Bridging the Gap
If you're an actor wishing to level-up from background work to principal work, it can definitely be done. Many actors have walked that path. But there are a few things to be aware of as you bridge that gap.
There is value in being a background performer. You get to see how a professional set operates and you lean how to behave professionally around celebs, crew and creatives. Once you've gotten the lay of the land, and if you wish to move on to principal work, there's a test of your courage before you.
It helps greatly to let go completely of doing background work and stand in work. Let it go and don't look back. Yes, you may miss getting those small paychecks in the mail every so often. Yes, it may take a year or more before you start getting principal auditions. Yes, you may have to find another way to support yourself in the meantime. Yes, your unemployment income may cease if you stop doing background work. Yes, the universe will take note of your intention to level-up in your career and will start assisting you. But you'll need your courage and fortitude to bridge the gap from BG performer to principal actor.
When I got an agent one of the first things she said to me was 'stop doing background work. I can't submit you for principal work if you're still a BG actor.' So I stopped. I already had my own business so I was still able to earn a living. About 8 months later I got my first principal audition. Then another and another. Before long I was being called in to the same casting office multiple times. I also took a class on networking for actors which helped create relationships with creatives. In fact, my first principal audition was the result of a director telling casting to call me in.
Throughout my career, first as a BG performer, then as a principal, I've taken classes, networked, created my own content/characters, started my own YouTube Channel and performed stand up. Creating your own work is becoming more important these days. And always approach the networking thing with the mindset of "how can I help you and your project?" We're all unique and all bring unique things to the table. The day will come when you're the perfect person for that role.
Once you level-up to principal actor, you'll be on the roller coaster of working and not working. And just like the Coney Island Cyclone, it's not for the faint of heart. But really, is there any other career that would make you happier? I didn't think so.