Can You Start an Acting Career Later in Life?

My belief is yes, you can absolutely start an acting career after 40+. I help clients who are much older launch their careers; it’s all about creating your own content these days and not waiting for permission to market yourself. Last year, my clients over 40 were booking as many roles as the younger actors at my studio.

I find that in many cases, older actors have certain advantages when it comes to starting a career over 40. The most obvious advantage that they possess is that they’re more settled and have the wisdom of life experience to bring to the table. They’ve loved, they’ve lost, they’ve raised kids or are currently doing so, and they’ve made major financial commitments, all while experiencing deep levels of joy and disappointments. They’ve fought battles and won, and fought battles and lost. I’m in no way asserting that younger actors have not had many of these experiences, it’s just that older actors have had more: It’s a simple fact of life. They are able to bring a more multi-colored richness to the table. They often have better inter-personal skills which can be invaluable on set, developed from years of nurturing families or working in offices. 

One could argue there’s also a smaller pool of competition in the over-40 age group. It’s common knowledge that not all the hot young things that move out here stay in the business. The over-40 group of actors is inherently smaller because the business is so tough. Many younger actors end up pushing “the dream” to the back burner in the name of starting a family or going off to pursue goals that seem more accessible, like law school, nursing school, or starting a business. That said, the competition is tough in the over-40 pool. The actors that have stuck with the business have nice credits and formidable acting chops. They’ve been acting their asses off for decades and have sunk their hearts into the business, making them truly daunting opponents. 

With actors of all ages, it’s important to define “career” as new media has changed the game. Older actors who are new to the game have to be feverishly proactive, not just in study and in developing the craft, but in creating a strong web presence and making memorable content. 

Age, or feeling too young or too old, should never be a deterrent in preventing you from doing what you want to do in any arena of your personal and professional life. It might be more or less of an obstacle given what you want to do, but it should never pose a blockade.

This Article was originally posted on Backstage