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John Legend once said, “Experience is a great teacher.” After all, with experience comes increased wisdom and a clearer perspective. With that in mind, here are 10 acting tips from several established actors who were asked, “What advice would you give new or aspiring actors?” After all the ups and downs of their careers, here are their responses:


Will Smith 

“You have to clear your own personal blocks. You have to be able to be vulnerable in front of anybody. You have to be comfortable looking silly, you have to be comfortable making mistakes, and you have to break the thing inside of you that doesn’t want people to see, right? Because as soon as you allow people to see, all of a sudden you get access to things that you didn’t realize you have access to.”


Tom Hanks

“Act wherever you can … If you are in a circumstance where no one is paying you or offering you the chance to perform, make it yourself. You can make a theater in an empty gas station or the basement of a church. You can go off and find a place to perform. There’s this tendency to think, ‘I’d like to be an actor. How do I get the chance to act?’ If no one’s asking you, create it yourself. And never ever ever turn down the opportunity to go somewhere and perform.”



“You have to focus on what makes you happy and make decisions in your career and in your life that make you happy. Say no to things that are negative. Say no to things you don’t want to do.”


Bryan Cranston

“Know what your job is. About 18 years ago, I had this cognition that I realized that I was going into auditions trying to get a job … And that wasn’t what I’m supposed to be doing. An actor is supposed to create a compelling, interesting character that serves the text, you present it in the environment where your audition happens, then you walk away. And that’s it. Everything else is out of your control, so don’t focus on that.”


Denzel Washington

“Dreams without goals are just dreams. And they ultimately fuel disappointment. Goals are on the road to achievement [and] cannot be achieved without discipline and consistency.”


Millie Bobby Brown

“It has to come from within, it has to be real, it has to be authentic. As long as you have those three main factors, you’re going to find the passion. And nothing is ridiculous nowadays. You can actually be anything that you like, and everyone accepts who you are.”


Vivica A. Fox

“My advice to any young actress starting out? Well to become a triple threat. To be able to sing, dance, act because you never know what the role may call for, you know what I mean? You may have to do action, you may have to sing, you may have to dance—you never know. And just be true to yourself. Do things that make you happy. Don’t force things. If it doesn’t feel like it’s a good fit for you, don’t force it and don’t do it.”


Harrison Ford

“The only advice I’ve ever offered young actors is to try and figure out how to do it for yourself. Never be caught with the idea that you can imitate someone else’s success. As much as you might admire what someone else does, don’t try and imitate that. Find your own way. Find your own voice. Find your own feelings. And that will give you a unique opportunity.”


Henry Winkler

“If someone is sitting at home and thinking about being an actor, I would be honest about my ability, I would train my ability, I would make sure that I have worked on my tenacity and my gratitude because, I’ve said this before, tenacity gets you where you want to go; gratitude doesn’t allow you to be angry on the journey. And then when the time is right, I would get up and grab life by the horns.”


Christopher Plummer

“Go do plays. Go to the theater. You can make money but always go back to the theater where you can learn your craft. [What] you learn there is just as important for the camera as the theater. It gives you such confidence, because if you can play and be heard in front of a live audience, then there’s nothing to scare you in front of a camera. So do that because then it will change your whole body. It’s not just looking at you in a close-up, it’s your whole body and your whole voice and your projection.”


Alan Rickman

“Forget about acting … because whatever you do as an actor is cumulative. So I say go to art galleries, listen to music, know what’s happening on the news, in the world, and form opinions. Develop your taste in judgment so that when a quality piece of writing is put in front of you, your imagination which you’ve nurtured has something to bounce off of. And then you have to start learning about courage. You have to be courageous with yourself on stage emotionally.”