy and you’ll work more.' What are a few top tips for managing this?
Well that's a biggie. I think keeping perspective on life is the biggest thing. Being grateful for everything: waking up, being able to eat and breathe, having a passion that fuels us. It's moment-by-moment, but one thing is for sure - the more we can focus on happiness, the better our lives will be.
Could you tell us about the 'Screw You fund'? How do you build one and why is it important?
This comes from the second string. Without it, you have to accept any acting work that comes your way. If you have a second income stream, which doesn't have to be big - just enough to cover your living expenses - it means if an acting job you don't want to do comes along, you can say 'screw you' and not do it. The second string gives power, the power to keep your dreams alive.
Dream as big as you can - why not? You're in the game now, so be true to what you want.
What can an actor do to make sure they are at the top of their game when the phone finally does ring for the next audition?
Keep enjoying the life of it. Watch films, watch dramas, read acting books, read plays - stay alert and excited.
If you had to choose just one, what’s your top tip for auditions?
Remember: they want to give you the job. It's not an exam, they are desperate for you to do well.
'Imagine massive success but plan for total failure' is one of our favourite quotes from the first book. Could you expand a little on what you mean by that?
Dream as big as you can - why not? You're in the game now, so be true to what you want. But realise the road is long and tricky. Save your money, think smart, be cautious in life to protect your chances of longevity as an actor. The longer you stick at it, the better it will get.
What’s the one piece of advice you’ve heard about acting that resonated with you most?
No one piece, just the accumulation of watching actors that I loved working with. The truth is that every single one of them, from the day players to the giant film stars, all had one thing in common - they loved doing it, and were excited to play. That's all there is.
You can get both of Andy's brilliant books - The Golden Rules of Acting and More Golden Rules of Acting - here & here.
We could not recommend them more - they'll totally restore your confidence in your acting career!