Ambition: “I Want This More Than Anyone”

Leeann Dearing

“I want this more than anyone.” More than half of the contestants on reality TV show competitions utter these words—or a variation thereof—on camera. It can’t be true for everyone. And really, it doesn’t need to be true at all.

If you dream of being a successful, working actor, you simply need to want it enough to work your hardest to achieve your goal. Regardless of what profession you choose, there will always be someone out there with more drive, talent, ambition, opportunity, training and experience. Don’t focus on them; focus on you.

What do you need to do to achieve your dreams? What are your strengths? Your weaknesses? What do you need to work on and improve upon? Are you training when you’re not on set or on stage? What do you do daily to work on your craft? Life happens, but you can always do something, whether it is practicing cold reads, working an emotional trigger, reading a classic play, rehearsing your monologues, studying a book by one of the acting-coach greats (Larry MossStella AdlerSanford MeisnerConstantin Stanislavski, etc.)—the possibilities are endless.

You have something to offer the industry that no one else can offer: You. Your personality, style, life experiences, perspective, and ideas are unique to you alone and inform your every performance. Be confident and value your particular gifts.

The more preparation you make, the readier you will be when you meet the next wonderful opportunity. Everyone hears “no.” Everyone hears it over and over. Everyone experiences rejection and failure time and again. Those who make it in the entertainment industry are not impervious to rejection—or its sting; they simply have learned how to glean lessons from it, discard the rest, and try again. And again.

You will not be the perfect fit for every role. You will inevitably botch an audition now and then. You will come up against people whose resumes, attitudes, talent and training intimidate even the best of them. But you want this. Acting gives you joy, purpose, freedom of expression. It excites you, heals you, and gives you a means of moving and inspiring people. There is a place for you in the industry. It’s up to you to claim it.