What makes you a successful actor?

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Photo Credit: Lim Wen Jun via cc
When I say Successful Actor, who first comes to your mind?
If you are anything like me then people like Tom Cruise or Tom Hanks or Meryl Streep or Kate Winslet will spring to mind. If you are trying to be more lovey and artsy than me, then you might say Benedict Cumberbatch, Hattie Monahan, or even Chiwetel Ejiofor. Whoever you choose I am sure you will be thinking about either their salary or their CV.
A successful actor is normally measured first by financial success, by their portfolio, by their fame and fortune. If you are anything like me then firstly we think of success as someone who has been fortunate in business, someone who works a lot, who has made movies, won awards, has a great agent, gets all the jobs, and who supports themselves purely through their acting work.
Hang on though, when it comes to us creative folk surely we can measure success in other ways. Being successful as an actor doesn’t just mean we are famous, or have worked in big movies, or have a big bank balance.
A fringe actor who has brought an audience to tears?
A TIE actor who has opened the eyes of some Year 10s?
A pantomime dame who has the audience howling with laughter?
Are they successful?
Of course they are.
I truly believe that in creativity and acting there is another definition of success and it is one we should all live by: Sustained pride in both your acting work and your choices.
If in your acting career and life you can do work which you yourself are proud of, then that is the life of a successful actor.
Don’t act to please anyone else, act to please you.
Don’t act to get rich, act to act.
Create for the sake of creating.
Act because you have to, because if you didn’t you wouldn’t be complete.
Life would be wonderful if a healthy salary and lifestyle are supported by your acting career but let that be secondary – act to act and then you will be truly successful.
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