Author: Michael Moreno 

Creator and host – Actor CEO Podcast 

It’s a truly special thing to be in training as an actor. Whether you’re in a high school program, college or beyond, that growth and incubation period is important for developing your craft. 

But then you graduate…and immediately become a business. That’s right, you become a creative entrepreneur, the CEO of YOU – THE ACTOR, and your success over the years is based very much on you operating from that perspective. You are in charge of the marketing, pitching, relationship building, improvement and direction of your business from day one! And it’s hard to get that education in school. 

This education is where The Actor CEO Podcast comes in. With over 150 episodes with industry pros reaching 14K followers around the world, the podcast and ActorCEO.com are focused on helping actors treat their career like a business. It’s what has kept us rated as a Top Podcast for Actors by both Backstage and Casting Networks and has allowed me, Mike Moreno, to host the show, write articles for Backstage and Stage Milk, coach actors and bring these teachings to schools and programs around the country. 

One program I teach (now virtually) to college and university acting classes is called Actor to Actor CEO: 5 Keys to Building Your Acting Business. The 5 keys I think every actor must master to create a sustainable creative life (even in a pandemic) are:

  1. Know what you’re great at right now.

  2. Find your audience.

  3. Never be afraid to pitch yourself.

  4. Master your messaging.

  5. Build relationships.

I’ll dive into two of these keys, Know what you’re great at right now and Never be afraid to pitch yourself, in detail here. If you want more details and discussion on these 5 keys please feel free to reach out so we can share this program with your school or actor training program.

Know what you’re great at right now: Don’t be that actor who says “I can do everything.” It’s bad for business. It may be true, but you should find what one or two things you can do best right now and focus on them to build some momentum and foundational relationships with the people you want to work with.  The 80/20 rule works well here. Most likely, when you really think about all the roles you’ve been cast in or found that they came easy to you, there are probably about 20% of your roles that lead to 80% of your bookings, castings, rave reviews, and best results. That’s a profitable ratio and it makes things easier for you. You’re not wasting your time stressing over an audition, job, training, or trend that falls outside that 20% of roles that you can NAIL 80% of the time. You literally stop engaging, looking at or submitting for that work. It’s outside of your focus. You instead spend a year or two focusing and improving that 20% gold mine.

Never be afraid to pitch yourself: Knowing exactly who you are, what you do, and having a succinct way of telling someone can open incredible opportunities. What is your elevator pitch? How can you answer the question of, “So what do you do?” with “I’m a (sarcastic best friend with biting wit and a heart of gold) who (stands her ground and always brings her best).  You can see how that immediately allows someone to know who you are and what you do best. Now they know how you can help them in the future and it took you six seconds to make that impact. 

Quick story – Elizabeth Maxwell is an actor I had on the podcast, and she started out as an actor in LA then moved to Austin and things were moving slowly, she felt, in her acting career. She started to get interested in voice over, made her own VO demo in her closet from scratch by researching the VO demos of other working actresses and recording stuff she thought worked for her, THEN she also went to animation conventions to meet the people who were creating the work she wanted to be a part of. She did meet some people, got connected, got some contact info to follow up and she did. FOR MONTHS. “Professional persistence.” And one of those contacts finally had the time and space to get her in on an audition for an upcoming project that she booked and that started her journey into the world of voice over which she has been doing consistently for the last 10 years, because she pitched what she did best – non stop.

No matter what happens in our industry (recession, pandemic, changing trends) the fundamental fact that YOU are the chief creative decision maker and do not have to wait for permission, acceptance or validation from another to push your career forward will remain true. In fact, with more content out there than ever before and more platforms making it accessible directly to the audiences who want to see it, there is less preventing you from reaching those goals than in our entire artistic history.  

So empower yourself to own your space, your voice and take action every day that builds your business and pushes your dreams forward. 

About The Author

Michael runs The Actor CEO Podcast + ActorCEO.com (a Top Rated Podcast for Actors by both Backstage and Casting Networks), connecting thousands of actors around the globe to industry pros, tools, and resources to help them treat their career like a business filling the gap between training and building a sustainable creative life. Michael empowers modern artists by contributing content to multiple online outlets, teaching industry business and marketing classes in drama schools around the country and coaches creative professionals.