Expert of the Week: Erin Dahl

Erin Dahl

Actress and Writer

What is your professional background?

I’ve never been interested in any career other than acting, so my jobs before are an assortment to keep enough money coming in. I’ve done retail, temping, and of course, waitressing. My professional “journey” if you will, in acting, just began in 2016 when I joined SAG-AFTRA.


What sparked your interest in acting?

I’m not sure there was a moment that sparked my interest, I just kind of always knew. I think it really hit around age 9, I started doing this thing whenever I read a book, I would pick a character and pretend to be them in this made up film version in my head. It was in college when I started doing student theater at Villanova I decided I was really going to go for it. As time went on I realized it is just what I am supposed to be doing in life, and I would never be happy doing anything else. Acting was always sort of the thing that was continually there when I needed it.


What has been your favorite role thus far?

That’s a really good question. I’m not sure I know the answer, because every role you play is like a little part of you. I’ve noticed similarities to myself in almost every character that I’ve played. That being said, getting to play evil or insane characters is for me the ultimate treat.  You really have the opportunity to display the human condition honestly with all its flaws and not how society tells you it “has to be,” and you’ll notice that honesty is renewing as it starts to spill into other areas of your life.


How do you get into character?

I think the key is to not try too hard to get into character, and just know the person you are portraying is already a part of you somehow. I really believe as humans we have it in us already through some giant collective unconscious, so it just comes naturally to portray someone else’s experience. That being said, I always show up with the attitude that I’m ready to work with lines memorized, and know the character’s objectives in the scene and go from there. Costumes and setting and just being around everyone else backstage or on set also helps tremendously, especially if it’s a historical production.


What advice would you give to someone considering a career in acting?

Okay, this is going to be long but I’m brimming with positive advice. GO FOR IT.  Yes, it is super competitive, and you will likely be doing free work for years. You will be poor and won’t be able to spend on the level you will notice your peers spending. You might not ever be able to support a family. At the end of the day, you only have one life, so if considering all this, it is still really what you want to do, DO IT.

It doesn’t matter if you are shy or don’t think you have the right look, just by believing in yourself you are putting yourself in the top 10% because a lot of people don’t believe they can do it and just settle in life. However, you have to love it enough that you will be okay with whatever happens. Also, giving yourself a “timeline” like I hear people often do is bullshit. It is going to take a very long time. And even if you do make it big you could fall out of favor, and then back in again. It’s helpful to think of it as more so a lifestyle that you are committing to. 

Also, many people seem aghast at this, but expect to spend money. Which sucks, because you won’t be making much. But you will need money for headshots, classes, a reel, etc, so find a good flexible job where ideally your weekdays are open to audition.

Build a supportive network of people you meet on your epic journey.  Know who you encountered on your journey who is inspiring to you and remember these people and what they taught you when it gets tough. Stalk other actor’s websites for tips. Have faith that one thing will always lead to another. Make a goal list and stay positive, and don’t focus on what others are up to but rather the cool stuff you booked this year, and the goals you checked off, and still have ahead of you!


About your blog, CasualWorld, what do you typically write about?

It honestly started off as a joke, “Casual” was this movement that all my friends and I were obsessed with in college to try and convince mainly guys that we were cool. So I started it with the intent of jovially sharing secrets of the Casual lifestyle. It was my early twenties, however, when I was out in the real world and living on my own for the first time and I was just sort of observing stuff and how the world is. Over time, it evolved into really impassioned commentary on societal things I noticed that annoyed me. A lot of it is very feminist observations. I would say the main points of the blog now, are just be cool, be real. Don’t put on a front. And don’t validate your existence through societal constructs like marriage.


What advice would give to those looking to start their own blogs?

Again, just DO IT! It’s a great way to express yourself. Just remember, though, that it’s online. It’s not quite the same thing as a diary. People are super nice and will comment if they like what they see. See if you can use your blog to advance your other goals. Does it fit your brand? And most of all, have fun with it!

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