Trust me when I say that being a good person with good manners is just as important in the pursuit of your career as being a good actor is. Follow these tips for behaving appropriately amongst other actors.
1. Always come to rehearsal or set prepared and ready to work.
It goes without saying that you should be prepared to do your job. You need to come to set with ideas about your character, your lines memorized (by the required time), and a full understanding of the storyline. Sure there may be a few holes that may not get filled until things start to come together, but you should have a very good outline in your head of exactly what is going to take place. If you show up unprepared, you are letting your fellow actors down. If the other actors have shown up ready to work and you haven’t, then everyone else has to wait for you to get up to speed. This can slow down or even halt production and it’s unfair and incredibly inconsiderate to everyone else involved. You need to be responsible for the role you are playing and that means fleshing it all out ahead of time. So take the time to properly prepare so that no one else’s time is wasted.
2. Show up with a good attitude and a can do spirit.
You should always try to show up with a positive mental outlook and a willingness to work towards a common goal. Now don’t get me wrong we all lead imperfect lives where things go wrong and we have bad days. And sometimes it just isn’t possible to be Suzy Sunshine, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least try. Whether it’s being overly negative about your own work, someone else’s work, or just life’s mishaps, nothing can tank a production faster than having a team member who constantly brings negativity into the workplace. Coming in with a bad attitude can bring everyone else around you down and that will show in the work you’re all trying to accomplish together. So if you’re having a bad day or you’re just generally a moody person, check yourself before showing up on-set. A bad day here and there can be forgiven, but anything more than that and you run the risk of being known as a Negative Nelly.
3. Be friendly, kind, and inclusive.
People are people and we’re all different. Despite our differences, we all have the ability to be kind to one another. Greet everyone each day, make a reasonably good effort to be kind, and try your best to include each of your cast mates in the process. This will go a long way towards establishing good will amongst you all. We may not always like everyone we’re working with, but that isn’t an excuse to treat anyone poorly. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you should try to make friends with every single person you work with. In fact, I think that’s a horrible idea. You should only be friends with the people that you want to be friends with. However, there is such a thing as common courtesy and just because you don’t like someone doesn’t mean you should be disrespectful or rude to them. I can’t think of a single person who is all good or all bad, so instead of focusing on another person’s negative attributes, try focusing on their good ones. You don’t have to all wind up as friends in the end, but you should at least be capable of parting cordially. And who knows when you may have to work together again? You don’t want that uncomfortableness hanging over your head.
4. Cheer on your team.
You should always highlight the things that your cast mates are doing well. Praise them when they deserve it! After all, you’re a team and you want to make something amazing right? Celebrating your cast mates’ contributions helps to foster trust and a team spirit. Casts who share these positive feelings with one another are practically unstoppable. Not only should you cheer for the folks on your team when things go well, but you should keep it to yourself when things aren’t going so well. It’s hard not to judge other actors, in fact it’s often encouraged and helps us to become better actors ourselves. But it is not your place to openly judge another actor or their performance. This is the director’s job. So don’t correct another cast mate if you think they are doing something poorly. It’s not your place and it breeds distrust and animosity.
5. Bring the drama when it counts.
Drama is great, it’s amazing and wonderful as long as it’s not over-the-top. We need it and thrive on it on the stage, the screen, or over a microphone. So be present in your work and bring your best self to play with the other actors. If everyone is working at their best and highest intensity, it’s brings a contagion and joy to your work that is unmatched by any other feeling in this world. Remember though that drama belongs on the stage or screen. Don’t bring that same intensity into the relationships you have backstage. While backstabbing, false friendships, and catty behavior on stage can make for an amazing show, participating in any of these behaviors behind the curtain can derail everyone and make for a miserable experience.
So remember that your manners matter. Having good ones can open doors for you that will lead to a much more fulfilling life and career. Pull up these 5 tips the next time you’re on-set to ensure that your manners are working for you, rather than against you.
Next Week: Acting Appropriately After the Audition