8 Bad Habits Actors Must Quit to Achieve Acting Success

Bad habits actors must quit? Why?

Actors are often inundated with advice, both good and bad. Yet, there is one piece of advice that sticks out above all the rest. It’s something we hear time and time again from directors, casting agents, other actors and even ourselves; you must break bad habits to succeed in this business. 

As I learned the hard way, it only takes one habit to keep you from getting discovered by a director or casting agent. If you want to achieve success in acting, there are a few things you need to stop doing right now. 

The odd thing I’ve learned from Hollywood and working here all these years is that people fall into ruts. What I hear in an audition room waiting for my turn would never be acceptable discussions working at regular jobs.

And some actors I know are so lazy and unprofessional that they don’t even realize they are hurting their chances. Bad habits actors have are picked up and then repeated sometimes.

In my case, I started ditching the bad habits and talking trash and things changed for me. I noticed a change in less than a month’s time. I got commercials, was on a few guest spots for TV shows and even a small (one line) part on a movie. Networking was a major difference that I noticed almost immediately. People were interested in talking with me, exchanging details and finding out more about my passions in acting.

Bad Habits Actors Need to Drop

That’s why I decided to look over myself and be the best actor I can be. You should too. If you have any of these bad habits, you should be concerned. Immediately acknowledge and change your bad habits actors should never have. This is my list of 8 bad habits actors must quit:

  1. Don’t be unprofessional
  2. Don’t be late
  3. Don’t rely solely on your agent to find work for you
  4. Don’t consistently be in a state of self pity and complaining
  5. Don’t put in the time
  6. Don’t be Lazy
  7. Don’t have unrealistic expectations
  8. You refuse to grow as you learn

As you can see from the list above, one of these items is annoying. More? Oh goodness! That would be too much. If you have bad habits actors can spot them so quickly. And that’s not a good thing!

Bad habits actors lose out on roles.

1. Don’t be unprofessional.

Being unprofessional can be defined as treating this business as though you are a hobbyist, hobbyist. You’re not a hobbyist, hobbyist. You’re a professional. So act like one. 

Actors who are unprofessional are notorious for doing things like not being prepared, showing up late to rehearsals and auditions, bad-mouthing directors, having a bad attitude towards a script, and refusing to network with others in the business. Refusing to go out and meeting people to network for the future, especially if you just moved to Los Angeles or New York City.

Do you see yourself doing any of this? If so, then you need to change your ways.. You won’t be able to find any auditions, let alone get hired for any acting jobs.

2. Don’t be late.

Being late is the one habit that guarantees your acting career will come to a halt before it ever has the chance to get started. It is unprofessional, rude, and shows a total lack of respect for the director, casting director and fellow actors. 

As an actor, you need to be the first person to arrive at the audition, rehearsal, or acting class. It is your job to be prepared and arrive early so you can make yourself comfortable, get a coffee or water, and read the script so you are prepared and have time to go over your lines. 

If you are late to any of these, you can be sure that you will be first on the director’s list to be cut from the film or TV show. You can’t rely on excuses like, “The alarm didn’t go off,” or “The traffic was insane today.” If you want to be a successful actor, you must never late.

3. Don’t rely solely on your agent to find work for you.

You can’t expect your agent to book you every single audition or be your go-to guy when it comes to casting directors and directors. You need to get out there yourself and start networking. 

If you want to be successful, you need to make sure you are the one booking work when you have none. You need to be knocking on doors and contacting directors and casting directors yourself. If you rely solely on your agent, you will be sitting on the couch while everyone else is out there working.

4. Don’t constantly be in a state of self-pity and complaining.

The entertainment business is not easy. It is incredibly difficult to succeed. If it were easy, there would be no actors. What this means is that if you want to be successful actors in this business, you do the work. The most annoying bad habits actors have is griping about their situation.

You have to be prepared to push yourself, take risks, and do things that no one else is willing to do. You need to stop complaining about how unfair the business is, how you don’t understand why directors are hiring other actors and not you, and how you don’t understand why casting directors are snubbing you. And start making things.

5. Don’t Put in the Time

Learning your lines is part of the job. In fact it is 90% of the job. The reason you learn your lines first and then go is so you can recite the scene naturally. The director will change things at an audition or even during a scene, but you need to respond like the script suggests. 

Be flexible, be open to direction and let the director lead you. If you don’t learn your lines, you will have a much harder time changing your blocking when the director asks you to or change emphasis when you need to showcase another action. If you have your lines down, you will be at a much more relaxed and comfortable pace.

6. Don’t be lazy

The one thing that all successful actors have in common is that they are go-getters. You have have a lazy streak, you might find that you have one of the four traits to avoid work at all costs. Positive people don’t sit around waiting for their agent to call them, waiting for a casting director to call them and book them an audition, or waiting for a director to call and offer them a role. 

They get out there, grab the bull by the horns, and make things happen for themselves. They are constantly networking, constantly meeting new people, constantly contacting casting directors, directors and producers, and constantly doing whatever it takes to get their name and face out there.

7. Don’t have unrealistic expectations

If you have an audition, you need to be there on time, prepared, and ready to go. You also need to be ready to work under any circumstances. You need to be prepared to do your best under any given situation. And you need to attend every audition with all the tips and tools to make it your best.

If you have certain expectations, like wanting to be paid a lot of money or wanting certain conditions, be prepared for the director or producer to tell you that you are unbookable. 

8. You refuse to grow as you learn

Once you’ve learned a skill or a technique, you should never stop learning. If you’re a method actor who refuses to change and grow as you learn, you’re going to get stuck playing the same type of character for the rest of your career.

There isn’t a single actor in Hollywood who hasn’t changed and grown over the course of their career. You need to have the willpower to look at the bad habits actors have in character roles and change to be different.


Breaking bad habits actors have is an important part of succeeding in this business. But if you want to achieve ultimate success in your career as an actor, you need to break ultimate bad habits actors have: not believing in yourself. You have to believe you can be part of the entertainment business and nobody is stopping you from being an actor.

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