How to Last in the Acting Industry - Advice from a former Child Actor
You could say that my childhood was slightly different from most. My mum and aunt ran a theatre school which had an agency attached to it, so from day one I was surrounded by the arts. When I was five, my mum decided to set up a profile for me on the agency, and that set the ball rolling!
I soon found myself spending half my time on film sets, and "set life" had me hooked from the get-go. I lapped up the atmosphere, team spirit and just how much fun it was to pretend to be other people.
That excitement and love for performing stuck, and 20 years later I’m still doing what I love. Sure, there have been highs and lows along the way, but the love hasn’t died, and I believe that comes with already having gone through those highs and lows – as well as rejection – from a young age.
There were a couple of times, especially, when I came within touching distance of what you may call “the big break”, but fell at the last hurdle. Having that hard rejection at such a young age seemed to toughen me up, and I learned very early on the art of auditioning, and then just forgetting about it – mainly because my mum would take me out for a meal of my choice afterwards, and that helped me with that!
I carried on acting through school and decided not to train as I was working fairly consistently, so after I finished my A-Levels I threw myself completely into my acting and haven’t looked back since!
Now don’t take it that it’s all been perfect - I’ve had to learn some tough lessons along the way – sometimes at quite a young age – but I’ve learnt from them by doing a few things along the way that I’m going to share with you!
Creating great first impressions
I have found that the moment you step into the casting room, all eyes are on you, so it’s really important to be your best self from the moment you walk through the door.
The same can be set when you walk on set - I love meeting new people, and so if I’m introduced to someone I try to get to know them a bit. You never know who you could be talking to, and have found that having a great relationship with the runners as well as the director is really important.
I’ve been cast when runners have worked their way up to AD’s and directors and have remembered me. I’m even still in touch with the director of the first film I was in!
Once you’ve made those connections, make them last! I always go through my call sheet after I’ve wrapped on a job and try and follow any of the people I met and got on with on social media to keep in touch.
Keep involved with the community
They say networking is key (check out this post here for more about networking from home) and it couldn’t be more true - keeping involved in the acting community is really important.
I have made so many amazing friends in the industry over the years, and whenever I go onto my socials I always have a support team there to lift me when things aren’t going great.
You should know by now that us actors need to be on social media, and it can help your career! As well as making connections with the other actors you follow, getting involved in events like Showreel Share Day, and competitions like the ones Flairbox puts on is a great way to get your face and work out there.
Also, be sure to follow casting directors and other industry people that you look up to, or would like to work with one day. When casting directors put out open castings on their socials, be sure to share it even if you are not suitable for any of the roles, as you never know who it might help in your online community.
Creating flexible income streams
When I left school to work on my acting career, I soon realised that if I was in this for the long haul, that I had to have some form of income coming in that could keep me going in the quiet periods, but was also flexible to allow me to take time to audition and filming.
I had started working at my mum’s theatre school teaching dance and drama during school, so that was a natural progression for me after I left. I found I was able to learn from the kids as well as them learning from my experience in the industry, so I soon discovered that teaching is a fulfilling job. Also, they are supportive of my acting as the majority of the teachers are performers themselves, meaning I can easily take time off.
As well as teaching, I started delving more into the online world. I had read blogs and watched YouTube videos for a few years before leaving school, so when I finished I decided to start up my own blog & YouTube channel talking about my other passions: fashion, beauty, lifestyle and travel.
I also started to include videos about my acting on my channel, which ended up being particularly popular, and I’ve featured them on my channel ever since.
Through my blog, Youtube channel and social channels, I’ve been able to earn money through affiliate links, paid sponsorships with brands and guest posts (like this one) and they have become a great boost to my income. Plus, I can work whenever I want, from anywhere, meaning I can take my laptop with me so I can work on content during breaks on set.
Hopefully, you may have found some of these tips from my experience growing up in the industry helpful, and just remember - this is not a sprint, it’s a marathon! If you want to last in this industry, be in it for the long haul, regardless of the highs and lows.
Georgina Minter-Brown has been acting from the age of 5, and has worked in films, TV, stage and commercials. She is best known for playing Marie in cult indie film Frequencies, and her roles in Cradle To Grave (BBC) and Obsession: Dark Desires (US). She also teaches dance and drama at Chrystel Arts Theatre School in North London, as well as being a blogger and Youtuber.