So you want to become an actor, but you have absolutely no experience and no idea where to start. Guess what? You’re not alone. Every actor had to start somewhere and yes, that somewhere is right where you’re at now. So before we go any further, relax, take a breath, and know that everyone goes through the same anxiety and nervousness at the beginning of their acting career.
Now, that’s out of the way let’s get started.
Start from scratch
And by that we mean you need to sit down and have a good old think about what you want to achieve as an actor. What are your career goals? What type of acting do you want to be involved in? These may seem like very basic questions, but trust us, the answers will help you get a better idea of what approach you need to take and how to best prepare yourself for your new career.
Take your time with the answers and really have a good think about how you see your career progressing. One thing we will say, however, is that if you’re getting into acting to become rich and famous, that’s probably not the right kind of motivation for you. We’re not saying that you can’t become both of those things, but if those are your only goals and you don’t have a love of performing, then you’re unlikely to succeed in the long run. This is because becoming a successful actor is a lot of hard work and it could be many years before you get your big break. Steve Carrel, Melissa McCarthy, Samuel L. Jackson, and Morgan Freeman all got their big breaks after struggling for many years in smaller roles.
Make a Plan of Action
You’ve had a soul search and learned what exactly it is you want from acting and now it’s time to make a plan of action. That doesn’t necessarily mean setting a goal of hitting the red carpet in three years. It actually means setting yourself some realistic and achievable goals for the initial stages of your career.
Before you make your plan, here are a few questions to take into consideration (yes, more questions!)
- What area of the industry do you want to work in? TV, film, music videos, stage?
- What training will you need in your chosen field?
- Do you need to book coaching sessions?
- How do you find auditions and how can you apply?
- How are you going to practise your acting skills?
- How much is this going to cost you from a financial perspective?
The answers to these questions may seem a little overwhelming, especially if you need to take classes and invest in your skills, but remember that this allows you to set those achievable goals we mentioned earlier.
So create that plan of action and start working your way through the steps that you can handle immediately such as signing up for some acting classes.
Join Acting Classes
Like any job you want, it’s impossible to just jump straight in without at least some level of training. Sure, some people may be naturals on stage or in front of the camera but everyone and we really mean everyone will benefit from acting classes.
You’ll learn so many amazing skills such as how to act with emotion, how to use your body movements to portray those emotions and even how to take direction when on set. Not only will these skills help you when you land your first role but they will also allow you to impress at auditions and let’s face it, that should really be the first major goal, right?
Remember too that while acting classes are essential for honing your skills, they also allow you to network and connect with like-minded people. Who knows who you might meet and what that could lead to in the future.
Taking acting classes also looks great on your resume as it shows casting directors that you’re serious about your career.
You can try out some classes at your local drama school or even look for some online classes if that makes life easier for you. Whatever the approach, you really want to get into some classes as soon as possible.
Get your headshots
As important as your acting skills are, great headshots are equally crucial. They are the business cards of the industry, and your chance to make that first impression.
You’ll need to schedule a photoshoot before you begin applying for auditions or perhaps even before you seek out talent agencies for representation.
Look for photographers who have experience in headshots as they’ll know exactly what kind of images a casting director will want to see. Depending on where you are located, photoshoot prices can vary a great deal. If you are ready to sign with an agency and have yet to get your headshots done, then they should be able to give you some recommendations for a local photographer.
Where to find Experience
Now that you’re on track to develop those essential acting skills, you can start thinking about getting some experience. As a newcomer to the industry, it’s best to start small and work your way up.
There are several ways to do this, and each one will depend on where you live. Drama clubs are a great place to start. Drama clubs are groups of passionate actors who likely have the same aspirations as you. This is perfect for connecting, networking and practising your craft.
Community Theatres and Student Films
Community theatres and student films also offer valuable experience. Similar to drama clubs, they provide a whole host of opportunities that you can add to your showreel and resume. Like any other job, casting directors will want to see an impressive resume and actual work experience always impresses.
One thing you need to be aware of though is that there is such a thing as bad experience! Be careful about what roles you are willing to take on when it comes to student films. We know that they’ll rarely be Oscar-worthy productions, but you still should have a good opportunity to show off your skills on film.
Create your Showreel
A cinematic CV of sorts, a showreel is a video portfolio of your acting highlights. Keep it to around 3-5 minutes and choose your best acting moments to really showcase your talent. Obviously, you’ll need to have some acting highlights to stick in there which is why we mentioned the experience opportunities listed above.
If you don’t have any experience of note, then you can easily record a self tape. This is a short video that you make of yourself performing a monologue for the camera. This should be something that you are super comfortable performing and that really showcases your acting skills. Don’t be afraid to choose something that is a little edgy or difficult, after all, you can keep rerecording it again and again until you get the perfect take!
An actor without a showreel can still land auditions, but it’s so much easier for a casting director to see your potential if they can see you on film. So do yourself a favour and get yours sorted as soon as possible.
Finding a Talent Agency
The final stage of your plan is to search for a talent agency.
A talent agency will help you land jobs by submitting you for suitable roles and recommending you to casting directors and producers. Even if you are an actor with no experience, the agency will do its best to find you that first opportunity that can kickstart your career.
So how do you find a talent agency? Well, you’ve already found Hunter Talent! At Hunter, we welcome actors regardless of their experience or lack of it. That’s because we feel that everyone has the right to land that golden opportunity. So if you’re looking for representation get in touch with Hunter Talent or better yet, apply to join us and let’s get your acting career off to the best possible start.
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