5 Ways to Stay Sharp as an Actor When There's 'No Work'

5 Ways to Stay Sharp as an Actor When There’s ‘No Work’

Written by on | The Acting Lifestyle

While the pandemic may halt productions, it doesn’t have to quiet your creative spirit. In fact, whenever there’s an acting dry spell, it’s important to remember that we each have the power to create opportunities for ourselves.

From forming an artists circle to honing your craft in classes, here are five ways you can stay sharp as an actor when there doesn’t seem to be any work.

#1 Find your tribe and create

Humans need other humans. At our primal core, having a sense of community is vital for not only a fulfilling artist’s journey but a healthy life. Seek out a tribe of fellow creatives – actors, of course, but also directors, writers, singers etc. Find as many kindred souls as you can and support each other through collaboration.

Host weekly play readings on zoom (or outdoors if you’re comfortable) of not only established shows but new work from a writer friend. The actors get to act, directors direct, the writer can see their work performed and so on. An artistic tribe is a great hub for supporting one another!

#2 Create your own work

What if I told you that you were free to create whatever you wanted, however you wanted, whenever you wanted. Guess what? You sort of are. Of course, we don’t all have Netflix budgets or resources, but within the confines of your home, you can create something that showcases you. 

Pour creativity over your dry spells until they don’t feel dry. Write and produce a short film. Work on a scene from your dream show. Film a scene from a movie or television show that you always identified with. There are countless ways to not only flex your muscles but build content you’re proud to show casting directors when there is work!

Read: How to make your own work

#3 Reading party

Sometimes we take for granted the glittering ability of reading. Not only does it inspire us and take us to new worlds, but it’s really the first step for any production, right? You read the script. Read as much as you can to keep your brain sharp. Read classic plays, acclaimed screenplays, and your dream shows, so when the time comes you’re ready. The more you read, the more your reading speed will increase, which will definitely come in handy during busy audition seasons and cold reads.

#4 Don’t cringe – binge!

Entertainment is the honey that soothes our soul. The very thing that can cause us heartache is also our remedy. Watch as many television shows and movies as you can to remind you why you’re doing what you do and also keep you up to date on the industry. A good way to start is by focusing on content filmed in the area you’re located in, a.k.a. would be able to easily audition for as a local. You can also try choosing the catalogue of a performer who plays parts you think you could. We’re lucky that the “actor’s homework” is so fun!

Read more: 50 Best Female Performances of the Decade
Read more: 50 Best Male Performances of the Decade

#5 Virtual classes

When in doubt, pick a class out! Never-ending curiosity and yearning for knowledge are constant actor itches that must be scratched. Whether you’re forced to shelter in place, or just feeling a little lost, taking a class is a wonderful solution. We live in a time where you can find virtual lessons on any topic from incredible schools. Check-in on your techniques or learn a new skill to add to your actor’s toolkit! Time spent learning is never time wasted. StageMilk even has online training options, you can check them out here


Whilst yes, times are bleak, it’s important to remember that there are still elements of your life that you can control, and your creativity is one of them! You can choose to stay down in the dumps and twiddle your thumbs til it’s over, OR you can get up and reinvigorate your acting career!

About the Author

Robert Peterpaul

A writer and actor, who can be seen in James Franco’s film “King Cobra,” T-Mobile ad campaigns, and Amazon Prime's “New Dogs, Old Tricks.” Other career highlights include: working on NBC’s “Access Hollywood” and “America’s Got Talent,” “BUILD Series,” writing for the Huffington Post, and his family’s nonprofit the Thomas Peterpaul Foundation, which aims to end pediatric cancer.

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