Dear Bonnie,

I’ve read your book and I loved it!

I still don’t know what to do and where to start though, because I’m not English-speaking. (How would I say the line or impress someone with my English, not to say about accents?)

Should I do acting in my country only? Become the star with the rating? And then try myself in other markets?

How can someone like me if I don’t like myself at all?

I’m almost giving up because I don’t know what to do and there’s no big industry around me. Become a film director in my country and direct myself? I don’t know even how to direct!

Dear Bon, I hope you can read this. Sorry for this long and not-so-fun letter.


So, Miss Margarita from Russia, let’s dive in and take this one issue at a time. 🙂

First, thank you for reading and enjoying my book. I always love hearing that, especially from actors all over the world! I studied a tiny bit of Russian back in college and I loved seeing the Cyrillic alphabet in your email. Happy memories!

Next, I want to recommend that you release any concern about your inability to speak English and its impact on your acting career. There are plenty of actors in the world who are incredibly successful and happy, never speaking a word of English. So, let that go, now.

Should you choose to pursue acting in more traditionally English-speaking markets, that’s a bridge to cross after you’ve gotten some traction where you currently are, speaking exactly as you speak, today.

Because you have certainly consumed movies, television content, stage plays in your life that are not performed in English, right? That means there are opportunities for you, as an actor, to succeed in non-English-speaking entertainment. Hooray!

As you know from reading Self-Management for Actors, I’m a huge fan of seeing actors target the work that best aligns with who they are, rather than trying to CHANGE to become somehow “more castable,” anywhere. Because what’s castable is talent, charisma, confidence, and you just being you — once you find the folks who actively NEED actors of your type in their projects.

So, start researching what’s happening where you are and within reach of where you are. Yes, becoming known in your current market and the surrounding markets absolutely could help you move into the worldwide market.

And even though you’re not a director (yet), there are ways to learn that skill. Start by volunteering to act in small projects with people whose work you respect, and ask if you can shadow them a bit when they’re directing scenes you’re not in. Learn at every turn! Ask questions. Develop a mentorship relationship with someone who is willing to let you benefit from their years of experience, and you’ll be amazed with what you’re able to create for yourself!

In the meantime, you’ll be working on projects you *don’t* direct and you’ll benefit from building relationships while amassing footage that showcases what you’re capable of. Hooray!

Now, I want to close on perhaps the most important part of your email. This line: “How can someone like me if I don’t like myself at all?”

That’s a biggie. And I don’t know that I can tell you exactly how to “fix” that issue. Hopefully — if the whole “not speaking English” and “being in a non-market” issue are the main contributing factors to your lack of self-love — then I’ve already helped you with the above thoughts. But if there’s more than just that, I can only recommend that you dive in on as much mindset goodness as possible. Perhaps that you find someone you can trust in your daily life who will help you work through this issue. Or that you revisit something as recent as this article I wrote called “Value,” so that you begin to see your self-worth as an inside job.

Whatever the case, be gentle with yourself. It’s really easy to decide the deck is stacked against us and be fatalistic in our thinking. Try not to be. Try to believe in miracles, because what you’re seeking isn’t even THAT ambitious. Sure, it’s challenging, but it’s not impossible! Go for it! And keep me posted on your journey, XOPOШO?

Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!

Originally published by Actors Access at Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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