Are You Too Old To Become An Actor? 5 Best Tips To Chase Your Acting Dreams
Do you have the acting bug, but feel that you may be past your prime to chase your dream of becoming an actor? I recently had my 50h birthday and thought to myself about pursuing acting as a profession, and the first question that popped into my head was, “Am I too old to become an Actor?”
The first thing I did at my birthday party, I asked my filmmaking friends if it was possible to become a full-time actor at my age. The responses were mixed. Some of them felt that I should stick to behind the camera work and leave acting to the generation younger than me, while others I asked told me that if you love the craft, anything is possible.
I decided the next day to start researching the possibility of becoming an actor at my age and seeing if it is achievable or just a pipe dream.
What I came up with during my research was an eye-opener. Am I too old to become an Actor? No, not at all. Will it be easy? No, it won’t. But if you love the craft, you put the effort in, then it’s very much achievable.
If you are an actor that feels that your time has passed, I hope that this article will put you in the right direction and change your mind that anything is possible.
Are You Too Old To Become An Actor? 5 Best Tips To Chase Your Acting Dreams
Are You Too Old To Become An Actor?
If you are asking yourself “Am I too old to become an actor”, the answer is no, you are never too old to act or even start your acting career at any age.
The great thing about starting an acting career at a later stage in life is you have plenty of advantages compared to those starting in their 20s. Here are just a few examples of the advantages a mature actor can have in their acting toolkit:
- Focus: Ability to stay focused on becoming an actor and not being distracted by multiple things.
- Experience: You will have much more life experience that you can lean on and draw from to create realistic performances.
- Life skills: You can use the life skills you have acquired and utilize them in your acting or add them to your acting resume, you never know when these skills may be called upon!
- Financial stability: When starting acting later in life, hopefully, you have had another career before this and have some money saved up. This way you won’t rely on this being your main income stream for a while. If you don’t have savings built up, at least you have a career behind you that can support you through evening film and acting school.
Related Article: Top 7+ Best Online Acting Classes, Courses + Training
What skills do I need as an actor to succeed?
Are You Too Old To Become An Actor? As a part-time filmmaker, I get this question a lot from aspiring actors I bumped into on a film set or during an audition call, and while the answer is very subjective to each person, there are a few core skills and qualities that will help you achieve notoriety in the industry.
“There are no quick wins in business – it takes years to become an overnight success.” — Richard Branson
When it comes to success, it does take a bit of time to succeed, and being patient is an essential skill to have in order for you to succeed.
The best way to be patient is to continually learn and develop your acting skills and look back at the small improvements you make. Create a journal and markdown your ups and downs during your journey because it helps you appreciate your talent and show how far you’ve come.
“Follow your passion. The rest will attend to itself. If I can do it, anybody can do it. It’s possible. And it’s your turn. So go for it. It’s never too late to become what you always wanted to be in the first place.” — J. Michael Straczynski.
Motivation is an important skill to have to become a successful actor, especially when hit a low point in your acting career and feel demoralized.
In my blog post, 7 Best Ways to Ignite Your Motivation When Things Are Tough, there are plenty of strategies to help you get through the tough times, but the key is to constantly celebrate the small successes and create small achievable goals that add up to reaching your main goal.
This will help you self-praise and feel that you are moving forward, this will give you the right motivation and energy to constantly improve and apply yourself.
“No matter how good you get you can always get better, and that’s the exciting part.” — Tiger Woods
The key to success is to always look for that opportunity to learn. If you look at the top actors today, they are always learning and improving their craft because if they don’t, someone else will find a way to take their spot.
Just like in sports, you need to find ways to flex those acting muscles every day. Carve out some time, even if it’s for ten minutes at the start of the day, do something to flex those acting muscles.
It could be just reciting some lines in front of a mirror, reading an acting book on your commute, consider taking some online acting classes, or try some improv classes to sharpen your skills, just keep practicing.
Make sure you are looking to learn something new daily and practice what you currently know now, training will allow you to perform much more free-minded in auditions and acting class.
“I’ve learned it’s important not to limit yourself. You can do whatever you really love to do, no matter what it is” —Ryan Gosling.
Just because your agent isn’t calling you for some casting calls, doesn’t mean that you should stop being creative.
Create a YouTube channel, create your own sketches, write a short film.
Always look for ways to create your new material, because you never know that a video you post on YouTube or TikTok could be the next viral sensation and people start calling.
You never know where your content will take you, all you need is some ideas, some camera gear, and just start playing.
Have A Source Of Income You Can Rely On
“Don’t be afraid to fail. It’s not the end of the world, and in many ways, it’s the first step toward learning something and getting better at it.” —Jon Hamm
Filmmaking is an expensive hobby. While I understand that many actors will want to devote all their time and effort to pursue their acting dream, there will be times in which it doesn’t pay the rent, and having some money on the side helps with your goals.
When you don’t have to worry about money coming in, you can really excel as a working actor. Because, once you have money (that is, some EXTRA money, after living costs), you can start getting the money to work for you. When it comes to acting, this means living quite frugally but having a backup source of income so you can still attend auditions, but still be able to pay rent.
Then when you do hit that point where you are making a living wage as an actor, you can leave your backup job behind you as you become a respected actor in the industry.
Related Article: Best Acting Books: 10 Recommended Books All Actors MUST Read
Actors Who Became Famous After 40
Are You Too Old To Become An Actor? Looking for inspiration, and seeing examples of some great success stories about actors who achieved fame later on in life? There are many famous actors that we recognize today that we don’t realize started their acting career later in life.
Actors like Steve Carell, Viola Davis, and Samuel L. Jackson pounded away at their craft for what probably felt like a lifetime before striking it big, but it only takes that one opportunity to get the big break you are looking for. So, to inspire you to never give up on your dreams, here are just a few A-list celebrities who didn’t get famous until after 40.
Larry David got his start as a writer for Saturday Night Live when he was in his late 30s, but he wasn’t exactly successful. As he told Vanity Fair, “The sketches would get cut. I only had one sketch on the entire year.” Then, when he turned 42, he co-created Seinfeld, and the rest is TV sitcom history.
Samuel L. Jackson
Samuel L. Jackson is a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Star Wars franchise, and is a favorite of Quentin Tarantino, so you might think that he’s been a silver screen mainstay since, well, forever. But Jackson didn’t score his first big role, in Jungle Fever (1991), until he was 43. And he didn’t secure his most famous role, as Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction(1994), until he turned 46.
You likely know the explosively hilarious Melissa McCarthy from films like Identify Thief, The Heat, and Spy. (And, if you’re a super-fan, you know she had a longtime role on Gilmore Girls.) But it was 2011’s Bridesmaids that really catapulted McCarthy to the star level she is today, and she was 41 when it hit screens.
The late, great Alan Rickman made a name for himself playing infamous villains (Die Hard, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves), beloved conflicted heroes (the Harry Potter series), and plain old jerks (Love Actually). But before Rickman made it big on-screen, he was a graphic designer. His first cinematic win—as Hans Gruber, in Die Hard—didn’t occur until he was 42.
Yes, it feels like Betty White started to bless the world with her comedic chops since before any of us can remember. But the queen of TV didn’t get started until she was in her 40s. Before she was on Golden Girls, White earned an Emmy at the age of 53 for her performance as Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
Related Article: Essential Guide To Nailing Auditions – 7 Best Steps For Actors
Are You Too Old To Become An Actor? How do you define your success? Do you want to be a successful actor that’s consistently trending on Instagram or always on the cover of a magazine? Or do you define success as having a major role in a short film production, or winning an awards competition at a local film festival?
The key to being successful at any age as an actor is to always celebrate the small successes along the way, as this will motivate you and push you to become an actor you always wanted to be.
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About the author: Trent (IMDB | Youtube) has spent 10+ years working on an assortment of film and television projects. He writes about his experiences to help (and amuse) others. If he’s not working, he’s either traveling, reading or writing about travel/film, or planning travel/film projects.