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Answer by Danielle Panabaker, actress, foodie, Bruin, dog lover, The Flash, Shark, Piranha 3-D, The Crazies:
My biggest piece of advice for an aspiring actor is to push yourself and to continue to study your craft. When I started acting, my sister and I were going to school during the day, auditioning in the afternoon, and taking acting classes almost every night. We studied with a number of different coaches and teachers—everyone has his own method, and my sister and I responded to different approaches. The benefit of finding a teacher who challenges you is something that has stuck with me throughout my career. To this day, I continue to study with a coach, and getting feedback has always been important to me so I can grow as an actor.
Know that you won’t always get the jobs you want, but it’s important to continue to grow as an artist. You should also surround yourself with other ambitious and creative people. I have found many different outlets (working with nonprofits such as Young Storytellers Foundation and Word Theater) that allow me to stretch myself as a performer even when I’m not on set.
Often times, young actors or their parents will ask me for advice because I started when I was still a teenager. In addition to studying your craft, I think it’s also important to keep kids in school and around kids their own age. Education is something that will last much longer than a job, and I personally believe that the more experience you have to draw on as a person, the more you can bring to your characters.
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