Well, here you are. You met with your agent, got the audition, got the part, made your first movie in a lead role, the movie is a huge success and you're an overnight success. (Yes, it's unlikely, but it does happen. Just look at the cast of "Harry Potter.")
So, you're a star. What next?
Unfortunately, not everyone can handle stardom. This has been sadly chronicled in the lives of such people as Freddie Prinze who took his life because he just couldn't handle the pressures of being a big star. So what can you do in order to avoid being a casualty of the movie, TV or stage business?
Everyone has their own theories of how to handle stardom. In this article we're just going to cover some generic ground as every person is different and ultimately what will work for one person may not work for another. For example, some people will really enjoy all the attention from fans and rag mags that they're going to get, good or bad. Others will shun it like the plague. But there are some things that seem to be the Achilles heel of most people who have made it big.
For starters, don't bite off more than you can chew. Once you become a star, everyone is going to want a piece of you for interviews, endorsements, whatever. Budget your time. Do only what you can do. You don't have to agree to every interview request. Don't worry that if you turn one down that these people are going to think of you as stuck up or unappreciative. Make them understand that your time is limited and your schedule just doesn't permit you doing that particular interview at this time but maybe in the future. Always keep the door open. That way you don't alienate anyone.
The next thing you want to do is not let stardom change your lifestyle beyond what you can afford. Mike Tyson, with all the millions he made boxing, is broke. Learn to live within your bounds. This is not to say that you can't have nice things. But if you're only taking in five million a year then you can't live as if you're taking in a hundred and five million. It will eventually catch up with you and you could lose everything.
Probably the most important thing you can do as a successful actor is not let it get to your head. In spite of what the fans have told you, you are not the almighty. You are still just a flesh and blood person and as quickly as you became a star, that is how fast it can all come crashing down on you. So many stars who are big one day are gone the next and this dose of reality is too much for them to handle. As a result, their lives are never the same, many taking to drugs and booze. So keep your head about things. Make sure you put your success into perspective.
Just by doing the above few things you'll have a very good chance of surviving the success that comes with being an actor.