Updated: Apr 28, 2021
This year has created a host of challenges for actors and performers – from Broadway going dark, to the challenge of finding a new side hustle, to now navigating the world of self tapes rather than live auditions.
As performers, we have always found new ways to change and pivot, but sometimes we need a little help.
Here are seven podcasts that can help you feel grounded, gain insight, and feel inspired in the coming months!
1. Audrey Helps Actors
Are you feeling stuck and need some help getting out of a bit of a rut? If so, this is definitely the podcast for you!
Audrey helps Actors has five seasons of wisdom that can help all levels of actors, from beginners to those who are a little more advanced.
In every episode, Audrey Moore interviews an industry professional, illuminating some aspect of the entertainment business that can sometimes feel inaccessible to actors. Her brilliance comes from her honesty about the industry, speaking about it in a way you’ve likely never heard before.
This podcast should be required for every actor leaving conservatory. It’s jammed pack with information drama school just isn’t going to give you. At each new level of your career, you’re going to be dealing with new challenges, and there are insights in this podcast that can help you navigate around obstacles at any stage of your career.
2. Armchair Expert
Dax Shepard has a lot of theories! And I promise you’ll want to hear them all.
His brutal honestly about his struggles with sobriety, making it in the film and television industry, and maintaining a marriage with another working actor will have you coming back week after week.
In Armchair Expert, Dax interviews the top actors in Hollywood as they candidly open up about how they achieved their success. Dax himself experienced ten years of auditions and got absolutely nowhere.
But he continued to take improv classes at the Groundings, took therapy, and kept going despite that lack of early success. This podcast will inspire and uplift you — and it's guaranteed to make you laugh. It’s the perfect combination!
3. Scriptnotes Podcast
Casting directors say this over and over again: “Actors don’t prepare enough for their auditions.” But what does that actually mean? How does an actor interpret what the writers had in mind while also bringing their own life experience to the script?
With Scriptnotes Podcast, John August and Craig Mazin – both accomplished screenwriters – break down scripts, analyse the craft of screenwriting, and so much more.
From their discussions, an actor can gain loads of insights into how to make their tapes more active and how characters need to have wants, desires and ambitions in every single scene.
John and Craig also discuss how to break down a larger script – for when you do get the leading role in a major motion picture. With over four hundred and ninety episodes, you’re sure to find one recording that really speaks to your needs.
4. Abraham Hicks Daily
After auditioning and auditioning – and auditioning some more – it’s easy to get discouraged and feel completely lost, dismayed, and downbeat.
The Abraham Hicks Daily podcast is the perfect antidote to those feelings: a wonderful, grounding podcast that helps clear away doubts and ambiguity in your thinking.
It helps you move beyond self-critical thoughts that contribute to anxiety and a sense of rudderless apathy about your acting career, especially if you sometimes hear yourself saying: “Well, I’m not going to get this anyway – so who cares?”
Abraham Hicks reminds us that we all have so much to offer the world, including many gifts we can develop. The podcasts asks the question: what would happen if you said to yourself, “I’m worthy. I have so much to offer this audition and how can I have more fun?”
If you're anything like me, the podcast will transform the way that you approach auditions – and your life. It's only around fifteen minutes long, so you could listen to it on your way to an audition, or on a brief walk, to get you pumped up and positive.
5. Life Kit
Maintaining your mental health is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves as performers.
Life Kit, hosted by John Schuhmann of NPR, interviews experts about practical ways to take care of your mental health.
On a recent episode, How to deal with burnout, the podcast offers helpful advice to note your feelings throughout the day.
The lessons can certainly be applied to life as an actor. Knowing what makes you feel great about acting – and what doesn't – can be an empowering and instructive path to career satisfaction.
Understanding those parts of your experience can help you make little changes with a big impact on your overall wellbeing. Maybe you need to ask for help on building your website, or you need to find a really great coach to help you prepare for upcoming self tapes? Checking in with yourself, and creating a sense of structure around your needs, will help you to thrive – according to the podcast.
6. How’d this get made?
After all the hard work you’ve put into your craft, all the hours you’ve spent watching the important films of cinema – after all of that, you could use a little break. How’d This Get Made? is just the thing!
You’re sure to laugh with these seasoned comedians – Jason Mantzoukas (Big Mouth), June Diane Raphael (Frankie and Grace) and Paul Scheer (Human Giant) – as they riff on how their films got made!
In a recent episode, the trio watch a film called A Gnome Named Norm. As they break down the film, we laugh along with the silly antics of the writer/director – but there are also some pretty useful lessons for aspiring screenwriters on how to tell a story in a clear, engaging fashion.
Often, the films that these comedians are watching have some structural issues or major plausibility problems. But the fun of these films isn't lost on Jason, June and Paul, who are gentle in their criticism. Watch the film before you listen to the podcast to make the podcast all the more enjoyable!
7. The98Percent Pod
It's the fact that every actor knows but doesn't want to know - 98% of actors are out of work. This wonderful podcast - The 98% - from British actor duo Alexa Morden and Katie Elin-Salt is a brutally honest, funny, heartwarming and often inspirational dive into the real life of an actor. Every episode kicks off with a funny, unique jingle that sets the tone perfectly for the subject matter to be discussed.
From side hustles, to agents, auditions, advice from industry experts like Casting Directors Kharmel Cochrane and Annelie Powell that provide insight into 'the other side' and even a nod to Captain Sir Tom god rest his soul, this podcast will reassure you that if you're not choosing your outfit for next year's Oscars yet, you're certainly not alone. The podcast also follows the personal journeys of Alexa & Katie over the years of recording it, including dark times and dream jobs, which leaves you wanting the very best for both of them.
Jocelyne O’Toole is a writer, actor and comedian living in Brooklyn, NY. She had the pleasure of working on Marc Raymond Wilkins first feature film, The Saint of the Impossible. Throughout the pandemic, she has found new love in dance cardio. She’s a contributing writer at Thrillist.