Jason Alexander’s Advice to Frustrated Actors

December 6, 2015

Are you one of the many actors who feel frustrated waiting around for someone to give you the chance to perform? If so, Jason Alexander, best known for his role of George Costanza on Seinfeld, has some advice for you.

In this Archive of American Television interview Alexander insists, “No one can keep you from being an actor. You can act every day of your life.” While waiting for these audition opportunities or roles to present themselves, Alexander argues that actors can stay involved in local theater, school performances, or doing Shakespeare monologues in the park. “If your passion is acting, no one and nothing can stop you,” the Tony Award-winning actor asserts.

Alexander continues by saying that frustrated actors need to switch up their frame of mind from feeling that someone needs to give them work to going out and creating the work themselves. He encourages actors to assemble filmmaking or theatrical teams to create projects that they can star i–even if it means it’s all filmed on a cell phone. “If you really want to be in our business, the business of being an actor, the days of thinking only as an actor are probably over…you build your companies, you build your support systems, and you go out an make stuff…And if what you’re doing is good, you will a. make a living; you will b. be very happy; and c. somebody may just see it and give you an opportunity you couldn’t create for yourself.” 

On the other hand, if you’re among the actors who risk letting time pass by waiting for a role to come to them, Alexander doesn’t have a whole lot of sympathy for you. Although a certain amount of aspiring actors manage to succeed in getting into the business this way, many are likely find themselves waiting for extended periods of time. To these actors he says, “You are limited by your passion, your intelligence, your talent, your imagination, and nothing else. So if you say, ‘I never got the break,’ it’s your fault.”

What do you think? Is he being too hard on actors expecting them to excel in areas beyond the actor’s traditional job description? Or do you agree with him, and enjoy the aspect of being able to take charge of your career in this manner?

Here’s Jason Alexander in a 1985 McDonald’s McDLT commercial that taped during the World Series that year.