Why Actors Need to Make Their Own Stuff
Updated: May 4, 2020
Actors - you’ve probably heard you need to make your own stuff. Sorry, I don’t like the word content. But you probably aren’t sure you want to, and even if you did, you’re not sure you’d know how to do it. I mean, what you want to do is act, not write, produce, direct, operate a camera, light a scene, edit, or etc.
Here’s the thing: unless you’re so busy acting that you honestly don’t have time to make your own stuff, all those people telling you to do so are right. Even if you are too busy. Most of you probably spend the bulk of your time honing your acting skills, hustling to get work, managing the business side, getting out and networking, and putting in your time on something that pays the bills. What if I told you that making your stuff could support you in all those efforts and maybe even replace them?
How does making your own work cover all these bases?
Instead of paying money for acting class, you’ll be on set, working on material that is custom made for you, growing as an actor.
No more waiting by the phone or harassing your manager. You’re working. No one else needs to hire you if you’ve hired yourself.
What better way to meet new people than to put together a team of collaborators all interested in creating and moving forward together?
You spend the bulk of your time as an actor not acting anyway, but instead doing other things that support your acting. Creating your own work is one of the greatest ways to do that. Whether you write your own material or collaborate with someone else who does, you will learn more about story.
When you are in any way involved in producing your own material, you will better understand what it takes to make something and how to be a valuable asset to someone else’s project.
Directing or closely watching someone else direct your project will train you to be a better collaborator with your next director.
Sit on the other side of the casting table and you’ll see that it’s not always the “best” actor who wins the role.
Understand what it takes to operate a camera, how lenses work, what camera movement means to storytelling, and you’ll learn how to better use that frame.
Help light a set and then maybe waiting for the crew to re-set for your next take won’t bother you as much.
Want more screen time? Working with an editor will open your eyes to what works and what gets cut.
There is not one aspect of creating your own material that won’t help you grow as an actor.
It can’t be overstated how powerful it can be to make your own stuff. You’ll not only be learning and growing as an actor, making new connections in the industry, but also empowering yourself.