Can I Start My Acting Career at Age 50?

Wendy Alane Wright

Wendy Alane Wright

Hi actors, it’s Wendy Alane Wright, the Hollywood talent manager coming to you live from Los Angeles, California, with lots of tips and ideas for a successful acting career. 

And I just want to answer an email that someone sent me last night about age. And this woman wanted to know how age plays into starting an acting career later in life.

I have a few thoughts about that.

A 20 Year Old Can’t Play a 50 Year Old’s Part

And so you obviously need to be the age of the characters that are playing those older roles. So yes, if you’re 50 years old, and you want to get into the business, they’re hoping to hire a 50 year old for a 50 year old part. 

So you would be in the running in terms of your age, but there are two factors, I think one that goes against you and then one that works for you. 

The one that goes against you is that there are other people here who are 50, who were here when they were 40. And they were making those connections and those contacts and they were building those relationships and doing smaller projects and bigger projects and then getting a name for themselves and becoming recognizable. 

So that when they need a 50 year old, they can hire a great actor that they already know exists. All those younger actors who are now older, are all looking for those 50 year old roles. So there’s a lot of competition, obviously, by well trained actors in their field. 

By the time you’re 50, you’re competing with really talented, experienced people who already have connections. So that works against you, but I don’t believe that stops you, because I believe that if you have a dream, and if you have a talent, and if you have drive, and persistence, that you can manifest, the things that you want to have happened to you can make those things happen.

How To Get Started As An Older Actor

So if you’re 50 or older, and you’re just starting out in the business, you got to really be positive, you got to know that it’s going to take some time to get started, that you’re not going to just jump right in ahead of people that have been here before you, you’ve got to work hard to make connections just like everybody else.

You’ve got to try to meet independent producers and directors and writers and people that can and will give you an opportunity, you really have to have slammin demo reels and headshots and all that stuff like everybody else. And you may get lucky in terms of networking with the correct people. And maybe you have a better personality and you’re a better networker than someone who’s been here for a long time, you know, you could step right into their place, because you’re just easier to be around and you’re not as jaded and you’re, you’re more fun to be with and you have more enthusiasm and excitement, you’re not burned out. 

There’s lots of reasons. But short films hire people that are not known a lot. 

So that’s a great place for you to start get hooked up with filmmakers who are starting out and filmmakers who are just breaking into the business and they need, they can’t afford to hire the 50 year old actors that are well known and that are recognizable faces, because those people aren’t doing short films with beginning directors for no money. 

But you as a brand new 50+ year old artist coming into the business will, you will do it. And you may be very talented and maybe you’ve been well trained. And maybe you’ve been doing theater for many years, and maybe you’ve been in the community theater for many years. And you come with some talent and some training and you’re at an affordable price. 

So that works in your favor, one being affordable two being driven and excited and having a new energy and a momentum that maybe some burned out people don’t have. And three, you just got to manifest your potential. I mean, if that’s your goal, I certainly don’t believe in going to the grave, never having tried. I certainly don’t believe in never following through on what your heart is calling you to do

What Steps to Take After Pursuing Acting As an Older Adult

But I say be smart. Figure out a way to make money while you’re here. Some people get in the business later on in life. 

It’s a second or third career, so I am for it. But I think you’ve got to be smart. And realize that you have a lot of competition and make sure you figure out how to support yourself and make money. 

Don’t expect any kind of overnight stuff. Just be grateful to have the opportunity if you get hired for a play here. Or if you get in a couple short films. 

Maybe you can get an agent. It’s going to be hard to get an agent when you’re 50 and you don’t have any kind of career. But does that mean you can’t get one? No! 

If you personally network with agents and develop relationships with them and develop the kind of relationship where someone believes in you. They may want and work with you. And if you get a manager who believes in you, you might want to do that. 

And nowadays because of technology, you can submit yourself on so many projects on LA casting, Actor’s Access, Casting Frontier, Backstage Magazine, etc.. So you don’t need to be waiting for any agent or manager to get you out there, you can get yourself out there and connect and make contacts

To Compete As An Older Actor

And if you’re good, because listen, this only applies to actors who are good. If you’re average, I wouldn’t even begin to bother with that, because average actors will never be hired over really good ones. So you have to be really good. And you’ve got to be really willing to train like crazy if you’re average, and you want to become really good. 

But if you’re just average, and you don’t have the kind of drive it takes to train that average skill level into an extraordinary skill level, you’re really lucky to be able to compete with the actors to do so. 

You have to really be committed to your new life. Yeah, you can come and do it as a hobby. Get a couple gigs here and there. That’s fine, too. You know, it’s all up to you. But follow your heart. I always say that follow your heart, if you’re really called to do that, then do it. 

You know, you only live once. That may not be the Buddhist thing, but I don’t know, I am not quite aware of too many people who are here who have been back. And this is their third, fourth fifth time. And since all we have is the now I’m going with We only live once as far as I know, and maybe there’s more but the only thing you have right now is what’s between birth and death. And if you’re called to act you better get out here and do it. When you’ve got the time. Okay?

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