Don Draper’s Advice For Actors

If you’re a “Mad Men” fan, you know that the series finale recently aired…And it got me thinking about you.  Yup…YOU and your acting career.

Pour yourself a scotch, light up a cigarette and I’ll tell you all about it.  ;-)

You see, I’m a huge fan of the show and I watched hours of old episodes leading up to the series finale (which incidentally I couldn’t see when it aired because my cable went out…Grrr…but that’s another story…and thank goodness for online streaming).

Anyway, back to you.

After watching and re-watching all that “Mad Men”, I just keep hearing one of Don Draper’s most famous quotes echoing in my head.

“If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation”.

It’s poignant and has so much packed into so few words and the resonance to your acting career flashed at me in neon lights.

So often I see actors who feel like they are a victim of what’s happening in their own acting career.

I hear them say:

My agent isn’t getting me out. Or…I don’t have an agent and can’t find one. I don’t know what to do next. I’m not booking. When will I get a break, etc…

And by the way, I’m not judging you, if you’ve ever lamented these things.

But I am going to challenge you.

Are you game?

Because when you say these things, you say them like they are absolute. Like they are happening TO you. Like they are permanent.

They are not.

You have forgotten the most important thing. You are in control of what happens to you.

You have much more power than you give yourself credit for.

You are not a victim of your acting career.

Take the words of Don Draper and apply them to you and your acting career like this:

If you don’t like what’s being said about your acting career (by the voice inside your head or the actor next to you or your unsupportive family, etc.), change the conversation.


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You have the power to change it.  You are not a victim of your acting career. You simply CHANGE THE CONVERSATION.


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There are so many ways. What’s funny is that the how is actually NOT the part you should be focusing on. The how will show up. It must, once you change the conversation.  Regardless, you actually can’t create the how until you first CHOOSE the what.

The what?

The conversation.


Stop perpetuating your current lack of success by focusing on it.

Stop talking about it.

Stop buying into it.

Stop agreeing with it.

Stop giving voice or deed to your present moment of failure to achieve what you truly desire – to be a consistently working professional actor.

Decide to…


It starts with a decision to take control. To get in the driver’s seat. To recognize your power to be in control of what happens to you and reject the notion that you are a victim of your acting career.

Do it now.

Shift.  Pivot. Turn. Redirect. Refocus.


You are a creative, powerful, masterful being who has the ability to create your life and your acting career on demand.

You have the ability to learn what you don’t know…

To attract mentors into your life…

To put yourself around people who empower and support you…

To immerse yourself in the passion for acting in your passion for life and let that passion wash over you and everything in your life.

You have the power to create a new conversation about you, your life AND your acting career.

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It can be whatever you want it to be.

But it starts with a change…and choice.

If you don’t like what’s being said about your acting career, change the conversation.

And watch the magic happen.

Your turn! Did you have an AH-HA moment? What was it?  How do you feel knowing that you have more control over your acting career than you realized? Please share your feelings or experience in the comments below :-)

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Amy Jo Berman - Acting Coach
Amy Jo Berman's Tips On Acting & Auditioning Blog
Email: Asst@AmyJoBerman.com

“I show actors how to be better, book more jobs and live The Red Carpet life!”

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31 Responses

  1. Richard Jackson says:

    I like this way of thinking Amy, the positive out ways the negative. Change the conversation in your head and lead your thoughts in a positive direction

  2. HBJ says:

    Short and simple I needed this today thanks Amy&Don

  3. Bj Wieland-Doucet says:

    Last nite training was awesome as usual. This is the 2nd time I’ve taken it & BOTH times has a different ‘ah ha’ moment.
    This post is a 3rd type of moment! Thanks Amy!!

  4. andrew lawden says:

    great advice , pro active., decision always wins the day , and gets you the jobs you want to be doing

  5. Kristina says:

    I’m nearing the end of my personal Mad Men marathon and you know, I kept hearing the same thing – “change the conversation” – on point <3

  6. Jesse says:

    This actually blew my mind. So simple, and yet so true Amy!

  7. Aubrey says:

    Yes I definitely had an Ah-ha! moment. :p I definitely need to stop focusing on the fact I’m not where I want to be yet and I instead need to focus on the fact I -am- doing something about it. There’s many things I need to do before becoming a full-time actor I’m realizing. Thank you, Amy! :)

  8. Maureen Mountcastle says:

    Yes I love this! I have recently been booking a lot of commercials and have heard from my agent that one CD labels me as a “Commercial actor” somehow I sense it is not a compliment. She casts big films and some tv and she is a friend of mine. I was hurt by this but this advice is spot on. Film acting is my passion and even if it means independent films I am not going to buy into one CD’s opinion. Any advice on how to have a conversation about this with her?
    We are friends but I hesitate to bring it up as I don’t want to throw my agent under the bus about it.

  9. I give a big “thumb up” of approval. I’ve been in the game a long time. Having said that, to remain in it and to thrive, not just survive, I take all common sense info to heart. I’m continuing to work on me, so I can work for my audience and give them the enjoyment they spend their entertainment dollars for.

    As Jack said as “The Joker”; “Wait til they get a load of me.”

  10. Doug Schuetz says:

    Yup, my brain chatters all the time. Tough to get a word in edgewise. But if Don can do it, so can I.

  11. […] friend Noah Hoffeld shared this amazing article Don Draper’s Advice For Actors by Amy Jo Berman. It totally made my […]

  12. Kim Oberheu says:

    This is so simple, a God given free will choice to change, simple but so hard. Thanks for the reminder!

  13. Arash Mokhtar says:

    As the great Chuck D sings, “If I can’t change the people around me, I change the people around me.”

  14. Lisa Marie says:

    this one hits me: You have the ability to learn what you don’t know…

  15. hunter says:

    I totally agree with that Don Draper’s Quote

  16. Tara Marks says:

    CHANGE THE CONVERSATION! Yes Yes Yes! “What we believe, we become!” Choose to breathe in success and let go of the negative thoughts.

  17. Bj Wieland-Doucet says:

    Totally agree. Was spot on as usual. I work to change the conversation most every day! :-D

  18. Chad Johnson says:

    You have a way of making one think and see their small faults that is so easily changeable. You help us pull ourselves out of ruts that we do not know we are in. Thank you.

  19. Kelly Chavers says:

    I was proud to call this show home only 2 months after moving to LA. Matt had some great nuggets of awesome and this is one of them. I felt empowered after reading your blog. Thank you Amy

  20. daquita solomon says:

    Thanks!!!! Amy Jo Berman….this is exzacly what I needed to here( if i don’t like wats being said change the convocation) thats all i have to do now i got to start pushing my self more very powerful words that inspired me most I’m in control of what happens to me and I’m definly not going to be not be the victim any more in my acting career….you are creative powerful masterful being who has the ability to create your life and your career on demand,shift,pivot,turn,redirect,refocus love the sounds of all the story but these couples push me harder

  21. Jasper Thomas says:

    Now I see all I have to do is change my conversation. I realize how simple that is.

  22. Derrick T. Tuggle says:

    Light bulb moment when i first got started Id blame everyone and everything except myself of why things werent happening like i wanted . Great atricle

  23. Wow Amy. This article hit the nail in my life on it’s head. I struggled with a victim mindset for quite some time even though many other people thought that I actually had a bright future. I just didn’t see it that way. I only saw the negativity in each situation. After reading another post of Justin Brubaker on how to get an audience the easy way just last week I was challenged to record a short video of myself telling my potential audience what I plan on doing and asking them to critique it. As I started recording take after take after take with me blabberring out only negative and self pity words I had to rebuke myself after hearing only negativity in each take. I had to focuss really hard not to come across negative. So I created a video to challenge myself to create one short video each week to prove to myself that I can become what I dream of being, a Working Actor. Watch the video here: https://youtu.be/IVKEf7outRA

  24. Jasmine Shiri says:

    Amazing post. I simply have to create a new conversation. It’s really that simple. No more being a victim.

  25. Awesome advice, Amy! Thank you for the insight.

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