Pursuing a career in entertainment can be one of the most exciting paths many people can think to take. However, they don’t exactly teach you how to become a famous film or TV actor in school. Every year, droves of Hollywood hopefuls move to new cities like LA and NYC in search of fame and fortune, but as industry insider Jason Abrams well knows, it can be easy to get lost without any guidance. That’s where he hopes to make a difference.
Jason Abrams is an up-and-coming actor and producer with several impressive credits to his name. After appearing in small roles in productions like The Sopranos, Mad Men, and The War of the Worlds (2007), Abrams took the next step in his career when he produced and acted in the 2019 film Night Sweats. With his eye on several other exciting projects in the industry, Abrams hopes to leave behind a little wisdom for the aspiring actors and entertainers that wish to follow in his footsteps.
Practice, Practice, Practice
For aspiring actors with nervous dispositions, practice is perhaps the best thing you can do for yourself. The better prepared you are for an audition, casting call, table read, or first day on set, the less anxious you’ll feel. “This works nearly 100% of the time,” Abrams claims. “Knowing your lines and blocking like the back of your hand may not make you the most confident person in the world, but will always help to dispel your doubts and calm your nerves.”
Expand Your Skills
Having a diverse array of skills can help to increase your marketability as an actor, open the door to new opportunities, and reveal new passions and talents you may not have known about.
“Even if you don’t end up using all of the skills you learn, the worst that can happen is that you’ll have fun learning a few new skills,” says Abrams.
Whether it be acting classes, movement/physicality classes, accent coaches, stage combat training, improve workshops, vocal training, dance training, or even boat driving courses, these can be fun and valuable ways to add to your skillset.
Maintain a Level of Human Connection
This is more important than most people realize. Isolation can have profound psychological and emotional impacts on the mind. Moving away from your friends and family to pursue a career in the industry can be an exciting time, but don’t underestimate the impact of loneliness. Take the time to meet people, strike up conversations with like-minded individuals, make friends, and go to events and gatherings.
One of the most important things you can do, as Abrams has learned, is to keep in touch with your family and friends. “Take care never to sever those crucial lines of connection,” he advises. “It may be difficult to see in times of stress or conflict, but no matter how your career shakes out, you’ll want your relationships intact on the other side.”
Never Stop Pursuing Your Dreams
When opportunities in mainstream film and TV are scarce, it’s important not to let yourself get discouraged. One way to keep your hope and passion for your craft alive is to find other opportunities to practice it. Even smaller-scale opportunities can give you valuable experience, teach you new skills, and invigorate your love for the craft.
As Abrams notes, there are plenty of opportunities for actors to practice their craft outside of mainstream Hollywood filmmaking. Finding roles in short films, community theater, local commercials, or as an extra in any number of productions can expand the scope of your work opportunities and allow you to act in a professional (or semi-professional) setting.
However you decide to do so, never lose sight of your goals. In Abrams’ words, “The important thing is that you never stop refining your craft and pursuing your dreams. It’s far from easy, but if you have the passion and determination, you can make it.”