Ah… I love it when a pattern emerges.

At this weekend’s amazing SMFA Retreat in Los Angeles, it was clear that a lot of actors have been told a lot of things about what they “should” do.

Stuff like:

  • have 10+ headshots up on the casting sites
  • wear your hair straight, not curly
  • never wear those glasses
  • shave off your beard
  • wear your hair curly, not straight
  • do a talking headshot
  • get in front of THIS casting person (who casts nothing for which you’re a slam-dunk)
  • study at UCB or the Groundlings (when you have no inclination toward comedy)
  • hurry up and join the union
  • be all up in social media

…you know the list.

A bunch of actor busy work, a gaggle of actor myths, and almost all of it comes from folks who ARE OFFERING NO ROLE IN WHICH TO CAST YOU.


Sorry for yelling, but this point is important.

Almost everyone telling you authoritatively that you need to run around getting this done and that done, chasing this (non-)rule and that one, and being this way or that way has zero role to offer you.

The refrain in class Saturday became, “No role; no opinion.”

Because when one absolutely dynamic, charismatic, will-be-a-star actor sat next to me to receive his feedback during pitch clinic, we soon uncovered that the reason he hates his new glasses is not because they’re uncomfortable, not because he’s still getting used to them, not because they affect his brand or his craft or his life in any way… but because OTHER ACTORS in his FORMER MARKET told him those glasses would make it tougher for him to ever be cast in Los Angeles.

What a steaming pile of horseshit that is.

I said, “Until a casting director here, in LA, working on a target project at a tier above where you currently sit says to you, ‘We really love you for this, but the glasses aren’t working for us,’ you absolutely need to reevaluate why you feel like you’ve gotta figure out a way NOT to wear them.”

And y’all, I’m telling you, his face without the glasses? Forgettable. With? Holy crap. He’s a star. — I know this is the exact opposite of what everyone may assume about actors with glasses, but I’m telling you, it was crystal clear. These glasses did something really special for him.

Why hate them? Lean into this look and see what comes of it in this new market, right?

Because it wasn’t just this particular example but a half-dozen others over the course of the day with these spectacular #SMFAninjas, I knew I had to share this concept here today.

The next time you feel yourself needing to change something up because “somebody said so,” PLEASE just take a beat, a moment, a little bit of time to center yourself and ask yourself, “Do they have a ROLE that goes along with that opinion?”

If they don’t, please reconsider whether or not you need to run right out and make that change right this hot second.

Because really… what the hell do they know about what WILL get you cast if they’ve never been in a position to consider that option seriously, as it is something that affects THEIR job performance?

I’ve cast hundreds of actors. 925 at present, according to my trusty casting wiki, in fact. I know what it’s like to have to say no to an actor (many, many thousands of them, I’m afraid). And I know what I could’ve told each and every one of them that may have made a difference.

Your actor buddy? Your well-meaning neighbor? Your relatives? Thank them and move on with what your gut — and your ninja research — is telling you will work for your precise targets at this time.

Only if your actor friend has the IMDb of *your dreams* should you ever consider trying what he or she says has worked for them.

You’ve got this!

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

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  1. Evonne De La Fuente August 23, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    I lover this!!! I’ve heard the straight vs natural hair, and other “helpful comments” from different people along the way.
    Thank you for all the great advice, information and encouragement you give actors. ♡

  2. Evonne De La Fuente August 23, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    I love this!!! I’ve heard the straight vs natural hair, and other “helpful comments” from different people along the way.
    Thank you for all the great advice, information and encouragement you give actors. ♡

  3. Joe Bunner August 24, 2016 at 9:25 am

    Solid advice Bonnie. We all those people in our lives that, for various reasons, we assume their opinions are credible, important, or otherwise qualified. #norolenoopinion

  4. Bonnie Gillespie August 26, 2016 at 11:07 pm

    Evonne — So glad this was helpful! Walk your path, darlin’! No one else can DO YOU like you do! 🙂

    Joe — True, yes? Love the hashtag! Thank you.

  5. Destiny December 31, 2017 at 12:27 am

    This is powerful. I’ve heard so much of this type of dialogue and it’s refreshing to think of those “rules” as just opinions.


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