Hey young actors! If you’ve had a hard upbringing, tough times, or any kind of daily grind – don’t think that makes you just another Lifetime Channel story line. In fact, your rough road may be exactly the path that helps you succeed as you enter the hard, tough, daily grind of the acting world.
Kresh’s early success stemmed from the fact that he believed, If they can do it, I can do it.
He did make it. And you can too!
To kick off your journey – Here are 7 steps that can help move you forward toward acting success – shared by Kresh Novakovic.
#1 – PUT IN THE WORK
Learning and growing is important. Everything you gain from studying will show up on set. The more you do, the better the result.
I was fortunate in that at twenty years old I got to meet Harvey Keitel. I had very little experience, but an attitude coming from the Bronx and the energy of being young. I decided that I would love to act, and Keitel suggested that I study acting. I am so thankful for that.
I did sense memory work, and plays, and method acting. On my first major audition I met Ellen Chenoweth, and I got cast in ANALYZE THIS. And then I got into MEET THE PARENTS. These were small roles but they built my confidence. And, it was all about the work.
Also, your nerves depend on the amount of work that you do. If you have only two lines, and you have done all your work, then you will be able to just say your lines because you won’t be as nervous. You’ll be able to just be there in the moment, be present, and deliver your lines.
#2 – BREAK DOWN YOUR WALLS
Growing up in the Bronx, will forever be in my heart, and soul, and passion, and in my work. But when I started acting, I remember being so closed up.
I was from a tougher neighborhood in the Bronx, and I knew the people who were doing bad things. They were my closest friends. That molded me. I was fending for myself all the time. So when I first sat with acting instructors after class and they would ask what I thought the scene meant, I wasn’t used to being asked what I thought by others. I had to realize that the instructors meant well. And, I had to learn how to open up.
Getting into the arts was such a cultural opening of worlds to me. Art is important because it opens the mind. That is a big part of growing.
And, I believe that toughness builds honesty. My acting coach Greta Seacat used to say, The tougher the shell, the more that’s there.
It took forever for her to crack me, per say. It was hard for me to be vulnerable in front of twenty students. The first time I ever emotionally broke down, it was like a faucet. And that was nothing. That was just the beginning. I felt free, and safe, and she encouraged me. Of course that is just one part. First you learn to express yourself, and then you have to build technique. You have to work on character building.
#3 – EMBRACE EVERY CONNECTION
I was a personal trainer at the Regency Hotel when I met Armand Assante. Armand was another huge mentor. I had a discussion with him asking if he could help me. He saw that I was trying, and he broke it down to the basics – understanding script, reading script, and going over it again and again.
It’s important to respect everyone you meet. Especially the casting agents. Casting people work so hard to pick you, so respect it. The fact that they chose you is an honor, so embrace it
I also like to support young directors. There are directors that are younger than I am, and they don’t have a lot of experience yet but they are super passionate. It’s important to work with young directors now, because they will make it bigger. So if they have an openness and a passion, you should work with them.
#4 – APPRECIATE THE MATERIAL GIVEN TO YOU
Acting is all about lending yourself to what’s given to you. Honor what is in front of you. Honor the writing, the story telling, because great story tellers make great actors.
And then, you need to add value to the material. Give what is needed for the role. Study the script over and over because you will always find something new to work with. The opportunity for progression is always there. You can always find new challenges and ways to express the words given to you.
#5 – DON’T FOCUS ON THE MONEY
Sometimes people don’t take jobs because there is no pay. They feel disrespected that they’re not being paid, but people shouldn’t be like that. Take the job because it’s going to allow you to play and share.
I believe that its money last, work first – and everything else will come.
When I first started out, I decided that I could either make money or be really happy doing my work. I believed that I wasn’t going to starve, and I chose to be happy as hell.
Working in front of the camera is so important and everyone has to start somewhere. Be adventurous. If you want to grow, don’t worry about the pay. Worry about how much you can play with other people, and earn people’s trust. Give yourself the opportunity to work with other people, to get in front of the camera, and learn on the screen how to prepare and keep up with the speed of filming.
I believe it’s important to be in a mode of always say yes.
If someone says, I really want you in this but don’t have the money to pay you – do it. Choose to say yes, if this is your passion. It’s about putting yourself out there. Every job is so valuable in this industry.
#6 -BUILD A FILM FAMILY
If you are going into the film world, never feel like you don’t have an option. There are always great people to work with.
As I said before, I had met Armand Assante and I asked him if he would work with me on a film. He agreed to do it, and my brother directed it. My brother, Ante Novakovic, is a fantastic director. We teamed up with Ethan Anderson, an amazing producer, and found a great DP, John Schmidt. Donna McKenna also got involved with the film family, and we did a short called TAMMY that went to a ton of festivals and won me a best actor award.
When you respect your own work and other peoples work, you see how things can be built. It’s about growing the film family. It’s about combining talents that makes it. We help each other along.
We have a big team now and are going out to Texas with another film, LEAVES OF THE TREE.
#7 – BELIEVE YOU CAN DO IT
I used to watch other actors and think, If they can do it, I can do it.
Why not enter myself. Why not take the chance. What’s the worst thing that could happen? These are all thoughts that will keep you positive. They aren’t going to lock you up for being broke. But it has to be your passion. You have to stay with it, trust yourself, and have a full let-go.
The first few times I auditioned, I failed. At first they wanted me for a bigger part in ANALYZE THIS. At the time I was 21 with little experience, and I panicked. That’s OK. I wasn’t ready for it. But I still showed up, and that’s the will of an actor. You have to have intense will.
This business is tough, but I love it. And, I am in a good place now with it. I do my best to continue to grow, and build forward progression of work. That’s what I’d recommend for all who are passionate about becoming actors.
—- Thank you to Kresh Novakovic for sharing!