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Frustrated and Quitting Acting? 10 Tips for Future and Wealth

Frustrated actor and quitting
Frustrated actor and quitting

Top 10 actresses and actors who achieved stardom and richness. However, they have to slog, face rejections, sarcasm, frustrations and financial instability for periods of 10 to 20 years, barring a few who were sons or daughters or other close relatives of cine world celebrities


10 Tips to Fulfill Dreams to be a Great Actor and Earn Money

A few weeks ago one of my students asked me that she had taken a class, had gone for portfolio, filmed a show-reel cum monologue and now paying a substantial amount for registration to artist coordinators and for promotional website. She further adds that it’s about a year now without and she hasn’t got sufficient acting assignments and money to make a simple living. Career and money management and She wanted to know how actors can prepare a career and  money management plans in today’s difficult economic climate. The best way to do that, is to tie together your economic and career goals.
We all live in times of tremendous economic uncertainties. Gone are the days when a person could work in Govt Services or somewhere else for 50 years and enter retirement with a pension facility and a gold watch. Our business of being an actor has always operated under a system that makes planning even more difficult.

Here’s an example:

Barring few exceptions of payments to top stars,  80% of a movie or TV budget is usually for pre-production, production and post-production, promotion etc. Therefore, logically, writers, studios, production staff, direction dept., related executives and people involved in marketing earn sufficiently well leaving a small amount of actors to earn.

Therefore, unless you make a success within a year and soon become a “Market Actor” with a market value, you may find yourself soon in financial and mental pressures with consequent shattered dreams.
The reality is if the pay scale for actors continues to shrink and that too under increasing cut throat competition, how can an actor hope to set reasonable monetary goals?

Here are my 5 Great Solutions for Career and Money:

  1. Only count and consider on money you actually make, not what you think might happen. For example, if you get cast in a trailer or pilot film or in a commercial ad, don’t assume that it will stay on the TV or air for long and somebody will pick me for a film and my career will start with money flowing in. The only money that is real is the actual money you got paid for that pilot or trailer or ad and though it may help, there is no future guarantee for career or finances.
  2. Make up a reasonable budget for your living expenses and then look at your average income for the last one to two years. If the money you’ve made does not allow you to pay for the basics, how are you going to live?  Actors don’t always like without being in acting job, but the practical truth is you need to make money to support your acting. Some actors try to write scripts or teach in acting classes this may help you, but you can’t live your life on that.
  3. Try some work on the internet-an interesting blog (on actor resources) or try making a short film with your friends with a killer story and promote vigorously on the internet. The costs of such activities are low.
  4. Take up acting/ film/ TV related jobs in different depts. Like AD or start a small acting class and teach.
  5. Start a different kind of business: Study what the trends are. Open a small shop like a photo studio with a simple camera and lights.
  6. Look at things you like to do or are skilled at and put those talents to work: Develop your voice and become a voice over artist, a film or TV, newspaper/ magazine writer or reporter etc., jobs in film distribution companies to name a few options

Ways to Analyze and Plan for Future

Additionally, do a S.W.O.T. (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis for you and prepare “An Action Plan” and linked yearly, monthly, weekly and then daily schedule to meet your one or two careers and financial goals. Chop those years into six-month chunks to evaluate your progress and see if you need to change tactics. Be more concerned about a pattern of movement and progress than the actual achievement of specific things. Keep a record of your progress and how you feel about it.

For example:

6.  If, after one year, you get an actor’s coordinator or an agency and go out on auditions, but apart from three small roles haven’t got a true reasonable break yet. However, don’t take this as a failure. That is progress enough to extend to another year. Sometimes it takes a while for casting directors to get comfortable with an actor and trust his work.
7.  If during the entire second year you get cast total in about 10 roles and maybe even in a small role in big Bollywood banner, this is good progress and you can safely take on another year.
8.  However, if, at the end of two years, you have not gotten any reasonably paid (Rs.1,44,000 in a year) acting work on a TV show, or in a movie or play, put up a red flag. Decide, if it still it your life and living has life and, more importantly, what is the toll it is taking on your sense of dreams and self as a whole?
9.  The third year is a crux year in terms of being honest with you. If there is no forward movement, you need to start looking for alternative acting paths.
10.  If you have been able to manage your “Self” and finances, at the end of the fourth year, ask yourself these questions: Are you a paid, working actor? Can you live on the money you make? Are you enjoying your work you get? Like,Is it enough to play characters who have three lines and no names?
Being honest is not shameful if it gives you a better life. If you chart your career path in coordination with your finances, you will have a clear idea of where you are. You do not want to wake up in 10 years and realize that nothing has changed. You don’t need to give up acting, but find ways to do it in line with a life that is more financially and mentally rewarding. At every step, ask yourself whether your chase is giving enough backing to continue the ride.
It is hard on your mind and psyche to live without knowing  how you will pay your rent and food. Being able to act as an actor is a rare and special gift and there is more than one way (acting) to use that gift. Remain focused on ways and means to earn money so you don’t let your dream to be a “Star” hide and cloud your “reality” and apply breaks to your life!
I know, you are far better than just a dreamer. Source

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  1. Great post! I never thought about these points, had been going downhill and had been thinking to quit acting and my dreams. Once again, thanks, sir. Can I join your coaching course in January?

    1. Thanks and yes, you can contact me for coaching

  2. Sometimes aspiring actors don't have a plan of action. That's why I really like when you mentioned it in the second-to-last paragraph of analyzing your plan of action to gravitate into more serious acting positions. I've been looking into commercial auditions as a start. I wonder how much my experience in college of acting will help me.

  3. Get going with any role that comes your way and give it your best. Don't eye the pay part during the early part of your career, every role you play gets you richer with experience. Being seen on the sets keeps you noticed in the industry and your chances of landing other roles are higher.

    Gayle Dickie

    1. Thanks for your comments. Your advice is relevant.

  4. Dear Sir,Many many thanks for such an informative blog. I recently saw actor Vineet Singh(Ugly,GOW,Bombay Talkies)in an interview, revealing that Doordarshan Serials take 1 week to shoot & u can live 1 month on that, working for your dreams on the remaining 3 weeks. Can we get any details on that?


    1. Sorry, I can't repeat again and again because I have given all answers in this blog in the different posts. Or go to its YouTube channel you have mentioned above or search the Internet


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