Are you an aspiring actor wondering where to start your acting career?
Try this step-by-step guide to getting your acting career off the ground, including getting experience for your acting resume, actor training, finding an acting agent, and why a casting director is the gatekeeper to jobs in the acting industry.
Volunteer to Act in Short Films
One of the best ways to get started is through volunteering, either for amateur theatre productions or for short films.
Short films are often made by students at film school, aspiring directors, and friends who want to explore their creativity. Most have little money to spend on the project, relying on fundraising. There will be short films made somewhere in your area this year, even if you live in a small town.
These microbudget short films are often looking for actors who are willing to work for free or at a low rate. You can get experience, network with other actors, and get footage for your actor showreel.
You might also be seen by the people who will hire you in the future.
Through short films you’ll discover how much waiting is involved between takes, and how many takes are required for each scene. It’s particularly bad on student films, even with students taking a master’s degree, because the young crew are all learning their craft, but even the highest budget feature film set can strain your patience with too much time waiting around.
If you’ve never acted before, doing a short film is a great way to get acting experience on a film set without any risk. Plus, it’s a great way to get your headshots and resume out there. If you’re lucky, they’ll send you the promised showreel material too.
If you’re looking to get acting experience on stage rather than in front of a camera, track down local amateur or community theatres, drama clubs, or other local performing arts groups. It’s not as glamorous as working in the entertainment industry worlds of Broadway or the London West End, but you’ll learn a lot from the experience of collaborative projects.
If you want to be a child actor or young performer, competition for each acting role is high even for short films, and all young actors must abide by the child performance licence laws even for a voluntary acting gig. Learning through a youth theatre is great experience.
Some casting websites have strict criteria about who can join, but the majority accept beginners to the acting industry. The downside is that you’ll have to pay for a subscription if you want to apply for an advertised acting opportunity, which itself might be unpaid.
Acting schools are a great way to start your acting career, especially if you can beat the odds and get into a top drama school.
Drama Schools look for natural talent to which they can apply top level teaching. If you want a career in musical theatre, drama school is the ideal place to supercharge your triple threat skills of singing , dancing and acting.
However, full time drama school courses are not the only place to find quality actor training. With a bit of searching, you’ll quickly find a good array of part time acting classes, masterclasses, and shorter full time courses. Choose the type of acting course which fits in with your budget, circumstances and ambition.
Acting classes will teach you the basics of the craft, such as acting technique and styles, improvisation, script analysis, and maybe special skills such as stage combat.
Acting classes help you prepare for auditions too, with practice of taking direction and performing in front of others.
No matter what you want to do in the industry, it’s important to take acting classes. Acting schools teach you the ins and outs of the industry and will give you a solid foundation for your future.
In fact, they are so important, actors keep going back to acting classes, masterclasses and acting coaches for the length of their career as a working actor.
Getting a Talent Agent
Many actors are initially rejected by talent agents because they don’t have enough relevant experience or training. So many people are applying to acting agencies these days that very few applications are taken further, and those are normally from an experienced actor with an active career.
Quality agencies are so overwhelmed that they don’t have the resources to acknowledge receipt, so you’ll only hear if they want to know more. Scam agencies, however, will reply straight away to anyone and everyone who applies, asking for money for representation or headshots.
Acting agents want to represent actors with the most potential for success.
That means performers whose experience, training and appearance suggests they will fit the types of roles casting directors audition for, and are reliable and professional so they do well in the casting room.
If you’re an actor with limited experience, you can still be successful with the right agent. With time and hard work, you’ll build a showreel from monologues, get some good headshots, attend acting workshops, and discover acting agencies for beginners.
Getting an agent is the best way to ensure that you’re ready for success. Agents know how to help actors with their careers.
They can help you with your resume and online profile, advise you on your professional headshot, showreel (sometimes called a demo reel), and your social media presence, and submit you for paid work with casting directors.
So, what are you waiting for? Find an agent today!
Auditions are known as casting calls in the entertainment industry. They are run by Casting Directors, who work with Directors and Producers to choose which actor wins the role.
The audition process is a crucial part of any actor’s career and is something that all actors should know how to take care of.
There are many reasons why an actor may not get an acting role, but that does not mean that the actor was not the best person for the part. Sometimes, it’s as simple as choosing someone who looks like the rest of the screen family being put together by the casting director.
And sometimes, it’s because the actor might not have been able to convey their ability to play that particular role. Think about what to wear to an audition (or casting). Don’t turn up with scruffy hair and a T-Shirt if you’re auditioning for the part of a smart lawyer, for example.
The audition process is something that every actor should be familiar with. It can be nerve-wracking, but it is an integral part of any actor’s career. There are many ways to prepare for an audition, but it all depends on the actor’s situation.
If you are new to acting or need some help, you should attend a casting masterclass or workshop. Alternatively, look online where there are plenty of resources available for new actors.
Social media is a powerful tool for actors. It allows you to connect with other actors as well as casting directors and producers. It also gives you a platform to share your work and get feedback from others.
Social media is by far one of the most effective ways for actors to market themselves. Many short films and other micro budget projects choose actors who are already networking through social media.
Posting photos of yourself to draw attention to your acting portfolio isn’t enough. It’s a networking opportunity, where you promote the people and projects you’ve been involved with or support, and they promote you in return.
Treat your social media as a business tool. Politics will alienate some of your followers, as will constant posts about random hobbies or interests which have nothing to do with developing an acting career. And never be negative or criticise anyone without extremely strong reasons to do so, because no one in the entertainment industry wants to work with people who could damage their brand.
When you’re first starting out, try Facebook groups to discover and contact the student and hobby filmmakers in your area. It’s a great way to get your first experience on set, even if you don’t get paid.
In this blog post, we’ve covered some of the most important aspects of starting your acting career. From experience, training, social media to acting agents and auditions, there’s a lot you can do to start your acting career.
In the end, the most important thing is to just get your acting journey started. You can’t wait for a perfect moment or a big break before making a name for yourself, because the big breaks go to people who have been quietly gaining acting experience for years.
Building a successful acting career takes time and patience, so don’t wait! If you have a dream of being an actor, it’s time to start working on it.