All actors have to start somewhere. And if you’re just starting to take acting classes or starting to audition for roles, you may feel like it’s going to take forever to make it as an actor.
Fortunately, many of the instructors at Green Shirt Studio faced similar struggles when they were beginning actors, and now are proud to be making a career in acting in Chicago.
So we decided to ask them to share one piece of advice that they wish they had been given when they were starting their acting careers. We hope these inspire you!
- Sommer Austin, co-founder of Green Shirt Studio
Who you are is truly unique. Don’t be afraid to bring your whole self to the work, all the messy and screwed up parts, too. You don’t have to be perfect — there is no such thing. That doesn’t mean don’t work hard. Do the work, but be yourself, not anyone else’s version of you.
- Cordie Nelson, Meisner teacher at Green Shirt Studio
Something happened to me as an artist in high school — I decided that I wasn’t worthy of the things I loved. I told myself that I couldn’t be an actor, and in college I told myself I couldn’t be a director (because I loved it too much). So I’m not sure there was something I could have said to myself back then that would have helped. I wasn’t good at listening to myself. (It’s still a struggle for me). When I found Green Shirt and this community that empowered me and gave me the creative space to rediscover myself as an artist, I was finally able to accept the things I love as possibilities.So maybe I would say to a younger Cordie: “Have patience. You’re going to find your way. Things happen when they’re supposed to. In the meantime, if you can find ways to support and love yourself as a human. It will make you a wonderful artist.”
- Michael McKeogh, scene study instructor at Green Shirt Studio
I wish I had known that there were many things I could do besides wait tables as a side job. I eventually figured it out, but I had it in my head early in my career that restaurants and bars were the only places I could make a buck and find the flexibility and financial freedoms to allow for the artistic lifestyle I would need to be an actor. Now I know that’s just not the case and that many, many jobs provide not only those staples, but also can inspire creativity and foster different types of artistic outlets.
- Jack Schultz, member of the Agency Theater Collective
Don’t be afraid of less than traditional routes of becoming an actor. There is no one way or wrong way to do it — except waiting around hoping for someone to notice that you’re special. The gatekeepers you create are only in your mind. You are the only one in your way!
- Jimmy Carrane, improv instructor at Green Shirt Studio
I wish someone would have said to me, “You are an emotional mess. Get some outside help. Your acting and improv career is not going to fill that whole. Here is the name of a great therapist, oh, and maybe you should look into a couple of 12-step programs for your addictions.” I missed out on a lot of great opportunities because I was pretty screwed up, and if I had been able to learn from those mistakes, I could have had an even bigger career.