Andy Nyman: How to survive as an actor

Features | 14 Sep 2017

Andy Nyman: How to survive as an actor

In our new extract from Andy Nyman's must-read book The Golden Rules of Acting , he shares his top tips for surviving in the industry

1. Be nice to work with - the first thing an interested employer will do is look at your CV, call someone who has worked with you and ask, 'What's he/she like?'

2. Actors are not 'special people'. You are no more important than anyone else at the theatre or on set. It may sound obvious, but it's staggering how many actors behave like they are above everyone else.

3. Whenever you book a holiday, you are guaranteed to get a job that clashes with it. Want a job? Book a holiday.

4. Whenever you get two jobs that clash - try to do the best role over the one that pays best.

5. Never harmonise when singing 'Happy Birthday'... This has nothing to do with work, it's just all actors do it and it's bloody annoying.

6. You can always act faster than you think you can. Prove it, do a 'speed run' of a scene or speech and see if it isn't better.

7. 'It's not what you know, it's who you know.' This is a myth, do no believe it, do not use it as an excuse for not succeeding. Nepotism may get you one chance, but a career is not built on networking and schmoozing - it is built on one thing... how good you are at your job.

8. Don't say 'I'm nervous', say 'I'm excited'. Try it, you'll be amazed how effectively it gets rid of your nerves.

9. Everybody hates read-throughs. Most actors in the room will be looking around thinking that they are the worst actor in the room.

10. Do not spend the last third of an acting job worrying about where the next job is coming from or what auditions the rest of the cast are getting. Savour every moment of every job, you don't know how long it will be until the next one comes along.

11. No matter how bad a job is, there is always something good to enjoy. Search for it, find it and spread it. Remember, feeling good is infectious.

12. 'It should have been me!' Never get bitter and hate other people for the jobs you didn't get. It's poison to think like that and it will destroy you.

13. Watching yourself in a film or on TV is horrible - you will think your voice sounds horrible and you look awful. Trust me, it doesn't and you don't.

14. Teach yourself to enjoy and replay positive memories, especially just before going to sleep. They will make you feel good and it makes more sense than replaying bad ones, which just make you feel miserable.

15. Be Happy. You'll work more.

For more great tips, buy The Golden Rules of Acting, available in the Curtain Call shop for only £4.99.  

Other articles you might like:

How to survive as an actor

Top tips for first read-throughs

Top tips for learning lines

The golden rules of auditions

Top tips for resting actors

10 best Shakespeare monologues

Top tips for Actors on Social Media

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Image: Andy Nyman in his dressing room during Assasins at the Menier Chocolate Factory, © Matt Humphrey

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