“Marketability” is a word that comes up often in my work as a career coach. This is due to the two-faced nature of the life of a professional actor. Yes, we are artists. But because we seek to ply our craft in other people’s projects, we also have to be business people. If you’re marketing plan is to shell out a few hundred dollars on a picture and tell anyone that will listen that you’re a really good actor, well, you might as well save your money and your breath. That’s no more a good marketing strategy than buying lottery tickets is a good investment plan.
Being business savvy is therefore clearly important. Part of that savvy is recognizing and developing your own potential. Which actor is more marketable:
Actor A has excellent presence in contemporary work, especially for film and television.
Actor B is a triple-threat. She can act, sing and dance. She’s equally at home in Shakespeare or primetime drama, on a stage or in front of a camera.
They’re both really good actors, but Actor B can successfully work in many, many more mediums and formats than Actor A. She will therefore get more auditions, and if she’s as good as she’s supposed to be, that means she’ll work all the time.
What undeveloped potential resides in you? Could you book classical work if you just bothered to spend a few months in an outstanding Shakespeare class? Would musical theatre doors open for you if you invested in a year of vocal coaching?
Working sometimes is great. Working all the time is even better. But nobody’s going to hand it to you on a silver platter– if you want it, you have to go out and get it!