Jo Kelly
5 min readDec 12, 2020


Next Year Can Be Your Best Year As An Actor — Here’s How

This year I met an actor, let’s call him (Sambo)

His 2020 dream was to build up his career as an actor, quit his cozy day job — with retirement, paid vacation, and free breakfast. So he did. On an ambitious impulse he abandoned ship, and moved to LA expecting to find representation, book a paid job, find a super flexible perfect day job.

His LA move in date was March 2020…

And then there he was, stranded in the middle of a global pandemic — after quitting his fancy day job to start and expand his life as an actor. Without an agent. Without a ton of credits. Marketing materials he didn’t like. And no money…

So as you can think he likely felt hopeless, overwhelmed, and depressed…how could he possibly start a career and live his artistic purpose during a global pandemic with the entire industry shut down?

At the same time, many actors around the world were having their best year yet in 2020. He didn’t. Why? He was stuck, lost, and drained of all his creative power. A victim. The biggest victim on the planet.

And I get it… actors all around the world were in similar circumstances, so he certainly wasn’t alone.

This year there has been so much uncertainty about what will happen … with theatres shut down and productions ground to a halt left, actors all around the world were left in the dust in the blink of an eye.

Actors all around the world have been in the same circumstances with COVID — and throughout the year many of those actors have been thinking “Well I have to wait this year for things to open again before I can work”, “My agent hasn’t called me in because of COVID so I haven’t booked all year”, “There aren’t any projects because of COVID so I can’t work this year…”

But at the same time, so many actors were having their best year yet in 2020.

So you haven’t booked all year — and some actors are having their best year yet — what exactly is going on?

It’s not because these actors are ‘lucky’ and you’re not. It’s a lack of power…caused by being a victim of what is happening, that’s why you may be feeling depressed and overwhelmed. I get that it may be irritating to hear this, but it’s NOT because of COVID that you’re feeling powerless, it’s because of the way that you’re reacting to those circumstances — as a victim.

And when you’re reacting to the world as a victim it’s common to think that “there is nothing I can do about it”. And when you think that there is nothing you can do about something you may feel stuck and lost, and then your creativity is out the window.

But perhaps you felt the same even before COVID?

Before the pandemic, casting directors appeared “mean” to you, so you couldn’t stay in character, you never booked because your agent never sent you out to auditions, you never updated your reel because it was too much work…

Overall it was TOO HARD.

So in reality, nothing changed for you and for Sambo after COVID hit, there was only another excuse for the inner victim to latch onto….

So how exactly can you tap into your power and have your best year yet as an actor?

1. Change your circumstances

It’s completely possible for you to change your circumstances because it’s within your power to do so. It’s your choice to do something in order to move forward and get what you want out of your career. And the perfect place to start is to shift from “There’s nothing I can do” to “What CAN I do to change my situation?” — see how this opens up so many possibilities?

So let’s say the situation this year is that your agent hasn’t called you in for auditions:

You can sit around not getting called in (being a victim) OR you can revamp your marketing materials, find a new agent, connect with casting directors of your favorite projects, the list is endless.

2. Take responsibility not blame

The opportunity here is to ask yourself: “How much energy is this mentality costing me?”

Likely a ton of energy — because the victim mentality tends to leave people feeling blocked, overwhelmed, and depressed — and you can choose to continue this way…OR you can choose to take RESPONSIBILITY by actually doing what you can to change your circumstances.

STOP BLAMING and giving your power away to others, circumstances, and events (i.e. COVID, your agent, the industry, etc.)…because once you do this you end up in a powerless position. And an action-taker, a non-victim always makes their own choices and takes action.

And by taking action, you will discover your true power and create a relationship with yourself that’s built on integrity, and trust.

Jo Kelly has spent more than 20 years coaching award-winning actors (Owen Wilson, Brittany Allen, Caitlin Gerard, Laura Spencer, Carlos Leal)

Did you know that Shakespeare likely wrote “King Lear”, “Anthony and Cleopatra”, and “Macbeth” during the plague?

“…the plague was also Shakespeare’s secret weapon. He didn’t ignore it. He took advantage of it”

The Infectious Pestilence Did Reign, Ben Cohen, Slate

How did he do this? Shakespeare was a hero, not a victim. He took action and used his time to create when the theatres in London were shut down…he literally took the circumstance and turned it into an opportunity for gold. And you can do the exact same thing with whatever circumstance you may be feeling challenged by.

So if all of this spoke to you, if this shed some light on the inner victim that’s been holding you back all year — it’s time to take off the victim mask, put on your Shakespeare hat, and get in touch with the power and freedom that’s already inside of you waiting to be unearthed.

Playing the victim can bleed into all aspects of an artist’s life — their creative life, their characters, professional life, personal life, the list is endless because this mindset essentially affects everything that you do as an actor.

The great news is…if you’re an actor feeling like a victim of the pandemic, you CAN take your power back — and unearthing your instinct and freedom is the perfect place to start.

And freedom is exactly where your power is — so why show up as a blocked victim when you can show up powerfully free? And taking care of your instrument — by training and muscling your instinct — is exactly how you can discover your freedom and undo your inner victim.

2021 can be your best year ever, so where do you want it to be?

Actors…great news: You CAN open your instrument and access your powerful humanity because you ARE human. All you need to do is take care of your instrument…Work through your resistance and wake up your instinct. If that resonates with you, check out the work Jo Kelly does with actors on, or download a free training that can bring you a step further in that direction: STOP TRYING TO BE A GOOD ACTOR SO YOU HAVE A CHANCE AT BEING GREAT



Jo Kelly

Jo Kelly is an acting coach that has spent more than 20 years coaching award-winning actors (Owen Wilson, Brittany Allen, Caitlin Gerard, Carlos Leal).