From the very first moment you step into the world of acting, it can sometimes feel like all the people around you are speaking a different language. Callbacks, cues, ensembles, monologues — talk about confusing!
So what does it all mean?
Well, you’re not the first person to ask and you certainly won’t be the last. That’s why we’ve created this acting glossary that explains exactly what all those ‘insider terms’ mean. So if you want to know your ‘prop’ from your ‘side’, this is the guide for you.
Acting Terms quick links
An actor or actress is simply any person who portrays a character in a film, television show, play, or any other form of storytelling both visual and aural. Actors and actresses use their voices, physical attributes and movements to bring characters to life and tell stories that entertain, educate, and inspire audiences.
These days the term actor is often used to refer to male, female, and non-binary people who act. In fact, while still used throughout the industry, use of the term actress has been in steady decline for some time now.
An agent, also known as a talent agent or booking agent, is a person or company that represents actors and helps them book auditions and find work. Acting agents will build relationships with casting directors and other industry professionals to secure auditions and job opportunities for their clients. They can also help to negotiate contracts and manage their clients’ careers including everything from organising press events to promotional work.
Actors often rely heavily on their agents to help them navigate the complex and competitive world of entertainment. We always say ‘behind every good actor is a great agent’!
An audition is the process through which casting directors, producers, or other decision-makers see actors perform so that they can choose the best person for a specific role in a production. The actor may perform a scene from the upcoming production or specific lines that the casting director has chosen for them. In many cases, the actor will perform a monologue that they have prepared themselves ahead of the audition.
Auditions can be held in person or remotely, and actors may be asked to audition several times before being offered a role in the production. This is particularly true for lead roles or other prominent roles in the production.
Backstage refers to the areas of a theatre, performance space, film set, or TV set that cannot be seen by the audience. These areas are typically behind the stage (at the ‘back’ of the ‘stage’) and will often include dressing rooms, storage rooms, and other spaces where actors and crew members can prepare for a performance or even take a break from production.
Backstage can also refer to the behind-the-scenes activities that go into putting on a performance, such as set design, costume design, hair and makeup and rehearsals.
The cast is the group of actors who perform in a production for either film or stage. The cast can include leading actors, supporting actors, and extras, and in some cases it may refer to the crew members who work behind the scenes. Generally speaking though, it usually just refers to the actors and extras that appear in the production.
The cast of a production is typically determined through a casting process, in which actors audition for specific roles. Once the cast has been assembled, they typically rehearse together to prepare for the performance.
A callback is a second audition for an actor who has impressed the casting team during the first audition or open casting. After performing in the first round of auditions, the actor may be called back by the casting directors or producers. This is usually for a second audition in order to see them again and get a better sense of their skills and abilities. Callbacks are typically more in-depth and focused than the initial auditions, and may involve the actor performing additional scenes, reading with other actors, or doing a cold reading from the production’s script.
Callbacks are a very big deal in the world of acting even if an actor doesn’t get the part as it shows that they are at least moving in the right direction.
A casting director is the person responsible for choosing the actors for a production, typically based on their auditions and the needs of the project. The casting director is usually the first person who actors audition for, and they are responsible for evaluating the actors’ initial performances and deciding who is right for the various roles in the production. The casting director may work closely with the director and other members of the creative team to decide who are the best actors for the project, and they may also be responsible for organising and scheduling auditions and callbacks.
In some cases, the casting director may also be involved in negotiating contracts with the actors who land the role. In a nutshell, this is the first person that an aspiring actor needs to impress.
A film character is a person, animal, or other being (ghosts, aliens, monsters) that appears in a film. Film characters can be fictional or based on real people, and they are usually created by the screenwriter or director of the film. The characters in a film play a crucial role, as they are important to the story arc of the production. A character may have specific traits, such as a personality, appearance, and backstory, that help to define them and make them unique. This is hugely relevant to the auditioning process as not every actor can easily portray a character in the way that a director envisions.
Characterisation is the process of creating and developing a character in a story or a play. This means giving a character a unique personality, appearance, and background, and making choices about the character’s thoughts, feelings, and actions. This usually helps with the story arc and most characterisation is relevant to the plot of the production. Characterisation can be done through the dialogue and actions of the character, as well as through the descriptions and reactions of other characters.
The best characterisation will make a character feel realistic and relatable to the audience, and that in turn helps viewers to better understand the story and the characters reasons for behaving in the way that they do.
A cold reading is an auditioning technique whereby an actor is given a script or scene that they have never seen before and must read it and act the part without any preparation. This puts the actor under a little pressure and gives the casting director a chance to see how good their acting and improvisation skills are. It also shows whether or not the actor understands the character from minimal information.
Many actors use cold readings to practise their improvisation skills so they don’t get caught out in an audition.
A cue is a specific line or action that lets an actor know that it is time for them to speak or perform an action. Cues can be verbal, such as a line of dialogue spoken by another actor, or nonverbal, such as a gesture or a change in the lighting or even a movement of a prop. Cues are hugely important to a performance, as they help to keep the actors and the rest of the production on track and in sync.
An actor who misses their cue can cause all kinds of issues so getting this right is incredibly important for any aspiring actor.
A co-star is an actor that appears in production on stage or film alongside other actors of equal importance. A co-star will often play a leading role or a prominent role in the production. In some cases, it refers to a famous actor who appears in a TV show alongside another famous actor.
Dialogue is a conversation or exchange of words that takes place between two or more characters in a stage, radio, or film production. Dialogue is an important element of storytelling as it allows characters to express their thoughts, feelings, and opinions, and it helps to move the plot of the story to its conclusion.
In many cases, dialogue is used to reveal character traits, create tension, and build suspense. It can also be used to add humour or provide insight into the events of the story or the reasoning behind a character’s actions.
A director is the person who is ultimately responsible for the artistic and technical aspects of a film, television show, play, or other production. The director works with the cast and crew to bring the script to life and create a final production that tells a story, delivers a message, or simply engages or educates the audience. The director makes creative decisions, such as which camera angles to choose, and the positioning of actors and how they perform. The director is often considered the driving force behind a production.
An ensemble is a group of actors who work together. This could be to create a play or virtually any other type of acting performance. An ensemble will usually consist of a cast of characters who appear on stage together, or it may be a group of actors who support each other in their individual roles. Ensemble acting involves a high level of collaboration and cooperation, and it can create a sense of unity and cohesiveness in a production. Ensemble members will sometimes also share other responsibilities such as costume changes, props, and scene transitions.
In other words, the ensemble is a ‘catch all’ group of actors who handle pretty much every aspect of the production.
An extra, also known as a background actor or background performer, is someone who appears in a film or television show in a non-speaking capacity. Extras are usually used to fill out scenes and create the illusion of a crowd or just a typical busy environment. Extras may be asked to walk across a street, buy something in a store, stand in a crowd, or eat something in a restaurant. However, they are never given any lines or specific actions to perform. Extras are typically paid a much lower rate than actors who have speaking roles.
Improvisation is the act of creating or performing something spontaneously, without any preparation or planning. In the context of acting, improvisation refers to the practice of creating dialogue, character actions, and other elements of a performance on the spot, rather than following a script. Improvisation, also known as improv, is often used in acting classes and workshops as a way to develop spontaneity and creativity, and it can also be used in auditions and actual performances.
In acting, a lead is the main actor in a production. They are often the one with the most screen time and the most important character arc. The lead is usually the central character of the story, and their actions and decisions drive the plot forward. In a film or television show, the lead will, more often than not, be the main character who is featured in most of the scenes. In a play, the lead is typically the character who appears in the most scenes and has the most dialogue.
In many shows and movies, the lead will be the most famous or well-known actor in the production.
A monologue is a speech or soliloquy performed by a single actor, often as part of an audition or acting exercise. A monologue allows an actor to showcase their acting abilities and express the thoughts, emotions, and experiences of their character. In an audition, an actor may be asked to perform a monologue from the script of the production they are auditioning for, or they might perform one that they have already prepared.
Monologues are a great way for casting directors to see what skills and range an actor has and for an actor to showcase their talents.
Method acting is a technique used by actors to create realistic and emotionally resonant performances. Method actors aim to fully immerse themselves in their characters, using personal experiences and emotions to bring the character to life. To prepare for a role, a method actor may do extensive research and character analysis, as well as spending some time living as the character would.
Method acting was developed in the 1950s and 1960s by Lee Strasberg and the Actors Studio, and it has been used by many well-known actors since.
A playwright is a person who writes plays which are usually intended to be performed on stage or over the radio. Playwrights create the dialogue and characters for the play, and may also be involved in its production. A playwright’s work may also be adapted for the screen. Think William Shakespeare and you’re on the right track!
A prop is a piece of equipment or an item used in a production to help the director with the visual aspect of the story or setting. Props are typically small items that are handled by the actors or are used to furnish the stage or set, and they can include things like furniture, weapons, or other objects that are necessary to the story or the atmosphere of the performance.
Did you know that the term “prop” is short for “property” and refers to the objects that belong to a character? That’s a good one for your next quiz night!
A rehearsal is a scheduled time during which actors and other members of the production team practice scenes and lines. Rehearsals usually take place after the casting process and when the director has developed a creative vision for the production. During rehearsals, the actors will often work with the director and other members of the creative team to explore their characters, develop their performances, and fine-tune the details of the production.
A role is a character that an actor is cast to play in a production. Every role has specific lines, actions, and characteristics that the actor must portray on stage or on screen. There are often multiple roles in a production and while most actors will play a single role, there are some productions where actors will take on multiple roles. While each role is important, leading roles are usually the most relevant to the story arc or plot of a production.
A scene is a part of a script that takes place in a specific location and typically involves a limited number of characters. For example, a scene might be set in a kitchen with two family members arguing over meal preparation. Once it moves to another location, it becomes a new scene. Most productions will have a huge number of scenes that are set in various locations or at different times and may involve different characters.
A scene partner is an actor who shares a scene with another actor in a play or film. Scene partners will often work together to deliver their lines and perform their actions in a way that is natural and believable. In order to do this, they must be able to listen and respond to each other in a way that feels spontaneous and unscripted. Sounds easy, but it’s much more difficult than it looks. Scene partners often develop a strong rapport with each other as they spend a lot of time rehearsing together. In some cases, this can result in an authentic relationship on screen or stage.
A screen test is a filmed audition in which an actor performs a scene from a script or improvises a scene in order to demonstrate their acting ability. In other words, it’s a recorded audition. Screen tests are typically used in the casting process for films and television shows, and they allow the casting director and other members of the production team to see how the actor looks and sounds on camera. Screen tests are not to be mistaken for remote auditions or self tapes as they are usually carried out in the second or third round of auditions and take place in a studio or on set.
A script is the document that contains all dialogue and stage directions for a play, film, or TV show. The script is the blueprint for the performance, and it provides the actors and other members of the production team with the information they need to bring the story to life. Scripts are usually written by screenwriters or playwrights, and they may undergo quite a few revisions and edits before the final version is produced. For plays and stage productions, the script is sometimes known as the “play text” or the “playbook.”
A film set is the area where a film or television production is shot. A film set can be a real location, such as a room, shopping mall, a park, or even a busy city street. It can also be a specially constructed space, such as a studio or a sound stage. The set is where the actors perform their scenes and where all the magic happens. The film set is also where the crew members work to capture the performances on camera and to manage the technical aspects of the production.
An actor’s side is a piece of dialogue or a brief scene that is used as an audition piece or a “sample” of the actor’s work. An actor’s side is usually just a few lines of dialogue that the actor can use to showcase their abilities and to give the casting director or director an idea of their range and style. Monologues can also be considered sides.
Stage directions are specific instructions that tell actors what they should do in a scene, where they should go, and how they should behave on stage. These are often instructions for physical movement and placement. These are written in the script to help the actors understand what is happening and when they need to move or do something. Stage directions can also include descriptions of the characters’ expressions. They may also include details about the set, the lighting, the sound, and the costumes.
Staging is the process of planning and arranging all the various elements of a production. This includes the actors, the set, the lighting, and the sound. Staging can also involve the placement of the actors on set or stage and the design of the set and any costumes. Staging is often carried out by the director with help from designers and, in some cases, the actors themselves.
A stand-in is a person who takes the place of an actor during rehearsals, camera and lighting setup, and other preparations for a film or television production. Stand-ins will usually be the same height and size as the actor and may even look a little like them. The stand-in’s job is to pretty much stand on set so that the crew can set up for a scene knowing where the actor will be and what the shot will look like. Once this is all set up, the stand-in will be replaced by the actor to shoot the scene.
A stunt double is a person who performs stunts and all kinds of dangerous activities that an actor may not be able to do or that the production company may not allow them to do. This can include everything from difficult fight scenes to horse riding or even driving a car at high speed. Stunt doubles must resemble the actor in some way so that when the scene is shot, it looks like the actor has carried out the action themselves. In some case, stunt doubles may wear wigs or masks so that they look more like the actor.
A take is a single recording of a scene. A take may consist of a single shot or multiple shots that are edited together to create a continuous sequence. A take begins when the director calls “action” and ends when the director calls “cut.” During a take, the actors perform the scene and the scene is recorded. It may take multiple takes to get the scene right which is why you may hear ‘take 7’ or even ‘take 29’ on set.
Theatrical makeup used for the stage is a little different to makeup that is used on film. This is because it is designed to be visible from a distance and under bright stage lights. So we often see a much more exaggerated application of makeup that really pops. Film and TV makeup, on the other hand, is slightly more understated although it is still much more noticeable than regular makeup for daily use. Theatrical makeup can be used to create a wide range of visual effects such as injury, age, or even the features of fictional characters.
A table read is a meeting during which the cast and crew of a film or television show gather together and read through the script. It’s an opportunity for the actors to hear the dialogue out loud and get a sense of how the story will play out. It’s also a chance for the director and other members of the creative team to offer feedback and make any necessary changes to the script.
An understudy is a person who learns the role of another actor in a play or a musical, and who is prepared to perform the role if the actor is unable to do so. This is sometimes confused with a stand-in which is explained above. Understudies will attend rehearsals and performances, and they often work closely with the actor to learn their lines and actions. In some cases, an understudy may also be called upon to perform the role in a preview or a performance if the actor is unavailable. Understudies are rarely used in film as recording can be delayed if an actor is ill.
A voiceover is when a voice that is not part of the story is used to provide narration. Voiceovers are often used in films and TV shows to provide context to the story. For example, a voiceover might be used to narrate a character’s thoughts. These are usually recorded in a studio by a professional voice actor, and they are added to the production during the post-production process. Voiceover actors or artists rarely come on set and meet the other cast members.
Wardrobe is the clothing and accessories worn by the actors in a play, film, or TV show. The wardrobe for a production will be designed by a costume designer. They will either create or select the appropriate clothing for a character or a scene. The wardrobe is a vital aspect of the production as it can give the audience a sense of the character by either making them relatable or by lending authenticity to the role. Wardrobe will include items like shoes, hats, jewellery, and props that are worn or carried by the actors.
An acting workshop is a class or program where actors come together to improve their skills. Acting workshops can take many different forms, depending on the focus of the workshop and the goals of the participants. For example, a workshop might focus on acting with emotions or improvisation techniques. Acting workshops are an important part of development for both aspiring and experienced actors.
We’re sure that you will come across quite a few more terms in the world of stage and film production particularly when it comes to the equipment on a film set or the crew members and their responsibilities. However, when it comes to acting alone, the list above covers the most common terms.
Remember, if you’re new to acting or you’re looking for new representation, Hunter Talent is always on the lookout for the best acting talent in the industry. Get in touch today or apply to join the agency and we’ll get right back to you as soon as we can.
Now all that’s left is to wish you the best of… oops, that’s not right! Off you go and break a leg!
As you are no doubt well aware, there’s an automatic assumption that when people speak of modelling, and fashion modelling in particular, it’s in reference to female models. And we totally understand why. After all, fashion ad campaigns always seem to primarily target women, right? But that’s where the misconception lies. If you really think about it, while male models aren’t used as much as female models, there are lots of print campaigns and TV commercials that feature men in all shapes and sizes.
In fact, the male modelling industry is booming like never before and there is huge demand for hard working and reliable male models.
If male modelling is something that you’ve thought about in the past but didn’t have the confidence to try or it’s a career you thought may not offer enough opportunities, we’re here to help you out. Here at Hunter Talent we believe that anyone who dreams of working in the fashion or entertainment industry should have the opportunity to do so. Of course, not everyone can be a success, but everyone can at least give it a try.
And that’s what this guide is all about. In it we’ll explain all there is to know about male modelling such as requirements, work assignments, and pay. We’ll even share a few tips about making it in the industry from some of our successful make models.
So if you want to become a male model, buckle up, grab a coffee and forget everything Zoolander taught you about the industry as we dive into the world of male modelling.
What is a male model?
In this industry we’ve learned that there are no silly questions so yes, we’re going to answer this one. A male model is a man who is hired by brands, companies, and designers to model or promote a product or service through print ad campaigns or TV commercials. Generally speaking, clients will hire men for male modelling roles, but as the industry embraces diversity, it’s not uncommon for non-binary people or those who identify as men to land modelling assignments that are defined as jobs for male models.
A male model will do pretty much everything that a female model will do although assignments may be slightly different, but more on that later.
Can anyone be a male model?
Like we said earlier, Hunter Talent is all about the dream, so yes, anyone can be a male model. This is particularly true in recent years as the fashion and entertainment industries have embraced diversity and moved somewhat away from the typical image of a male model. For example, older male models are much more in vogue now than ever before.
That said, male models who want to work in runway modelling will most likely need to fall within a certain height and weight range. This is simply because runway modelling tends to focus on the classic model figure as it is easier to make clothes for a runway show that will fit multiple models and will require minimal adjustments and alterations on the day of the show. In the past, these requirements extended into all forms of male modelling, and that’s why there tends to be more opportunities for models who fit into that category.
Those general requirements for a male model are
Height – 6’ or taller
Weight – 77kg or less
Waist – 32” or smaller
We really must point out though that these physical requirements are very general and not falling within these ranges usually just means that you may not get any runway opportunities. We know many male models who are smaller or larger and who have forged a successful career.
For example, you could be a plus size model which means that your waist is 34” or greater.
What we’re saying here is that anyone, regardless of shape or size should feel comfortable trying out for male modelling gigs.
Is male modelling easy?
This is a very common question and most people who ask it are usually of the impression that modelling is a walk in the park. After all, it’s just smiling for the cameras, right?
Here’s the thing, if male modelling was really that easy then why hasn’t everyone had a go at it? The truth is that all forms of modelling are pretty tough going. For example, if you’re a fitness model, then you’ll spend a lot of time maintaining your physique and that’s not even counting the actual work of modelling.
Look, we don’t want to scare you, but let’s be honest — male modelling is hard work. A typical shoot could see you in the studio or shooting on location for an entire day and as the model, you and the photographer will likely be the two people that are working non-stop throughout the shoot. You’ll also have to factor in any time spent travelling to and from the job. Then there’s the time you’ll spend at home practising your skills or learning new ones to improve your chances of booking work.
But one of the hardest aspects of male modelling and modelling in general is the fact that you will face tons of rejection in your career. And that’s just as true for successful models as it is for those starting out. If you think about it, it makes absolute sense. If fifty or sixty male models are up for an assignment, 99% of them are going to be left disappointed. But that’s perfectly okay as it’s just part of the industry and something you have to get used to. For most male models starting out, this can be one of the toughest obstacles to overcome, but trust us, it happens to everyone.
What skills do male models need?
If you think it’s just smiling and walking then you’re in for a shock. Do you know how many different ways there are to walk down a runway or how many emotions you can express with just a subtle change in your facial expression? Let’s just say there’s a whole lot you’ll need to learn before you can even think about booking work regularly.
Here are some of the most common skills that every male model must have in his repertoire.
Strike a pose
Take a look at any successful model’s portfolio. People like David Gandy, Jordan Barret, and Tyson Beckford all have their signature looks and that’s great. But you’ll also see how they hold themselves and pose for the camera can vary a great deal depending on the campaign. And those poses are not accidental. They are carefully thought out poses that they practise on a daily basis so they can easily drop into one when needed.
You will need to have a similar ability because you will need to help the photographer out at the shoot. There’s only so much they can do to direct you and models who can easily strike a variety of poses without too much direction are the ones that are requested again by the photographer.
Check out those profiles and try to emulate a few poses. We find that it’s a good idea to name or number them and to practise them for at least 10-15 minutes each and every day.
Walk the walk
Even if runway modelling is not on your radar, it pays to learn how to do the model walk as you never know when you may need it. If a client likes you in their print campaign, they might insist that you’re hired for a live event or fashion show. The last thing you want is to be unprepared for that possibility.
So head over to YouTube and start watching famous male models and their walks. If you’re new to modelling, then you’re not going to enjoy this the first time around and you may even feel silly doing it, but it’s a skill that you’re expected to have so get up and start practising. It’s a good idea to record your walk and rewatch it each time as it will be easier to spot a slouch or an awkward stride when watching on video instead of in the mirror.
An added benefit of learning how to walk and recording yourself doing so is that you’ll become much less self-conscious and you may even get a little confidence boost along the way. Two things that will certainly help you when it comes to actual paid modelling work.
Just a little patience
Well, perhaps more than just a little. A male model needs to be patient for several reasons. The first is the fact that very few models land assignments within the first few months of becoming a model. So you’ll need to be patient and know that your time will come and that you just need to keep those skills sharp.
The second and most important is the fact that a modelling shoot can be anything from tedious and boring to crazy hectic. In the first instance, you’ll spend a lot of time sitting or standing waiting for things to be set up just right or for other models to finish their shoots. Meanwhile, at busy shoots you may be asked to do the same thing again and again and again or you may have to change outfits every few minutes and have your hair and makeup redone. In both cases, you’ll need to be patient and understand that this is just how it is. A model who is impatient will be remembered for all the wrong reasons and you don’t want that.
Okay, so this isn’t necessarily a must have skill, but it is something that will impress and show a client or photographer that you’re serious about your craft. So what do we mean by industry knowhow? We’re talking modelling trends, fashion lingo, and general stuff about poses for certain niches.
Like we said, this is not an essential skill, but having this type of knowledge also makes it easier for the photographer or client to explain things to you while you can also offer some input if you have any. And as you may have guessed, any male model who is easy to work with stands a better chance of booking more work. We’re sounding like a broken record here!
Good people skills
Working at a photo shoot or at a fashion show is all about teamwork. You have the hair and makeup people, the photographer and their assistant, the wardrobe people, other models, and perhaps even the client will be there too. And yes, you’ll likely need to speak with or work closely with each and every one of them.
This is where your awesome people skills will come in handy. Everyone is working hard towards the same goal and if you can show yourself to be a good team player, then it bodes well for your chances of booking work in the future with the same photographer or client. Just remember though that it’s not just the photographer and client that pays attention to how you interact so it pays to be nice to everyone.
There’s also the possibility that you may be asked to do a live event such as an exhibition. In this case the client may actually want you to be able to answer a few basic questions about a product or service or at the very least direct people to someone who can. As you can imagine, good people skills are essential here.
Male model work and assignments
Fashion, catalogues, TV commercials — if there’s one thing we can say with certainty about a male model’s working life it’s that it’s certainly varied.
As a male model you can expect to be hired for all kinds of assignments from the mundane to the bizarre. You could be doing a catalogue shoot for menswear one day and do a shoot for a hotel brochure the next. As with all other types of modelling, no two days are ever the same.
We’ve had male models who have worked on everything from health services to DIY products. To be perfectly honest, the word varied doesn’t even cover it. And that’s what makes it such an interesting career.
Then there are the live events such as exhibitions and fashion shows. These can be a lot of fun and are often great opportunities to network and build relationships with people within the industry.
How much do male models get paid?
Male models get paid the same rates as female models. In other words, the industry standard rates. These rates are a benchmark for model pay and the minimum that your agency should accept for an assignment. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get paid more. This is why it’s difficult to pin down exactly how much you can expect to earn during your time as a male model.
Bigger clients will often pay higher rates for models who will appear in national or international campaigns while smaller companies may pay the basic rate for a quick catalogue shoot. There’s also the possibility that when you make a name for yourself, you can negotiate higher rates — fingers crossed.
Generally speaking, a new male model can expect to earn $350 to $600 for their first assignments. But remember that you won’t make this kind of money every day. Like we said earlier, you’ll need to be patient as the jobs certainly won’t come rolling in at the outset.
It’s also worth remembering that you only get out of modelling what you put into it. That means that the harder you work and the more you practise your modelling skills, the more chance you have of booking work at higher rates.
A male model’s tips for career success
We’ve spent quite a lot of time working with male models here at Hunter Talent and so we asked them for a few tips on working in the industry. Here’s their advice for career success.
Treat modelling like any job
Modelling is a career choice and even if you don’t plan to do it full time, you should always treat it like any other job that you take on. What this means is that you treat those who work within the industry with the respect they deserve, take your responsibilities seriously, and always show up for a job on time. This attitude of professionalism reflects well on you and is actually a great way to keep yourself motivated.
Study all the skills
Remember all those skills we mentioned earlier? Well, you’ll want to learn them all and then learn them again. And keep learning them and relearning them no matter how successful in your career you become. One thing that can ruin a promising career is complacency and the advice of most male models is that thinking you know it all is a surefire way to limit your chances of success.
Don’t listen to the haters
People will always comment on how you look or what you have done or even your poses, that’s just part of being in the limelight. However, it’s important that you learn to tune those comments out especially if they are negative in any way at all. Male modelling is often thought of in a negative light and some people won’t take your career choice seriously. They may even laugh about it, but once again, it’s vital that you focus on yourself and not what others are saying about you. They may even be jealous of your success!
Always wear sunscreen
Baz Luhrmann knew what he was talking about when he said that you should ‘always wear sunscreen.’
As a male model, this is doubly important. Your skin health must be on point and in Australia, that’s only possible if you protect yourself from the sun. Even on an overcast day, we suggest covering yourself up and so your skin is protected at all times.
Cut out the junk
It doesn’t matter what kind of exercise regime you have, if you’re not eating healthy, it’s all for nothing. This means that no matter how much you love those doughnuts, it’s time to cut them out and start eating properly. Of course, you can have a treat every now and then, but for the most part it should be fresh fruit and veggies, along with the right kind of carbs. We won’t get into it too much here, but the right diet will have a major impact on your energy levels and that is hella good for your modelling career.
Modelling is no longer about who you know but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t help to have a few good relationships with industry people. If nothing else, it puts you on first name terms with a photographer and means that shoots are less awkward to get started. Of course, it’s not just about photographers. You should also connect with other industry people including other models too. You never know where a connection with someone might bring you.
How to get started as a male model
Sign up with an agency
This is the absolute first step that we recommend to all potential models whether they are male or female. Finding an agency should be your priority as working without one and representing yourself can be extremely tiring and could see you miss out on a lot of opportunities. This is because casting directors, photographers, and clients will often come directly to an agency before releasing a brief to the public. So yeah, finding an agency is a must.
But don’t sign up with any agency, it has to be the right agency. That means an agency that will work hard for you and will offer you guidance and perhaps some free resources like this guide you’re reading right now. Yes, Hunter Talent would be ideal, but we still think you should do a little homework and make sure that we’re a good fit for each other.
One thing we will tell you to watch out for is an agency that is all about the money. If they simply want to sign you up on the spot with no face-to-face meeting either in person or through video call, we’d recommend that you move along to another option. An agency that does this is just after your membership fee which is certainly a red flag.
Build your portfolio
Building your portfolio might seem like an impossible task given that you have no work experience to put in there yet but you can easily ask a professional photographer to create one for you with 5-6 shots of you in various poses. This will be more than enough for a client to see what you have on offer and decide if you’re suited to the assignment.
Just be sure to get it done by a professional photographer, right? The client will expect to see a professionally shot portfolio and that’s what you should give them. Anything less and you have no chance of landing a job. Your agency should have some recommendations for local photographers with portfolio experience so choose one and go from there.
Look after yourself
And by that we mean both physically and mentally. Like we said earlier, eating healthy and looking after your skin should be a priority but so too should getting enough sleep and relaxing. It’s important that you work hard, but remember that it’s also important not to burn yourself out by pushing yourself too much. Think about your daily regime and try to incorporate plenty of relaxation time along with yo9ur daily exercise. That in itself will do wonders for your mental health and energise you for work.
We keep banging on about those skills but they really are that important. So keep on top of them and look out for anything new that you have yet to learn about being a male model. Continuous practice will also improve your self-confidence and help alleviate any stress you might feel about working on a shoot.
How to prepare for a male model shoot
It’s here at last. You’ve been patient, taken care of yourself, and practised all those skills and your first paid assignment is just around the corner. But once the excitement dies down, the nerves start to kick in and all these doubts cloud your mind. Don’t worry, it’s absolutely normal to feel this way. Don’t stress over it though, once you follow these simple tips, your first male modelling job should go off without a hitch.
Don’t do anything out of the ordinary
Go karting with friends, rock climbing with your brother, or that lion-taming course voucher you were given for your birthday last year — forget them all. In the run up to your modelling assignment, you should stick to your regular routine. The last thing you want is to injure yourself and have to pull out of your shoot.
Eat normal food
Same advice goes for food. Don’t experiment with a new chilli the night before your shoot. Unusual foods could play havoc on your digestion and you really don’t want gas or unexpected toilet breaks during your shoot. We’d also say the same for drinks too, especially alcohol which you really should give a miss before the shoot anyway.
Plan your route
Sounds silly but knowing how to get to the shoot well in advance is just plain common sense. You’ll need to check for parking or public transport access as you may end up having to add another ten minutes to your journey after you park your car or get off the bus or train. Time is money on a shoot and you don’t want to be the cause of any delays.
Work on those modelling skills
Our last tip for getting started is to start working on those modelling skills and to keep it up for as long as you can. It’s a good idea to set yourself a daily practice routine that you can fit into your schedule. For example, work on poses and your walk for 15-20 minutes each and every morning. Once you get used to it, this will become just another thing that you do in the morning but it will have an incredibly positive impact on your fashion modelling career.
That’s all there is to know about male modelling for now. As your career progresses, you’ll pick up a few more tips and perhaps even figure out a few tricks of the trade yourself. For now though, following the tips in this guide will get you started on the front foot. Just remember that patience in this industry is key.
If you’re interested in becoming a male model and you’re looking for professional representation, then why not give us a shout here at Hunter Talent. We’d be more than happy to have a chat with you to see if we’re a good fit for each other. Even if you opt to sign with another agency, we genuinely hope that the advice in this guide helps you along your way.
The fitness industry has always fared well here in Australia and, as a result, the fitness modelling industry has traditionally been a busy one. But in recent years, and especially since the pandemic, the fitness industry has boomed and, as a result, the demand for fitness models has been off the charts. Here at Hunter Talent, keeping up with that demand has been tough, and so we’re always happy when someone asks us about becoming a fitness model.
With this in mind, we’ve gone ahead and created this ‘all you need to know’ guide for anyone, male or female, who is interested in becoming a fitness model. From the physical requirements for the industry through to how to prepare for a fitness modelling shoot — this is the full lowdown on what it takes to get your start and succeed in the industry. And trust us, it’s not all about having a great set of abs and some killer biceps.
So break out the sweatbands and gym shoes and let’s see if you’ve got what it takes.
What is a fitness model?
It might seem like a silly question, but the thing is, a fitness model may not be exactly what you think.
Generally speaking, a fitness model is a model who works with fitness and lifestyle brands that sell fitness attire and products. Simple enough so far, right? But that’s not the only type of client that they work with. Fitness models can be hired by clients who have general healthcare products or even medical devices and services. We’ll talk a little more about this later in the fitness model work section, but suffice to say, fitness models’ primary function is to use their fit and healthy physique to promote general fitness, health, and wellbeing products and services.
A fitness model will often feature in print campaigns and TV commercials and will occasionally do live events such as exhibitions or fashion shows for fitness attire.
Can anyone be a fitness model?
Yes and no. At Hunter Talent we believe that anyone can achieve their goals with enough hard work and determination. So yes, we believe that anyone can be a fitness model once they have put in those hard yards.
But there are some requirements that you’ll have to meet before any clients will consider you for work. And yes, these are physical requirements.
First off, it’s height and weight.
Female models – 5’8” or taller weighing around 59kg or less
Male models – 6’ or taller weighing around 77kg or less
These are general requirements and for the right model, there may be some wiggle room especially when it comes to weight. After all, a model with a lot of muscle mass will weigh more than a model with a slender but highly toned body. So don’t be put off if you’re not in those ranges.
However, the following are often considered must-haves for both male and female fitness models:
- Well-toned physique
- Minimal body fat
- Healthy skin
Can anyone be a fitness model?
There’s no point in saying otherwise — the fact is that fitness clients want fit models so anyone carrying a little extra weight or out of shape may struggle to land fitness modelling gigs.
That said, there’s nothing stopping you from doing those crunches and spending more time in the gym to achieve your goal.
Is fitness modelling easy?
Anyone who tells you that any kind of modelling is easy has obviously never worked in the industry. All kinds of modelling such as runway modelling, fashion modelling, and even hand modelling is tough work. But we have to say, fitness modelling is quite possibly the toughest of them all.
As a fitness model, it’s super important that you maintain your physique at all times. This means frequent trips to the gym and plenty of healthy eating and that’s before we even think about auditions and polishing up your modelling skills. You’ll need to stay on top of all of that before you even set foot inside a studio for a paying assignment.
Being physically fit isn’t enough though. You’ll also need to be mentally tough. This is because not only will you experience plenty of rejection but clients and photographers will speak about your body in a very matter of fact way.
Now, on the topic of rejection, this is part and parcel of the modelling industry. All models will face rejection on countless occasions and that’s perfectly fine and normal. After all, a client can only hire a fitness model that meets their specific requirements. You’ll get used to this as time goes on.
The way people speak about you is another aspect of fitness modelling that people don’t often expect. This is especially true for fitness models as the reason you are hired is often related to your physique. For this reason, photographers and clients and even casting directors will often talk about you and your body as if you are not there. You just need to remember that anything they say is not personal but merely an observation based on the project you’re auditioning for or working on.
Even if these comments start to feel a little negative, don’t let it bother you. It’s nothing that is specifically wrong with you, it’s just that you may be unsuitable for their needs. This is the one aspect of fitness modelling that can be tough at times so you’ll need to learn how to accept that it’s nothing personal.
What skills do fitness models need?
Fitness models, like all models, will need a certain set of skills if they are to succeed in the industry.
General modelling skills required include the ability to pose on command for a photographer and being able to hold a pose for a prolonged period. This is much harder than it sounds, but if you’re fit, then it should be no trouble at all. With regards to the poses, we’d suggest checking out some of the big fitness models in the industry and seeing how they pose in their shoots. You can simply try to imitate them in front of a mirror, but make sure you learn a few.
Fitness models may also be asked to flex their muscles for a shot. This could be your legs, arms, back or pretty much anywhere that you can flex. So get flexing in front of the mirror at the gym or at home so you can drop a little flex into a pose if required.
It shouldn’t really need to be said that you’ll also need to be able to run, jump, lift, and stretch with relative ease. These actions will be required to capture the perfect shot for print campaigns and will certainly be needed for TV commercials.
One skill that you may not realise you’ll need as a fitness model is to have an in-depth knowledge of all things fitness. You’ll be expected to understand all the fitness terminology, know how to use gym equipment, and understand the latest trends in the world of fitness.
Believe it or not, fitness models are also required to be good with people. As mentioned earlier, you may be hired to do live events such as exhibitions and product launches. At these events you’ll be expected to speak to people about the product you are promoting and perhaps even push a sale or two. This is why people with outgoing personalities are often well-suited to fitness modelling.
Fitness model work and assignments
Now you may think you know exactly what kind of work a fitness model will do, and for the most part, you’re probably right. Fitness models will work with any client who has a product or service that is fitness related. This includes gyms, fitness clothing brands, fitness equipment brands, and much more besides.
We also mentioned earlier that fitness models also do a lot of work for general health products and services along with medical devices. This is quite a busy market covering all kinds of prescription drugs and supplements so there’s plenty of this kind of work available.
Then there are the other types of assignments that you may not think of. For example, a bicycle manufacturer may need some fitness models to promote their bikes or a local government may hire you for a campaign promoting local hiking trails. Even camping gear brands may prefer to have a fitness model promote their products for a particular campaign. We’ve also come across a few hotels that wanted fitness models to appear in shots of their swimming pools or on their beach.
One thing we will say about fitness modelling work is that it’s certainly varied with no two jobs quite the same. As you can imagine, this makes it a very interesting career.
How much do fitness models get paid?
When we’re asked the question ‘how much do fitness models get paid?’ our answer is usually along the lines of ‘that depends’. This is because it really does depend on the model, the assignment, and the client. There are so many variables that it’s impossible to accurately predict how much you will make.
Fitness models can be paid anywhere from $500 to $5,000 for a photoshoot so you can imagine how tough it is for us to give you an exact figure. One thing we are certain of though, is that if you sign with Hunter Talent, we will negotiate the best possible rate for your time. And that won’t be small change as our clients tend to pay accordingly for the great talent that is on our books.
If you start to make a name for yourself it’s a good idea to supplement your fitness modelling income by doing some influencer marketing work. This type of work will see you promote a product or service on social media to your followers. You could be paid anywhere from $200 to $20,000 for a post, but this will depend on how big a following you have and how engaged your followers are with your content. So if you are starting out as a fitness model, do yourself a favour and get started on social media too.
A fitness model’s tips for success
If you are genuinely interested in becoming a fitness model and want to make this work, then it’s best to start off on the right foot. And what better way to do that than by following some of these tips that have come from successful fitness models that we have worked with in the past.
Practice those poses
A lot of new fitness models think that just showing up to the shoot in peak condition is enough, but it really isn’t. You need to practice those modelling poses that we spoke about earlier. Learn how to smile on cue or flex a muscle here and there when asked and above all else, you’ll need to be able to hold a pose.
In this instance, practice really does make perfect.
Get to know the industry
You will be expected to know the ins and outs of the fitness industry and understand all the latest trends. So spend some time staying on top of what is going on around you by following fitness brands and influencers on social media.
It’s also a good idea to learn about a company if your agency tells you that you’re being out forward for an assignment. This means that if you land an audition, you can speak with authority about the client’s products or services if asked. This is a surefire way to impress a client or casting director.
You never know who is watching
Remember what we said about getting yourself on social media? Well, if you follow our tip and share your journey and experiences, you need to be aware that anyone could be watching you. This means potential clients or even past ones, so try to avoid saying anything negative and remain positive at all times. In fact, while you should certainly be yourself on social media, you should also treat the platform like one big open audition. Like we said, you never know who is watching.
Think about what you eat
Your physique is what will get you your assignments and so it makes sense to maintain it. That means thinking carefully about what you eat and not indulging in too many random cheat days. A client will hire you or call you in for an audition based on the images in your portfolio (which we’ll talk about later) and they will expect you to look the same as you do in your photos.
Staying in shape is essential, but all that working out takes time and energy and you need to leave something in the tank for any assignments. This is why it’s vital that you don’t tire yourself out by overtraining. Getting enough sleep and relaxation is equally as important as working out, but then you probably know this already, right?
Start networking as early as possible
Working as a fitness model isn’t about who you know, but at the same time it doesn’t hurt to have the right connections. As soon as you decide that fitness modelling is the career for you, it’s time to start connecting with people in the industry. You can do this on social media or in real life, but remember that it has to be a genuine connection for it to work. That means actually speaking with people in person or engaging with them on social media.
How to get started as a fitness model
Decide what physique you want
Yes, as strange as it sounds, you will need to think carefully about the physique that you want before you become a fitness model. It doesn’t matter if it’s lean and toned or big and muscular because there’s plenty of work for either type of model. What’s really important is that you maintain this physique throughout your time as a model. We’re banging that physique drum again, but it’s so very important as clients expect you to look the same as you do in your portfolio.
So if you’re currently working hard towards making some significant muscle gains or cutting down on your body fat, it may be a good idea to hold off jumping into modelling until you’ve achieved that goal.
Take care of your overall health
Clients will expect to see you in good shape but that doesn’t just mean your abs or toned arms. They want to see healthy skin, good teeth, shiny hair (if you have any), and a great smile. In other words, they want the complete package. So don’t spend too much time focusing on building muscle and keeping trim when you also need to focus on the rest of your body too. Eat well, sleep well, and make sure to set aside some time for pure relaxation.
That means honing your modelling skills by studying what successful models are doing in the industry. Look at their poses, how they hold themselves, even their smiles. Then create your own poses and perfect them at home or in the gym.
You’ll also need to study up on the industry. As mentioned before, this means following and understanding the latest fitness and health industry trends. Paying close attention to this will also help you decide which types of clients or assignments you might be best suited to.
Sign with a fitness modelling agency
You don’t need to find an agency that is solely dedicated to fitness models, but you will have to find one who has worked with some well-known brands and household names in the past. This shows that the agency has the right connections which could make all the difference when clients go looking for new talent.
We could go right ahead here and toot our own horn, but the fact is that perhaps Hunter Talent is not a good fit for you. Then again we might be the perfect agency for your new career. The point we’re trying to make here is that you should do some research to see how you feel about an agency before you sign anything.
Don’t accept an agency that wants to sign you over the phone without at least having a video call or in-person meet. Don’t accept an agency that is rude to you or talks down to you — this is a team effort and respect is a two-way street after all. And most importantly, don’t accept an agency that makes you any guarantees of work. The nature of this business means that no one can guarantee you work, ever. It’s your hard work and dedication along with some clever promotion from your agency that will land you the best assignments.
Create a fitness modelling portfolio
This is the fun part and also a hugely important part of your journey. A fitness model’s portfolio is the first point of contact for clients, photographers, and casting directors who are in search of talent. This means that it’s crucial that yours is on point and creates that all-important great first impression.
All modelling portfolios should be shot by a professional photographer and in your case, ideally one with fitness modelling experience. This way they’ll understand the right poses that accentuate your physique and highlight any physical attributes that might appeal to clients. This won’t be cheap, but look at it this way; it’s an investment in your future career and could mean the difference between success and failure.
A word of warning — your portfolio must be an accurate reflection of who you are which is why we are so insistent on reminding you to maintain your physique.
Become a fitness model
That’s about as far as we can take you on your journey to become a fitness model, unless of course you sign with Hunter, then we’ll have lots of work to do. Seriously though, if you want to succeed as a fitness model you will need to be as dedicated in your career as you are in the gym.
It takes a lot of focus and determination to get ahead in the fitness modelling industry, but with some hard work, a little luck, and the right agency behind you, we believe you can make it.
So if you think you’ve got the right stuff and would like to sign with us here at Hunter, apply to join us now or get in touch and we can answer any questions you might have about getting started as a fitness model.
Anyone who has spent any time in the acting business will know that auditioning is pretty much everything. It’s how a casting director separates those with potential from those who are not quite there yet. But most importantly, it’s how actors land roles and let’s face it, it’s those paid roles that pay the bills, right? Like we said, auditioning is pretty much everything when it comes to successful management of your acting career.
So with something that is so very important in your career, it kinda makes sense to spend a bit of time improving your skills in that area. Unfortunately though, this is where some actors stumble in their fledgling careers. They spend a lot of time improving their acting skills (which is awesome) but fail to realise that understanding the auditioning process in its entirety will improve their chances of success tenfold.
What is an audition?
Everyone probably knows the answer to this but this is a complete guide so we’re going to explain everything and that includes the basics!
An acting audition is an interview-style meeting in which an actor presents their skills and abilities to a casting director or other person in charge of casting for a specific project or production. The audition typically involves the actor performing a scene or monologue from the script, a monologue of their own, or improvising a scene based on the director’s instructions. The purpose of the audition is to give the casting director an idea of the actor’s abilities and how they might fit into the project. As explained earlier, acting auditions are a crucial part of the casting process, and actors often have to audition multiple times before they are cast in a role. This is particularly true for lead roles or any speaking role with more than a few lines.
What is a booking ratio?
An actor’s booking ratio is a measure of how successful they are at getting acting jobs or to put it in simple terms, it’s how often they ace that audition.
It’s calculated by dividing the number of jobs an actor has booked by the number of auditions they have attended. Sounds pretty straightforward and that’s because it is. For example, if an actor has attended 10 auditions and has been successful in booking 3 of them, their booking ratio would be 0.3, or 30%. A high booking ratio is generally seen as a sign of success in the acting industry and suggests that an actor knows how to impress at an audition.
Generally speaking, an agency will hope that an actor will book 1 role from every 15-25 auditions they attend. It doesn’t sound like much, but when you take into account that for every single audition an actor may be up against scores of other actors and it’s not such a bad ratio after all.
Are auditions easy?
Even if you’re completely new to the acting scene and have yet to perform anything more taxing than a primary school play, you probably have an inkling as to how we’re going to answer this one.
The answer is, of course, absolutely not.
Auditioning is one of the hardest aspects of acting. It’s time consuming, extremely stressful, and for the most part is simply a rinse and repeat cycle. And that’s possibly what makes it so very difficult to master. The fact that you are constantly being told that you haven’t quite got that something that the casting director needs for a production can really drag you down. But it’s worth remembering that everyone faces this kind of rejection throughout their careers no matter how talented or successful they are. Did you know that both Tom Holland and Michael B Jordan auditioned for the role of Finn in Star Wars. Instead the casting director went with a relatively unknown John Boyega.
So yep, auditions are tough. Accept this from the start and you’re on the right track to success.
What skills do actors need to ace an audition?
Okay, so you’re probably thinking that acting is the only skill you’ll need to impress at an audition, but your acting skills are only part of the whole package. Below, we’ve listed everything you need to have in your locker before you can realistically hope to land that role.
Yes, let’s start out with the simple one — acting is the core skill that all actors need to have. To put it simply, this involves being able to portray a character convincingly, using body language, facial expressions, and vocal skills to bring the character to life.
You might not feel it, but actors need to be confident in their abilities and be able to project confidence when they are auditioning. Not only can this help you to put your best foot forward and give a strong performance but it creates a good impression in the casting director’s mind. Of course, you don’t want to come off as cocky or overconfident, but if you show a certain level of confidence in your own abilities, the casting director will know that you won’t need to have your hand held throughout the filming process.
You know what they say about a good start being half the battle, it was probably an actor who wrote that because if there’s one thing an actor needs, it’s to be well-prepared for the audition. This means studying the script, researching the character, and rehearsing the scene or monologue beforehand. Your research could involve watching old versions of the production (if available) or reading the novel if it’s a screen adaptation of a book. But regardless of your research, you need to know those lines inside out and be able to recite them in a variety or emotions. It’s not uncommon for a casting director to test an actor’s skills by asking them to perform a few lines using an emotion that is completely out of tune with the scene.
Actors need to be flexible and adaptable. Remember what we just said about acting out a scene in an unusual way? Well, that’s the kind of thing that can happen at the drop of a hat if the director decides to change tack mid-scene. In the audition itself, you may be asked to improvise and add something of your own to the scene. Or, on the other hand, if the script is top secret like Star Wars usually is, then you may be asked to perform a few lines from a classic in a certain way. This is what happened to Eddie Redmayne when he auditioned for Kylo Ren and was asked to perform a scene from Pride and Prejudice as a ‘baddie’.
Acting can be a competitive and challenging industry. No scratch that — acting is a competitive and challenging industry, and actors need to be persistent if they want to succeed. This is because there are scores if not hundreds of hopeful actors going for the same role as you. So regardless of your lack of success in the audition room, you need to keep plugging away and working on those skills. Keep doing that and your time will come.
We almost forgot one of the most important skills and that is a great memory. You’ll need to memorise those lines if you have been given any to prepare and will no doubt have to perform your own monologue at some point. Safe to say, your memory skills will certainly need to be on point. If this is something that you struggle with, then you really need to get on top of that as soon as possible because if you land that role, acting with a script in hand is not going to happen.
There’s also the added bonus that good memory skills will certainly be something that a casting director is looking for especially if you’re in the second or third round of auditions and have been given lines to prepare. So do yourself a favour and try some memory techniques to get yourself in the right mindset.
What are the different types of auditions?
If you’ve been in the industry for any period of time, then you’ll know that auditions come in many shapes and sizes and even when they’re supposed to be the same, very few rarely are. Below we’ve listed the most common types of auditions with a little explanation as to what’s involved and when a production company or casting director might use each type.
Open casting audition
This type of casting is when a public notice is placed online, in a newspaper, or advertised on the radio or TV. These usually take place in a large meeting place such as a convention centre or a hotel reception room. An open casting audition can be for anything from extras in a production to a lead role. However, open castings for lead roles are usually only used when the casting director is having a tough time finding suitable talent. Generally speaking, more high profile roles are cast through private auditions.
Open casting auditions are most commonly used when a casting director wants to see as many people as they can in as short a time as possible. If attending one, you can expect to join scores if not hundreds of other actors waiting in line to audition. You will not have a set time for your audition as it’s usually first come, first seen.
You will need to bring along a resume including your headshot and you may be asked to do a cold reading of a script (we’ll talk more about this later) or perform a monologue (this too!) Just to note that due to the nature of open casting auditions, you may have to perform your monologue or cold reading in front of quite a few people and possibly even some other actors who are also auditioning.
This is an audition where the casting director has only requested that actors from a specific agency, union, drama school, or theatre group attend the audition. There are no public notices posted about the audition and if you don’t belong to the group in question, you cannot audition for the role.
These types of auditions can be quite helpful for a casting director particularly if they already have a good idea of the talent that is available within the group or if the group is well known for a particular reason. This could be the fact that all the actors in the group are good singers or have dancing skills — useful when casting for a musical.
Closed auditions are a little more relaxed and less hurried than open casting auditions as quite often the casting director will already have a good relationship with the leader of the group, the school, or the agency that the actors are signed to.
This is the type of audition that you probably think of whenever you hear the word audition. It’s when a casting director invites specific actors to audition for a role usually based on their agent’s recommendation or that of another casting director.
For a private audition, an actor will have a set time and perhaps some instructions to help them prepare for the audition. This could be anything from a few lines to learn or what clothes to wear. The audition will take place in a room with just the actor and the casting director and their team.
Although it may sound a little more intimidating, private auditions are actually often much less stressful for all involved as everything is set to a schedule. It also helps that the waiting room isn’t packed with dozens of people as there would be at an open casting audition.
The online audition became hugely popular during the pandemic for obvious reasons. Once casting directors embraced the technology and realised just how convenient and time saving they are, online auditions really kicked off. Now, it is very common to see casting briefs calling for an initial online audition for a role before the casting director makes their shortlist of suitable candidates.
The online audition is typically held through Zoom but can be via a Skype call or any other type of video conferencing/calling software the casting director prefers. And just like a private audition, the actor will have a set time for their audition and perhaps a few instructions on how to prepare.
While online auditions are incredibly convenient, it’s super important that you make sure that you have a stable, high speed internet connection and that your camera is up to the task. It’s also vital that you have a quiet space for the audition where you have either plenty of natural light or you can set up a ring light. The last thing you want is for the audition to tank because the casting director had difficulty seeing or hearing you properly.
Self tape audition
Self tape auditions are growing in popularity just as online auditions are, but you may be surprised to learn that they have actually been around for a very long time. But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s explain what it is. A self tape audition is when the casting director asks you to record yourself performing a scene or your own monologue and then send it to them for review.
This type of audition is used as a time saver that allows a casting director to view the recordings at a time of their choosing and is most commonly used for a first round of auditions. As we said earlier, this type of audition has been around for a very long time and actors and there was a time when actors would send their VHS tapes to the casting director by courier! Yep, that long ago. These days though, it’s all dropbox or emails.
The great thing about this type of audition is that you can record your audition as many times as you like before sending off the version that you are happiest with. No casting director watching you and no need to leave the house or deal with nerves. It’s pretty much perfect, BUT unless it’s for a smaller role, you will almost certainly have to attend an in-person audition for the second round.
How to prepare for your first audition?
So you’ve landed your first ever audition! A momentous occasion that is certainly a cause for celebration. But hang on a second before you get too excited; you still need to actually impress, right? Well, we hate to add to those butterflies that are no doubt going haywire in your stomach right about now, but there are a few things that you simply must get sorted before your audition so that you give yourself the best possible chance of success
Temper those expectations
Reality check time! There is always a chance that you will nail that first audition and land the role, but that’s not likely for a first timer. The truth is that very few actors book work on their first audition and that’s perfectly okay. So with this in mind, you need to temper those expectations and don’t get ahead of yourself. What we recommend is treating your first audition like it’s part of the learning process which it is. This way you’ll be more relaxed knowing that it’s not necessarily about getting the part but about gaining experience in the audition room.
Do your homework
And by that we mean do ALL the homework. That means researching the role or production if you have any details, learning your lines, and working on your physical movements and facial expressions. Yes, these are just as important as your lines because acting on screen or stage is also visual.
The best prep you can do is with a friend who is also an actor or a family member who just wants to help. They can read with you or role play the part of the casting director. However, we would just warn you about taking someone’s feedback too seriously. In some cases, a friend may suggest something that feels wrong to you such as changing your intonation. If that’s the case, then we always suggest going with your gut feeling. After all, it’s you that will play the part in the audition.
Practise out loud
Reading to yourself and memorising your lines or monologue is fine when you’re on the bus or train, but when you’re at home or wherever you rehearse, you’ll want to always read your lines or recite your monologue out loud. You want to get a good feel for how the words sound and how they feel as you say them. This is particularly useful for any scene or lines that involve a lot of emotion as it will give you a chance to experiment with intonation and delivery. Who knows, you may even discover a great approach to a scene purely by accident.
Make a home movie
Yep, if you’re not already doing this then now is the time to start. Every aspiring actor should spend some of their rehearsal time reviewing their own performances and checking to see where they can improve. And this is just as true when prepping for an audition as when getting ready for a paid role. Set up a camera, act out your scene, see where you can improve and do it again. Even if you don’t have any lines or scenes to prep for the audition, then you can do this with your monologue because there’s a good chance you may be asked to perform it in the audition room.
Check your breathing
Still breathing? Phew, that was a close one 🙂 Seriously though, your breathing can have a huge impact on how you deliver your lines and every actor worth their salt has a couple of breathing techniques up their sleeves that they do when prepping to act. For example, the ‘Hum Ha’ technique is a good one. This involves breathing in and when exhaling either humming slowly or exhaling sharply while saying the word Ha. It’s so very simple, but it’s one of the most effective ways to calm your nerves and help with your delivery. Oh, it’s also one of our favourite acting techniques to practise at home.
Ask your agent for help
Your agent is there to help you in your career and your first audition is certainly something that you will need help with. Now, we’re not saying that your agent will turn into the world’s best acting coach overnight. In fact, the acting aspect of your audition is really down to you. However, you’re bound to have a million questions about the process or perhaps even the casting director that you’re auditioning for that your agent will be only too happy to answer. They’ll also be able to tell you what kind of preparation you may need for the audition such as hair and makeup or what clothing you need to wear.
Make a plan
A few days before the audition you’ll want to make a plan. This should include what time you wake up, how long you need to prepare, when you should leave, how long it takes to get to the audition, and what mode of transport you can take. Being prepared in this way means that you can focus more on the actual audition and not about parking or late trains. Oh, and always have a backup plan to fall back on if you can. Odds are that the day of the audition is the exact day that your car battery decides to die.
Dealing with nerves
You may be the type of person that ordinarily is as cool as the proverbial cucumber, but let’s face it, when it comes to auditions, we all suffer from stage fright. But we’re not going to tell you that this is something ‘you have to deal with or it will affect your chances’ — no way. Nerves are totally natural and if anything you should go ahead and embrace them. It just shows that you are normal and that you are also taking your audition seriously which is a very good thing indeed.
Yet no matter how much we tell ourselves this, nerves can still have an impact on our performance, so what else can we do to mitigate these jitters?
Well, for a start you can make sure that you are well prepared. Nothing banishes nerves quite like knowing your lines inside out. You can also go through your breathing techniques which will regulate your heart rate and help to calm you down.
It also helps to remind yourself that every actor goes through the same process and that the casting director will be expecting a little nervousness from everyone auditioning. And yes, this happens to famous actors too. Helen Mirren, Alan Rickman, and Ewan McGregor all suffer from nerves.
What to bring to an audition?
Aside from yourself, there are a few things that we recommend bringing along to an audition.
A headshot and resume
These are essential for any acting audition. A headshot is a professional photograph of yourself, which should be a recent, high-quality image that accurately represents what you actually look like. Meanwhile, a resume is a brief summary of your acting training, experience, skills, and other relevant information. This includes contact information for your agency and some personal details such as clothing sizes, height, and weight.
A copy of the script or sides
Sides are the pages of the script that you will be auditioning with. If you have been given sides prior to the audition, it’s important to bring a copy with you so you can run over them in the waiting room and so that you’re not asking for a copy when you enter the audition room. Ideally, you won’t need to use them when auditioning, but it’s good to have them in your hand in case you need to refer to them at any point.
Water and snacks
It’s amazing how easy it is to forget about your own care when getting ready for an audition. Remember, that if things drag on, then you may be there much longer than planned and you’ll need to stay hydrated and energised. So bring along some water and some light snacks that won’t make a mess or leave you with sticky fingers.
The right clothing and accessories
If you know about the role you are auditioning for then you should wear clothing and accessories that are appropriate for the character. You don’t want to go full-on cosplay, but something that hints at the role might be a good idea. For example, if you’re auditioning for a role as a business person, then a shirt might be a good idea as it can help the casting director visualise you in that role. Just remember though that less is more and when in doubt, just wear plain unbranded clothing with no patterns.
What happens at an audition?
Auditions are usually pretty straightforward in that they often follow the same steps.
You arrive at the audition location and in most cases a member of the casting director’s staff will greet you and check you in. You’ll be then directed to a waiting room or area where you can prepare yourself by running over your sides or going through your monologue one last time. Remember that from the moment you walk in the door to the building, the audition is underway. What we mean by this is that the staff all work for the casting director and if you’re rude or give off an air of arrogance, it most certainly will be noted regardless of how polite you may be in the audition room. So, as always, be nice to everyone.
When you are called, you will be brought into the audition room. There could be just the casting director in there or any number of their team members. There may even be other actors in there if the audition calls for a reader to help with the scene.
You’ll walk in, go to your mark in front of the casting director and say hello, followed by your name and your agency’s name. The casting director may ask for your headshot/resume or someone may have already taken it from you. You will then be given instructions as to what to do. This could be to perform your monologue or act out the scene.
There may even be a cold reading which is when you will need to read lines from a script that you have had no time to prepare for. This could be a well-known script or something from the production. This is why we mentioned earlier about how being flexible is a great skill to have in auditions.
Once you have completed your lines, you’ll be told that you can leave. In some cases, the casting director may ask a few questions either before or after the audition. Either way, once you’re told that you are finished, it’s time to leave the room. Remember to say thanks before leaving — a little politeness goes a long way and like we said earlier, it’s always nice to be nice.
The audition is over and you can hit some high fives around the waiting room and tell everyone about what happened… eh… nope. That’s the exact opposite of what you want to do. Just gather up your stuff, make sure you’re not needed for anything, and head for the exit. You need to remember that others are in the waiting room dealing with their own nerves and the last thing they want to hear is you talking about your audition.
What happens after the audition
This is the period that we like to call ‘the waiting game’. Actually, everyone in the business calls it that because that’s precisely what it is.
For the most part, casting directors will only get back to the agent of a talent that they are interested in seeing again or who they want to cast. They will not get back to you if you’re unsuccessful and they don’t give feedback in any way whatsoever. If they did, it would be amazing, but they simply don’t have the time.
What this means is that there is absolutely no point in badgering your agent about the audition asking if they’ve heard anything yet. Trust us, the second they hear any good news you will be the first to know. For this reason, it’s better if you can somehow put the entire audition out of your mind — easier said than done, we know — and start focusing on your next audition. If you hear anything positive it’s a bonus and if not, you’re too busy working on your next audition to even worry about it. This is a great way to deal with rejection and helps you to think of every audition as simply part of your job regardless of the fact that you’re not paid unless you’re successful.
Generally speaking, if there is a production start date mentioned during the casting brief and you have yet to hear anything by that date, you can assume that the role has gone to someone else.
An audition callback is a second round of auditions that is held after the initial audition. This typically takes place when the casting director or other decision-makers want to see the actors again before making a final decision about who to cast in the role.
During an audition callback, you may be asked to perform the same scene or monologue you performed in the initial audition, or you may be asked to perform something a little different or try a different approach to the character. The callback is an opportunity for the casting director to get a better sense of your abilities and how they might fit into the production.
If you are called back for an audition, it’s a very good sign that you are being considered for the role. However, it’s not a guarantee that you will be cast, as there are usually several other actors who are also being considered. That said, every callback should be treated as a win because you were obviously doing the right things in the audition and impressed the casting director. Decisions made for casting at this point might be incredibly tight so seriously, treat a callback as an incredible achievement.
An actor’s tips for audition success
Who better to advise you on the best way to achieve audition success than people who have been there and done that. With this in mind, the team at Hunter Talent asked some of our most successful actors what advice they would give to aspiring actors just starting out in the industry. Here’s what they had to say.
Here we go again with the practising advice. Practice really does make perfect and this is especially important for auditions but not in the way that you think. While it’s true that you must continue to improve your acting skills at all times, it’s also true that you can improve your auditioning skills by, yes you guessed it, doing more auditions! So if a role comes up and you have the chance to audition for it, take that opportunity even if you’re convinced that you’re not really in the running. It’s all experience and will help you improve plus you never know what might happen.
Ignore the competition
Regardless of how talented you are, once you get into that audition waiting room, your nerves will make you feel like an imposter. But you need to learn to drown out the noise and ignore the competition. Focus only on yourself because while all those other actors may look confident in the waiting room, they could be just as nervous as you once they get in front of the casting director.
Create an audition routine
It’s a great idea to always have a routine for an audition and it doesn’t have to be just for the waiting room. Your routine can start as soon as you hear you’re up for a role. This can include your preparation, your research, your rehearsal time, your breathing techniques and even how you travel and what you bring to the audition. You can even create a playlist for the day ahead. All of this is creating a familiar routine that will have you feeling more comfortable and relaxed with each audition.
How to get more auditions
Work with the right agency
Now, you may think that this is where we shamelessly plug Hunter Talent, but you’d be wrong in thinking that. The truth is that every agency is different and while we reckon that we’re as good as they come, we might not be the ideal fit for you. So it’s always a good idea to do a little homework and see what kind of options you have.
The right agency is one that won’t necessarily put you forward for all the auditions that they can but that will instead look for the most suitable ones and put your forward for those. Yes, we did tell you to go for everything you can, but there is such a thing as too many auditions!
The approach that we take is to only recommend actors that we feel will suit the role and that have a genuine chance of progressing through the casting process. We feel that this is by far the better approach and one that you should certainly be on the lookout for when considering your agency options.
Just beware of the agencies that promise to have you booking work or that they will get you x number of auditions in a month. These claims are patently false as there are no guarantees in the entertainment industry. Not even casting directors can make guarantees of this nature and back them up as it’s really all down to your suitability and skills. Any agency that makes these kinds of claims is not one that you want to sign with as they are only interested in numbers and not your career success.
Build your skills
Your skills are one aspect of your resume that could set you apart from the competition so it’s a good idea to keep working on them at all times. This could mean taking online courses or attending seminars or workshops. All of this can and should be added to your resume and your casting portal profiles so that a casting director can see them. Likewise, you should include your other skills and pastimes. You never know when a production might call for an actor who is a keen horse rider or one who can play the cello. All of these things may seem inconsequential for the majority of roles, but as we said, these are differentiators that could see you stand out in a crowded space.
But, we cannot stress this enough, do not lie about or exaggerate your skills. If you say you can speak Mandarin fluently, then you really should be able to speak it fluently.
Take care of your health
Burning the candle at both ends does no one any good at all. We understand that working a regular job, improving your skills, and auditioning can take up a serious amount of time. But the thing is that if you are not sleeping properly or getting enough time to relax, then your performances in auditions will be impacted negatively. And this isn’t good for you, the agency, or the casting directors. This will ultimately result in fewer opportunities for you later down the line.
So make sure that you have plenty of down time to do things that make you happy, get enough sleep, and eat properly.
If you have any questions or would like to know more about auditioning or even becoming an actor, feel free to give us a shout here at Hunter Talent. We’d be more than happy to have a chat with you to see if we’re a good fit for each other. Even if you opt to sign with another agency, we genuinely hope that the advice in this guide helps you along your way.
Fashion modelling is pretty much the exact type of modelling you think of when you hear the word model. It comprises both runway modelling and catalogue or print modelling. In nutshell, it’s modelling that — you guessed it — promotes fashion of any kind.
As you can imagine, there is a huge demand for good fashion models as there are so many different companies and brands that produce products that would fall into the fashion niche. And the good news is that this isn’t going to change anytime soon. In fact, fashion modelling is one of the busiest niches of modelling and it’s growing at an exponential rate each and every year. After all, clothes will always be in fashion, right? Okay, that’s the one pun in this guide out of the way so let’s crack on.
If you have ever dreamed about becoming a model and don’t know where to start, then fashion modelling is your best option. This is the niche that the vast majority of would-be models first break into unless they are interested in something niche such as hand modelling or even fitness modelling. It is also the niche with the most briefs which means more opportunities for aspiring models that want to land their first modelling gig.
In this guide, we’re going to discuss everything there is to know about working as a fashion model. From what it takes to become one to the kind of preparation needed before working on a shoot — this is everything you need to know about fashion modelling.
What is a fashion model?
A fashion model is a model that clients use to promote anything that could be described as fashion. This means clothing, accessories, and shoes — if it’s been designed to be worn anywhere on your body or to accessorise your outfit, then a fashion model will promote it. For this reason, a client will look at a fashion model’s overall appearance and not just a specific aspect of their appearance as they would with a hand model or makeup model.
Here at Hunter, we firmly believe that anyone no matter their size, shape, age, or cultural background can be a model. Thankfully, the industry has changed a lot in recent years and more and more fashion houses and big brands are starting to embrace diversity. This means that we’re seeing more briefs for plus-sized models and even older male models than ever before which is amazing.
So yes, anyone can be a fashion model. That said, there are far more briefs for fashion models that fall within certain height and weight ranges. This is because fashion houses will create outfits in general easy-to-adjust sizes and look for models that will fit the clothes as opposed to making clothes that fit the models. This is particularly true for runway models as the fast-paced nature of runway shows means that alterations to outfits should be kept to a minimum so models can jump from one look to another as quickly as possible.
With this in mind, the general requirements for fashion models are as follows:
Female models – 5’8” or taller weighing around 59kg or less
Male models – 6’ or taller weighing around 77kg or less
But don’t for a second think that those are hard and fast rules. If you want to work exclusively on the runway, then yes, you’ll find it quite difficult to land modelling gigs if you’re outside of those ranges unless you are specifically working as a plus sized model. However, for general fashion modelling, while those ranges are ideal, you can still land print work if you’re shorter or heavier than the requirements. Just bear in mind that as there will be fewer assignments without those basic requirements, you may have longer breaks between modelling jobs.
Is fashion modelling easy?
Show us a fashion model who says their work is easy and we’ll take a bite out of the Hunter Talent office hat — well we would if we had one, but you get the point. There are no types of modelling that are easy. Even hand modelling which ‘only’ uses your hand is super tiring and takes a lot of effort. To put it another way, if fashion modelling was easy, we’d all be doing it, right?
No, fashion modelling is not easy, but like many jobs it can be incredibly rewarding and lots of fun too.
A fashion modelling assignment could be anything from a couple of hours for a quick shoot or a full day of changing outfits in a hot studio. Then you have to take into account any travel to and from the shoot which, if you’re hired for a major campaign or event could involve train journeys or even flights. And that’s before we even consider the hard graft you’ll need to put into honing your modelling skills and keeping on top of industry trends and so on.
But perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of fashion modelling is the whole rejection thing. Now, if you’re new to the industry this is something that you really need to know — fashion models face rejection on a very regular basis. This makes sense when you think about it as there are often hundreds of models under consideration for an assignment and they can’t all land the gig. So if you’re going to be a fashion model, you’ll need to learn to be patient and take rejection on the chin because it’s really not personal.
What skills do fashion models need?
Now as you can see, fashion modelling is no easy task. It takes a lot of hard work and no small amount of patience, but what are the actual skills required to succeed in the industry?
Well, we’re glad you asked because contrary to popular belief, fashion modelling is a skilled job that requires as much talent as it does hard graft. Luckily for you, the majority of the skills required to be a fashion model are learnable skills. This is why models go to model school.
Here are just a few of the most notable skills all successful models will have in common.
They know how to walk
Okay, you may laugh because we all know how to walk, right? But if you think you’re walking down the runway the same way you walk to the shops, then you’re in for a surprise. Fashion models, even those who work mostly on print campaigns, must know how to walk like a model. We’re talking about that runway strut that you associate with supermodels. It’s surprisingly difficult to do the first time around as you may feel a little silly, but trust us this is an absolute basic requirement.
If you’re not sure how to get started, just remember that YouTube is your friend. Make sure to practise in front of a full length mirror if possible or set up your smartphone and record your walk. You’ll need to nail this down before you can take on any live modelling assignments for events or shows.
They know how to pose
Yep, just as important as walking is posing. Scratch that — posing is more important than walking. A photographer can only do so much with the camera, you’ll need to help them out by dropping into various poses to give them options when trying to capture that perfect shot.
This is where doing some research into successful fashion models comes in really handy. Check out the way they hold their body position for a great shot or the way they look at the camera. Look at the various ways they smile depending on the scene or the theme of the shoot and try to think how you would pose in the same setting.
As with walking, it’s vital that you practise this and set a few poses in stone so that you can drop into them immediately without even thinking. You may even want to give your poses names so that it’s easier for you to remember them according to the setting or need. We’d avoid calling any of them ‘Blue Steel’ though, well at least not out loud 🙂
Fashion models don’t just need to be patient when waiting on modelling opportunities to come along. They also need to be patient on the job too. There will be times when the photographer needs the lighting to be just right or the client wants a different approach in the shots — these are the times when a fashion model is often left waiting around for things to be prepped just right. Then again they may simply have to shoot and reshoot again and again until everything is just right. A fashion model who cannot be patient and accept that this is part of the job will have a very tough time indeed.
They’re good with people
Fashion models work with people all the time. From photographers to fashion designers, hair and makeup artists to marketing execs from big brands — a fashion model needs to be good at working with people and talking to them. We say this to all of our talents (actors included), clients and photographers will remember a fashion model who is pleasant, easy to talk to, and easy to work with. And more often than not, they’ll come back to those models if they fit with another campaign or assignment.
Then there’s also the fact that some fashion models may be hired to work at events and exhibitions. These models may need to speak with people including potential customers or clients of the brand they represent so being good with people is a huge plus. This is why outgoing people are often suited to this type of modelling.
They understand industry trends
A good fashion model will be pretty much on point when it comes to their own sense of style and what’s hot and what’s not. Now, this won’t land you an assignment, but it does help when you’re on set if you understand the things that the photographer and perhaps the client are talking about fashion-wise. Besides, it’s good to take a strong interest in the industry you work in.
Fashion model work and assignments
It’s no surprise that the majority of fashion modelling work involves fashion. What new models are surprised by though is where their modelling can take them and the enormous range of niches within the fashion industry umbrella. You’ve every accessory under the sun along with any and we mean any type of clothing you can think of. And that’s before we even get started on location shoots that could take you quite literally anywhere.
As a new fashion model starting out, you’ll likely spend a great deal of time working on print assignments for catalogues or advertisements. These types of assignments usually take no longer than a day of shooting and while tiring, can be pretty straightforward.
Runway modelling is another ball game. It’s fast-paced and requires a lot of energy. Live modelling assignments are usually just for a half day or full day, but at times they can run for longer if it’s fashion week for example.
Those who are new to fashion modelling are also often surprised at the fact that they may also be asked to do commercial modelling. This would typically be a film shoot for a TV commercial and could take anything from a day to a full week of shooting. Even if you don’t want to be an actor, it pays to be open to these opportunities as it’s a great chance to get your face out there particularly if it’s a nationwide ad campaign for a major brand.
One thing we will say about fashion modelling is that no two days are remotely the same which makes it quite an exciting and interesting career.
How much do fashion models get paid?
This is a very open-ended question because there are so many variables that it’s nearly impossible to accurately predict just how much a fashion model will get paid. For example, a major brand may pay a lot more for a model for a national print campaign than a smaller company would for a few catalogue images. In other words, it all depends on the brief and the client.
However, that said, you can rest assured that if you are working regularly, you will make a good living. Most models can expect to make between $350 to $600 for a session and more once they start making a name for themselves. On average, a successful model can make around $80,000 per year. But like we said, there are a lot of factors that could have both a positive and negative impact on that figure chief of which is the effort that you yourself put into your career.
If you work hard and remember to keep honing those skills, you’ll earn a reputation as a good fashion model. And that’s the key to earning the big bucks. Get to the point where clients ask for you by name and your rates could jump into the thousands of dollars for a shoot.
A fashion model’s tips for career success
If fashion modelling is something that you are serious about pursuing then it’s best to start off on the right foot. And what better way than by following in the footsteps of those that have been there and done that. In our many years in the business, the Hunter Talent team has worked with many successful fashion models and these are their tips for career success.
Recognise your strengths and weaknesses
Some people are great at walking and some are amazing at striking poses for the camera. As an aspiring fashion model, it’s a good idea to not only understand your strengths but also your weaknesses. Like we mentioned earlier, fashion modelling is a learning game where you constantly need to improve your skills. And once you can recognise that there are some skills that need improving over others, you can focus more on them. You’d be surprised how easy it is to hyperfocus on what you’re already good at and ignore your weaknesses — a habit that could have a detrimental effect on your long-term career.+
Wear sun protection
Yep, this is a simple one and something that we all should be doing anyway but we’ll just remind you that you need to protect your skin from the sun at all times. It may be tempting to sunbathe in an attempt to get a healthy glow, but trust us, it’s not worth it. A client is only interested in your natural look and that means taking good care of your skin.
Keep beauty treatments to a minimum
Beauty treatments can be great but only if they are occasional. You see the fact is that when you work in fashion modelling, you’ll have a lot of makeup on when working. In fact, you may even have your makeup done more than once for a shoot which isn’t the greatest for your skin. This is why it’s a good idea to give your skin a break when you’re not working. And that means minimal makeup and beauty treatments. You want your skin to be in peak condition at all times and letting it breathe is the best way to keep it free from zits and pimples.
There’s a common misconception that fashion models need to live on an incredibly strict diet. But that’s not true at all. Models need to eat healthy and workout just like everyone else does. The difference between a model and someone who works in a regular job is that a model will need to limit their intake of junk food. No doughnuts for breakfast or fries for lunch. It’s all healthy and nutritional eating that eliminates the need for dieting to maintain your shape. But eating this way is not just about staying in shape, it’s also about maintaining your energy levels. Remember we did say that fashion modelling takes a lot of hard work, right?
Start networking as soon as possible
Networking is an extremely important aspect of fashion modelling and modelling in general that many new models fail to take advantage of. While the days of ‘it’s who you know’ are long gone, there is still a lot to be said for a client, photographer, or fashion designer knowing you by name.
With this in mind, it’s a good idea to start networking as soon as you possibly can. Get to know anyone that works in the industry and let your friends and family know about your new career as you never know who they may introduce you to. This is where your people skills will come in handy but just be careful that you don’t become that annoying person who is always asking for business cards and phone numbers!
How to get started as a fashion model
Find an agency
This is the first step that you need to take as an aspiring fashion model — find an agency. But before you jump the gun and call the first one that you come across, you can’t just find any agency, it needs to be the right agency.
What do we mean by the right agency? Well, it has to be one with a solid reputation for helping the models on its books achieve success. Not only that but it will have a track record of working with great clients. We’re talking about household names that the agency can show you details of having worked with before. This proves that it’s a trusted agency and that it only works with the best. There’s also the added bonus that clients will often return to the same agency time and time again to hire models.
We’d love to tell you to forget the rest and sign with Hunter Talent, but the truth is that some models and agencies are not a good fit for each other. That’s why it pays to do your research and check out a few. We’re pretty sure you’ll give us a call too and who knows we might be the perfect fit.
We’ll just give you a word of warning — an agency that tries to sign you without meeting you in person or at least over a video call is not the right agency. They are most likely after your membership fees and probably won’t do a whole lot to promote you.
Create a portfolio
Once you have an agency sorted, it’s time to create your fashion modelling portfolio. This is a collection of images that a casting director, photographer, or client will look at to see if you’ve got the right look for their project. As you can imagine, this means that your portfolio is an incredibly important tool in your modelling career.
The reason we suggest doing this after you find an agency is because the agency will be able to tell you exactly what type of images their clients expect to see in a portfolio. They will also have a recommendation for a local photographer who has portfolio experience. It’s crucial that you have your portfolio shot by a professional as the clients will expect to see what you look like in a studio setting. And believe it or not, it’s also important that they have portfolio experience too. This means that they will be able to shoot the right images highlighting your best features in precisely the way a client will expect.
So no self portraits or photos taken by a friend with a DSLR. You need a professional portfolio because, let’s face it, this is your profession, right?
Take care of your body
This is good common sense but we’ll remind you of it again — take good care of your body. Your body and its health is extremely important for your fashion modelling career so it makes sense to take good care of it. That means healthy eating, plenty of sleep, and getting enough exercise.
There’s also the fact that a client will look at your portfolio and expect to see an accurate representation of what you look like so that means that you’ll want to maintain your physique and skin health. When it comes to weight, this works both ways. Any major changes in weight either gains or losses will mean that you need to update your portfolio and those sessions can be expensive.
Work on those modelling skills
Our last tip for getting started is to start working on those modelling skills and to keep it up for as long as you can. It’s a good idea to set yourself a daily practice routine that you can fit into your schedule. For example, work on poses and your walk for 15-20 minutes each and every morning. Once you get used to it, this will become just another thing that you do in the morning but it will have an incredibly positive impact on your fashion modelling career.
How to prepare for a fashion model shoot
So you’ve landed your first fashion modelling assignment and the excitement is palpable. We’re guessing that the nerves are there too, but don’t worry, nerves are perfectly natural. Here are a few things that you can do to ease those nerves and make sure that your first fashion modelling assignment gets off to a good start.
First and foremost, you’ll want to limit your activity in the days leading up to the job to stuff that won’t get you injured. If the modelling job is on Tuesday and you have plans to go rock climbing on Sunday, we’d recommend that you give the rock climbing a miss. This is your first assignment and the last thing you want is to be struggling with a stretched muscle or something similar. Trust us, there will be plenty of rocks to climb, but you’ll only ever have one chance at your first modelling assignment.
Avoid experimenting with food in the days leading up to your shoot. Sure, you can stick to the food you always eat, but if a new taco truck arrives in your neighbourhood the night before the shoot, we’d avoid trying it out. Nothing worse than gas or an upset stomach when a photographer is asking you to pose just so for the 30th time.
Drop the caffeine — wait, what??? Hear us out. If you like your coffee and you’re feeling nervous you know what’s going to happen. Three or four cups before a shoot could leave you feeling all antsy which won’t help with your posing at all. If anything it will make those nerves even worse too so we’d advise you to skip the coffee or have a decaf.
The last tip we have is probably the most important and that’s to know the details of your shoot. We’ve lost count of the times we’ve had to calm panicked first-timers who have underestimated the time it takes to get to a shoot and are worried that they will be late. Don’t be like that. When your agency tells you the details of your shoot, figure out your route and make a plan. Whatever time you think you need to leave, move it twenty minutes earlier just in case. No one will be annoyed if you show up early but if you show up late… well, let’s just say that time is money.
Become a Fashion Model
And that’s about as much as we can tell you about working as a fashion model. Just make sure that you take good care of your body and keep honing your modelling skills.
Work hard and we see no reason why you can’t become a success in the fashion modelling industry. Just remember that success doesn’t happen overnight. Becoming a top fashion model requires patience, but if you have the right agency by your side, you’re off to a great start.
If you’re interested in becoming a fashion model and you’re looking for professional representation, then why not give us a shout here at Hunter Talent.
We’d be more than happy to have a chat with you to see if we’re a good fit for each other. Even if you opt to sign with another agency, we genuinely hope that the advice in this guide helps you along your way.
Hand modelling is a niche within the modelling industry that is very seldomly talked about. And in truth, when people do actually talk about it, it’s usually in an offhand way that belittles this particular modelling job. But believe it or not, there is a huge demand out there for hand models, and not just anyone with a hand can rock up and land the gig. We can’t all be the World’s Greatest Hand Model, right?
Of course, since you’ve already found this guide, we’re going to go right ahead and assume that you already understand what a hand model does and perhaps you even want to be one.
But before we can set you on the path to hand modelling glory, we’re going to go through some of the basics of hand modelling. No, scratch that — we’re going to go through ALL the basics and then everything else too.
So if you have ever dreamed of being a hand model or you’re just wondering whether or not this particular niche is for you, then you’re in the right place. This guide will cover everything you need to know about how to become a hand model and what to expect once you’re a part of the industry.
We can’t promise that we’ll make you the world’s greatest hand model, but we’ll certainly help you take your first steps in the industry.
What is a hand model?
A hand model is someone who models accessories and products that are primarily for hands. This could be anything from jewellery through to hand lotion and much more besides. A hand model’s main feature is their hands and quite often the rest of their body (or very little of it) will feature in any images used in an advertising campaign.
Can anyone be a hand model?
Yes, anyone can be a hand model, but the industry will often have some pretty strict requirements for hand modelling assignments.
Generally speaking, you will need to have:
- Blemish and callus-free hands
- Healthy fingernails
- No scarring
- No tattoos
- Long fingers and slender hands
About Hand Modelling briefs
Now, while diversity is an important aspect for many brands these days, there are fewer briefs for hand models with scarring, tattoos, or those who are plus-sized. We’re by no means saying that people within these brackets cannot get work as hand models, it’s just that the majority of briefs for hand modelling assignments will come with the requirements listed above.
One question we’re often asked about hand modelling is how long your nails should be. The answer is however long you want them to be. Briefs for different products will require different nail lengths. For example, if you’re modelling a household item, clients usually prefer short nails while beauty brands will often prefer long nails. The length of your nails will determine the briefs that you are put forward for so have a think about the kind of work you want to do or ask your agency what kind of briefs are the most common and make your decision based on that. Oh, one thing we will say though is that male hand models are expected to have short nails — we don’t make the rules!
While those general requirements are somewhat important, they’re not the be-all and end-all of hand modelling. What we’re really saying here is that if you want to be a hand model with tattoos or scarring, then go for it. Just know that it may take a little longer to succeed.
Is hand modelling easy?
Hand modelling assignments can be a couple of hours for a quick photo shoot to an entire day of filming for a TV commercial. And trust us, even though it’s ‘only’ your hand that is in front of the camera, a full day of modelling can be extremely tiring. There’s also the travel to and from assignments to consider.
On the mental side of things, you’ll also need to learn to be extremely patient and know how to handle rejection. This is because like any other modelling niche, hand modelling is competitive and a client may not think that your hand is quite suited to a project or ad campaign.
What skills do hand models need?
As you may have guessed by now, hand modelling is a serious job and as with all serious jobs some skills are required. One of the most important is the ability to keep a steady hand for prolonged periods of time. This is so much more difficult than you might think. Imagine holding a water bottle during a shoot and you have to keep absolutely still while the photographer takes multiple shots from a variety of angles — not so easy, right? Yes, you’ll need a strong and steady hand.
But it’s not just about a steady hand. You’ll also need to be physically fit and agile as you may find that you’ll need to hold your body in strange positions during shoots. This is because more often than not, the client won’t want your body to appear in the shot.
You’ll also need to have nice fluid movements when doing anything with your hand. Regardless of the product you’re promoting, clients want to see graceful movements or at least the ability to move slowly and deliberately when performing an action. One of the most difficult actions that a hand model may need to perform is pouring a liquid. Yep, it sounds silly but if you think about it, pouring water into a glass in one smooth fluid motion is quite the task. Stick that one on your to-do list for hand modelling skills to practise.
There are a variety of hand exercises that you can do to strengthen the muscles in your hand and fingers. This will help immeasurably when it comes to those long hours of holding your hand steady so have a look at a few and work them into your daily routine. That said, you don’t want to overdo it and hurt yourself so take it slow and steady — this is starting to look like a theme!
Hand model work and assignments
Hand models will often work across a broad range of industries advertising anything and everything that is hand-related and quite a lot of stuff that is not.
Generally speaking, most hand modelling assignments are for print campaigns or TV commercials. Assignments for print campaigns will see you spend a few hours or more in a studio striking your best hand poses while TV commercial shoots could be in a studio or on location.
What’s really interesting about the hand modelling industry is the fact that the range of companies and products you will be working with is nothing short of diverse to say the least. You’ll have your usual products such as jewellery, lotions, beauty products, and even accessories such as gloves.
But then you’ll also have a whole range of other assignments that you never even thought of as hand modelling jobs. What about a pencil or a paint brush? A hand-held drill or a water bottle. If you can hold it in your hand, then the chances are that a company will want a hand model to help promote this product.
There are even hand modelling assignments for fast food chains, drinks companies, and even household cleaning items. One thing you’ll find about hand modelling is that it’s far from boring!
How much do hand models get paid?
Believe it or not, hand models can be paid quite well, but as with all types of modelling, how much you make per year really depends on the industry. If it’s a great year with lots of hand-modelling briefs coming thick and fast, you could make as much as a traditional fashion model. However, we’ll just remind you that your earnings also depend on how much effort you put into your modelling.
What do we mean by that? Well, a fashion model must take care of themselves, eat healthily, get enough sleep and exercise, and improve their modelling skills along the way. And yes, you guessed it, a hand model is no different. Your financial rewards tend to tie in closely with how much effort and hard work you put into your craft.
Hand models can expect to make somewhere in the region of $350-$600 for a day’s work when starting out. But full-day shoots aren’t always that easy to come by so don’t expect to be making that on a daily basis. However, as we said earlier, if you’re patient and keep plugging away, you’ll get your chance to show off those hands.
Once you have established yourself as an easy-to-work-with hand model, you may get to the point where clients specifically ask for you — or your hands to be more precise. This is when you can conceivably start forging a lucrative career for yourself. In some cases, hand models have been known to command thousand-dollar fees for a day of shooting. Not bad for a day’s work!
A hand model’s tips for hand care
If you’re serious about becoming a hand model, then you need to first get serious about hand care. That means taking very good care of your hands in every conceivable way. Here are a few hand care tips that we’ve gleaned from hand models that we have worked with in the past. Ignore them at your peril.
An obvious one to set the ball rolling — as a hand model, you’ll need to moisturise your hands regularly, but not so regularly that they end up looking all prune-like. Moisturise after a shower or if you have been washing the dishes and especially after you’ve gone for a swim. Swimming pool chlorine is notorious for drying your skin out.
If you have a favourite moisturiser and it works, stick with it. There’s no need to buy expensive creams and lotions if you already have something that suits your skin. And that brings us to our next point…
As a hand model, your hands are your career so don’t start experimenting with all kinds of creams and lotions or even nail polish. The last thing you want is to have a bad reaction to something that could leave you unable to work for weeks or worse, something that could cause a permanent scar.
Of course, we’re talking worst-case scenarios here, but if you are going to try a new product, test a little on your arm first.
Leave your cuticles alone
A lot of people like to cut their cuticles in an effort to have the perfect nail. Don’t do it. Your cuticles are natural and they’re supposed to be there. This means that a client will expect to see them. Besides, cutting cuticles can be painful and result in infections or sore spots which can limit your ability to work. Remember, a client wants to see natural hands, so leave your cuticles alone.
Take proper care of hangnails
Hangnails are those little bits of skin that grow to the side of your finger nails. These can be a little ugly when left unmanaged and a client will not want to see them in an ad campaign. Take proper care of hangnails by trimming them back as close to the nail as possible without cutting yourself and then treat them with cuticle oil. What you should never do is simply pull at hangnails — ouch!
Don’t overwash your hands
During the pandemic we were encouraged to wash our hands as often as possible. However, there is such a thing as too often. Soaps and hand gels can damage your skin when used too much so try not to get your hands dirty so you don’t need to wash them often. A good tip is to use a simple and natural soap or hand sanitiser that is gentle on your hands.
Wear sun protection
The hands are an often ignored body part when it comes to sun protection, and while it’s important for everyone to protect their skin from the ravages of the sun, it’s twice as important for your hands. Always wear sunscreen when you go out and keep a small tube of sunscreen with you at all times. You never know when you might need to protect your hands when the rest of you is already covered up.
Always wear gloves when washing or cleaning
As you can guess, if too much soap can damage your skin then too much of any household cleaning product will do a whole lot worse. So whenever you need to wash the dishes, scrub the bathroom,m or wash the car, stick on a pair of well-fitting rubber gloves. The same can be said for painting and decorating around the house — gloves will keep any damaging chemicals away from your skin.
Keep manicures to a minimum
It might seem like an odd thing to say, but hand models really should avoid having too many manicures. This is because for most assignments, your hands and nails will be taken care of by a professional. And if you’re busy, your hands may become a little over-manicured. The last thing you want to do is throw another manicure into the mix after that.
If you are going to have a manicure, be sure that your cuticles are left alone and that your nails are not buffed too much. Too much can lead to weak nails which could break and harm your ability to work.
Protect your hands
Remember what we said about your hands being your career? Well, that means that you don’t want to be doing anything that might damage them, and we’re not just talking about damage from cleaning products.
If you’re doing any gardening, sewing, DIY, or even craftwork, wear gloves. Simple as that. Any nicks and cuts to your hands could see you miss out on an opportunity to work simply because you weren’t careful or forgot to put on your gloves.
Avoid using nail polish
Some hand models will advise you not to use too much nail polish while others will tell you to avoid it completely. We would agree with the ‘avoid it completely’ camp. As we mentioned earlier, your nails will likely have some sort of product put on them during your assignments and that’s probably about as much as they can handle if you want them to stay healthy. And healthy nails are exactly what a client wants to see.
How to get started as a hand model
Take care of your hands
The first step and we really mean the very first step any prospective hand model should take in their new career is to start taking good care of their hands. Now, luckily for you, the tips we just shared above means that you know exactly how to get started on that right away.
You might even want to create a hand care routine that you go through each and every day just to be sure that your hands are always in good condition and that good hand care becomes second nature to you.
The reason this should be your first step is because there is quite literally no point in looking for work if you don’t have hands that are, at the very least, photogenic.
Find an agency
It might not be the first step in your hand modelling career, but it is easily one of the most important. You’ll need to find yourself an agency that will help you promote yourself (and your hands) to the right clients.
Now, you can by all means try to represent yourself, but this can be quite challenging. This is mostly due to the fact that hand modelling briefs are rarely released to the general public. Clients will pretty much always come directly to an agency looking for a hand model as it’s quite a specific job.
Finding the right agency isn’t quite as straightforward as it may seem. There are a lot of red flags to watch out for because, believe it or not, some agencies are just looking for your membership fee and will do nothing to promote you. So take this step very seriously and do your homework. Speak to a few agencies and don’t just sign for the first one you come across. Ask to see their previous modelling success stories even if they are not for hand models. This way you’ll know that the agency has a proven track record of working with well-known clients and brands.
You should also have a good chat with the agency before signing so they can explain their process and how they hope to promote you. And if you get a bad feeling, trust your gut and look elsewhere.
Create a portfolio
Next on the list after you find an agency is to create a portfolio. We recommend that you do this step after signing with an agency as they’ll be able to give you some advice on a local photographer who works with models and what kind of images you should include in your portfolio. Portfolios can also be expensive so it’s good to get a professional opinion on your chances of success before investing in one.
When you decide to create a portfolio it’s essential that you work with a professional photographer. No self-taken snaps will do as clients expect to see what your hand looks like in a professional studio environment with all the right lighting. This is also the main reason why you should work with a photographer who has model experience. They’ll understand all the right angles and make sure to highlight the best features of your hand and include those shots in your portfolio.
We suggest checking out some portfolios of p[rofessional hand models such as Nina Taylor, Delphine Jean-Gilles, Annabel Capper, and Andrew Bennet. This will give you an idea of the various poses and shots required for a great portfolio. Checking out these models’ work will also inspire you to work hard as they are some of the most successful hand models in the industry.
Work on your skills
Last but by no means least is to work on those skills that we mentioned earlier. Set yourself a hand exercise routine and practice keeping a steady hand each and every day. It’s also a good idea to try some positioning with your hand so that when you land your first assignment, you can pull out some hand poses without having to think too much about it.
Just remember, that honing those skills every day could mean the difference between success and failure so stick with it!
How to prepare for a hand model shoot
If you’re lucky enough to land your first assignment, there are a few things that you’ll want to do in the days leading up to the job so that you’re well prepared.
The first and most obvious of those is to protect your hands. You don’t want to inadvertently nick a finger or bruise your hand through a clumsy accident so as soon as you find out that you are booked, avoid doing anything that might damage your hands.
It may be a good idea to get a fresh manicure unless the client has instructed you not to. Just make sure to warn the manicurist that you’re about to do some hand modelling work and that your cuticles must not be cut and to go easy on the buffing.
Avoid coffee or anything with caffeine. For real. Too much caffeine the night before a shoot can get you all jittery and that means unsteady hands. Now, we know what you’re thinking; ‘I don’t get the coffee shakes!’ and perhaps you don’t. But better safe than sorry, right?
The last of our prep tips is to always know exactly where you’re going. There’s nothing worse for a client than having a model who arrives late and wastes everyone’s time. So double check with your agency about the location of the assignment, nearby parking or public transport. And always leave in plenty of time just in case something holds you up along the way.
And that’s all there is to it. If you work hard and continue to brush up on those skills while taking good care of your hands, there’s no reason why you can’t become a hand double for a movie star or model products that are global household names. But as we keep reminding you, success in any type of modelling requires a lot of patience. Some models that we have represented have gone for months on end with no opportunities and then all of a sudden, they’re the hottest models in the industry!
Interested in becoming a hand model?
If you’re interested in becoming a hand model and you’re looking for professional representation, then why not give us a shout here at Hunter Talent. We’d be more than happy to have a chat with you to see if we’re a good fit for each other. Even if you opt to sign with another agency, we genuinely hope that the advice in this guide helps you along the way.Apply Now
Acting is a truly rewarding career that can take you to amazing places working with incredible people from every corner of the world.
But as you can imagine, a job that is that amazing isn’t the easiest to succeed at. In fact, did you know that only 2% of actors make a living from their craft? That’s a crazy statistic that is enough to put anyone off trying, right?
But here’s the thing. The vast majority of that 98% of actors who are struggling to make ends meet or land paying roles probably didn’t start off on the right foot. They may have signed with the wrong agency or followed some bad career advice.
That’s precisely why we’ve created this guide. It’s your ‘all you need to know’ resource for every aspect of starting out as an actor. From the skills required to how you can prepare for your first audition, this guide is designed to get you and your career off to the best possible start.
But before we go any further, let’s tackle the basics.
What is acting?
Simple question and it’s a simple answer — acting is the pastime or occupation of performing in plays, on film, or on the radio.
Every time you watch a TV commercial, a play, or a movie, every single person in that production is an actor. Some are more visible than others and while not all will be professional, all will have worked hard to get where they are. And for the purpose of this guide, you can assume that all types of actors mentioned are professionals. That means that they get paid to act.
Can anyone be an actor?
Yes, absolutely anyone in the world can be an actor. This is regardless of age, gender, size, cultural background, physical or mental ability. The simple fact is that anyone with the will to act can do so.
But that doesn’t mean that anyone can be successful. To be a success, you will need the right mindset, a lot of patience, and a willingness to learn. Granted, some people may be much more skilled than others and they will naturally land more roles, and we’re not for a moment saying that everyone can act at the same level as the likes of Cate Blanchett or Al Pacino.
What we are saying though is that acting is a truly inclusive occupation that is open to all. There are, quite literally, no barriers to becoming an actor other than those which you create yourself.
Is acting easy?
Okay, so anyone can become an actor, but that doesn’t mean that acting is easy. Far from it. Acting is an incredibly tough job where you’ll need a lot of patience. Yes, we’re repeating ourselves because it’s so very true. Not only will you need to learn your lines, memorise your actions, and hone your skills but you’ll also need to learn to be super patient. The vast majority of successful actors went through long periods of working at the fringes of the industry with little success waiting for their big opportunity. In fact, some very well known actors didn’t even become major stars for quite some time. People like Steve Carell and Samuel L. Jackson only hit the big time in their 40s. So yeah, patience and perseverance will be very useful attributes to have as an actor.
Then there’s the rejection. You will face rejection countless times and this should come as no surprise. After all, there could be hundreds of actors vying for the same role and the casting director can only pick one. Even those major stars that we mentioned earlier have been rejected many times as established A-listers!
So acting is not easy, but it is also hugely rewarding and an incredible occupation that can take you across the world with no two roles ever being quite the same.
What skills do actors need?
There’s a common misconception that acting is just about memorising lines and doing what the director tells you to do, but there’s actually a lot more to it than that. Here are some of the most important skills that any aspiring actor will need to pick up if they want to be a success.
Patience, and a lot of it
Here we go again. Yes, patience really is a virtue when it comes to acting and not just for the reasons we explained earlier. Of course, you will need to be patient while you wait for your opportunities to come along, but even after they do, you’ll still need this skill. This is because working on set can be tough and extremely demanding especially when the director is looking for that perfect performance. You may find yourself doing take after take after take with only minor adjustments to your part or perhaps none at all if the director is trying to tweak another aspect of the scene. This can get very tiring very quickly so being patient will be a huge help not just for you but for those that are working with you too.
And just remember that a patient actor who is happy to keep plugging away will be remembered for their professionalism.
Good listening skills
A good actor doesn’t just know how to speak and convey emotions, they also know how to listen carefully when the camera is not rolling. They will need this skill to take direction from the director and to take on board any constructive criticism that is offered. Otherwise they simply cannot hope to improve their performance or give the director precisely what they need.
But perhaps the most obvious reason they need this skill is when working closely with other actors. It might sound like we’re oversimplifying it, but an actor needs good listening skills to recognise cues from their fellow actors. Sounds like common sense, but you’d be surprised at just how many new actors drop the ball in this department by either focusing too much on themselves or through nerves.
And if you need any further motivation, just remember that a casting director or any of the crew will not want to work with you again if you’re not a good listener.
Improvisation and creativity
Actors really don’t get as much credit as they deserve for what they bring to roles. Directors will have a vision of how a character should be, but sometimes in the moment, an actor will improvise and add something of their own to a character. Of course, this won’t be the best idea on your first acting job, but even then, there could be times when the director asks you to go with your gut and act the way you feel you should. This is when those improvisation and creativity skills will come in super handy. If you’re attending drama classes at all or have done so in the past, then you’ll be very familiar with the benefits of improvisation as a rehearsal technique.
An amazing memory
Okay, so here we are with the one most important skill that all actors really need to have and that is the ability to memorise lines. Now, we’ve all seen the bloopers and outtakes from movies where an actor simply can’t remember a line. It’s funny and everyone on set is having a great laugh at their expense. But this is likely because the rest of the time that actor can nail their lines.
So if you struggle to memorise lines or actions, now is the time to really work on that. You can try to start with some simple memorisation techniques and go from there. But trust us, this is a skill that you cannot live without.
What are the main acting techniques?
As you can imagine, since acting has been around for a very long time, there are scores of acting techniques that have been devised and used throughout the ages. But believe it or not, it’s the techniques developed in the last century or so that are the most popular. In fact, despite there being so many techniques and acting methods out there, nearly all of them are at least loosely based on the principles involved in the techniques listed below.
It’s worth noting that most actors will use aspects of various techniques to suit their needs. This means that you don’t necessarily have to choose one and stick to it. After all, acting is all about adaptation and improvisation, right?
With this in mind, we won’t go into too much detail for each technique but instead give you a basic understanding.
The Meisner Technique
Developed by Sanford Meisner, this technique is centred around three principles:
- Emotional preparation
Each of these principles is said to work together to help actors better understand their role and engage with other actors. This is believed to be better preparation than simple memorization or rehearsal.
The logic behind the Meisner method is that these three principles work together to help actors engage with their scene partners as opposed to just relying solely on memory or rehearsal.
The Viola Spolin Technique
This is a very popular technique with child actors as it involves learning through games techniques. But that doesn’t mean that it’s just for kids. This technique is great fun for all ages and particularly for group rehearsals or lessons.
The most popular games played using the Viola Spolin technique are:
- Group counting
- Who started the motion?
To give you a rough idea of what’s involved, let’s talk about gibberish. This is when actors are asked to perform a role without using any legible words or, in other words, by speaking gibberish. The idea is that you must express yourself through your intonation, expressions, and physical movements.
The Adler Technique
A member of one of the most famous New York theatre families, Stella Adler developed her own acting technique which encouraged actors to bring their personal experiences into their acting.
Here are some of its core aspects.
- Power of imagination
- Justification and actions
- Adler believed that using personal experiences to understand a character’s motivation or mood helps an actor to give a truly authentic performance.
The Strasberg Method
Lee Starsberg is often referred to as the “Father of method acting in America.” This is something that probably rings a bell or two as it’s a technique often used by actors who fully immerse themselves in character.
Strasberg’s most popular methods include:
- Removing tension
- Focus and deliberateness
- Using sense memory
- Identification and replication
These techniques are for those who are truly committed to a role so perhaps not something that you’d attempt if you have a one line appearance in a scene, but certainly something that a leading actor would be interested in.
The Stanislavsky Technique
Created by Konstantin Stanislavsky who is often referred to as ‘the father of modern acting’. Stanislavsky’s method involves living a role instead of performing it and includes the following core aspects:
- The magic if
- Emotional memory
- Physical action
The most used aspect is the ‘magic if’ whereby an actor imagines what their character would do ‘if’ something were to happen that is unrelated to the actual script. This allows you to really get inside the mind of the character and truly understand their motivation.
The Chekhov Technique
Michael Chekhov was a student of Konstantin Stanislavsky and as you can imagine, his technique derives a lot of inspiration from his mentor’s teachings. However, the overriding belief behind this technique is that all actors are creative artists.
This is one of the deeper techniques that requires quite a lot of introspection. The following are some of its core aspects which will give you an idea of just how deep this technique goes.
- Sensitivity of the body
- Creative imagination
Chekhov believed that an actor’s imagination is just as important as their ability to memorise and recite lines. He believed that actors could have a much more integral role in the overall production of a scene through their creative imagination.
The Uta Hagen Technique
German American actress and drama teacher Uta Hagen enjoyed a prolific career in the USA developing her own techniques for giving knockout performances on Broadway. She then taught those same techniques to her students and her teachings are still widely used today.
The core tenets of her technique are:
She also created nine questions that are designed to help actors develop a character’s backstory to give them a better understanding of their role and character.
- Who am I?
- What time is it?
- Where am I?
- What surrounds me?
- What are the given circumstances?
- What are my relationships?
- What do I want?
- What is in my way?
- What do I do to get what I want?
These questions are often used by acting coaches even if they do not follow Hagen’s overall technique so you will certainly come across something similar during your time as an actor.
What are the different types of acting roles
As you are probably well aware, much like we all have different personalities, no two acting roles are quite the same. But aside from character, there are actually other ways to differentiate between roles on a film set or in a theatre. The following are the most common types of acting roles that you may find yourself up for.
Background role / extra
This is a role where you are part of the cast that moves around in the background of a scene. You may have to interact with others or perform some actions such as drinking a coffee in a restaurant or stacking some shelves in a supermarket. These roles are also known as extras or in some cases atmosphere actors. A background role will rarely have any lines or decisive actions.
This is one of the main characters in a feature film or a TV series. They will appear in multiple scenes and have quite a lot of lines. Actors in lead roles are crucial to the success of a production. This is why this type of role takes much longer to cast than extra work. As an aside, it often pays quite well making it the most sought-after role on a production.
This role will be a smaller part in the production and actors in supporting roles will usually appear in multiple scenes. Depending on the character’s importance in the production, they may have quite a lot of lines and in some cases as many as the lead role. However, they are not the main focus of the story and are there in support of the lead only.
The recurring character is a role that is reserved for TV series. This is a character who intermittently appears in the series, but not in all episodes. This means that they are not part of the main cast. However, they can still have an important role to play in the story particularly if there’s a close relationship between them and one of the lead characters.
Often referred to as a co-star, the side character supports the lead character, but not as predominantly as a supporting role. They may have their own story arc that is separate but not integral to the production. They won’t have too many lines and will appear in fewer scenes than supporting actors. These roles are usually created for a specific purpose that is related to the main character’s own story arc or background.
This is one that we see a lot of in TV shows where the production writers will create a role with a specific actor or celebrity in mind. Think of any pop star’s appearance in a TV show or Stan Lee’s cameo roles in Marvel movies. Cameo roles are usually very short and reserved for A-listers. So it may be some time before you’re considered for this type of role!
How much do actors get paid?
Now this is the million-dollar question because as much as you may love acting, you still need to pay those bills, right? Unfortunately, it’s impossible to put a dollar figure on the amount that you may earn as an actor for myriad reasons.
First of all you need to understand that every single role we mentioned above will be paid differently. This makes sense as the more often you appear in a production and the more lines you have to learn, the more you should be paid. So extra work pays less than lead roles or even supporting roles.
Then there is also the type of production you’re involved in. TV commercials, feature films, TV series — they all pay differently and this can depend a great deal on the anticipated audience size or success of the production. If it’s a pilot episode for a new series, actors could be paid significantly less than they would for a role on an existing, successful production. Likewise, a small independently funded movie would pay its actors less than a big budget movie backed by a major production company.
Finally, there is the not so small matter of experience. While the acting roles that you audition for will often have set rates, as you become more experienced and appear in more productions, you may be asked for by name. This is when you and your agency can sit down and discuss increasing your rates. Of course, to get to that point takes a lot of hard work and plenty of practice.
And speaking of practice…
Acting activities and techniques to practise at home
An actor’s career is all about continuous improvement with every role you take often teaching you something new about your craft. This is why it’s absolutely essential to remain in that learning mindset at all times. You can easily do this by creating a practice routine at home that you try to stick to as rigidly as possible.
A cold reading is one of the little surprises that casting directors will drop on you in an audition. This is when you’re given a script that you have never seen before and asked to read with emotion and in character. It can be a tough one to master, but a great little trick we found is to practise reading aloud and with emotion at home. The best thing about this is that you can do it with pretty much anything from a newspaper article to a recipe!
This is a great technique that will help you identify areas where you can improve your skills. It’s a good idea to use a script that you are familiar with, although perhaps not your self tape monologue as you want to challenge yourself. Simply record yourself acting out a scene and keep trying to improve on your performance.
Learn to breathe
Sounds silly when we put it like that, but how you breathe is actually a very important aspect of your performance. This is because it can affect your voice, intonation, and even your ability to memorise and deliver a line. Yep, kinda important, right? A neat little trick is the ‘Hum Ha’ exercise. This involves taking deep breaths and on your exhale, either humming slowly or saying the word HA quickly. This helps you learn to control your breathing so you can enunciate your words correctly.
For a few more tips and techniques, check out our article on acting techniques to practise at home.
An actor’s tips for career success
Here at Hunter Talent, the team has worked with actors at various stages of their careers and those that are most successful usually follow these simple and straightforward tips.
Treat acting like a real job
One of the best pieces of advice any experienced actor will give you is to take your job seriously. That means being professional at all times. From arriving on time to auditions to taking constructive criticism in the spirit it is given, behaving in a professional manner makes all the difference not only to how others perceive you but how you feel about yourself and your career prospects.
Practice makes perfect
It’s an old adage, but it is so very true — practice makes perfect. So keep working on your skills no matter how successful you may become. This learning mindset that we spoke of earlier not only makes you a better actor in the long run but makes you an easier actor to work with. And when an actor is good and easy to work with, directors will want to work with them again.
Don’t listen to the haters
There will always be someone out there who wants to rain on your parade. That’s simply the nature of show business. You just have to remember that it’s not people on social media that you need to be concerned about — you should be thinking only about how directors and casting directors view your skills. If you’re landing roles or at least consistently making it through to the second round of auditions, then you’re obviously doing something right.
Learn from your idols
Sure, practice makes perfect, but you’ll also learn a hell of a lot from watching your idols perform. So instead of just keeping on top of your own techniques, start paying closer attention to the performances of your favourite actors. Look at how they act with emotion, and how they convey certain feelings with simple actions or facial expressions. Just drink it all in because you never know when it might come in handy.
Start to network
A lot of people think that acting is all about knowing the right people to land the big roles, but that’s not quite true. No matter who you know, you still need to put in an amazing performance in your audition to land the role. However, it is still a good idea to start getting to know people in the industry as soon as you can. It can’t do you any harm to be on first name terms with a few casting directors who may think of you first when a specific opportunity comes along.
How to get started as an actor
Sign with an agency with a proven track record
We’ve said this many times before, but signing with the right agency is perhaps the most important step you can take in your acting career. In fact, choosing the wrong one can do irreparable harm to your career before it has even started.
Now, there’s no need to worry too much because there are lots of great agencies out there that will take good care of you throughout your career — Hunter Talent is obviously the best though, right?
The reason it’s so important to choose an agency with a proven track record is that casting directors will often come back to the same agency when casting for new roles before they look elsewhere. So if your agency has worked with major production companies in the past, then they are likely to do so again in the future.
So what about the wrong agencies? Well, there is a growing number of agencies out there that are in it for the membership fees. They simply want to sign up as many actors as they can so they can collect fees while doing nothing to promote or help the actor. This is far from ideal and being connected to an agency like this might do you more harm than good as casting directors will actively avoid agencies that do not have the best interests of their actors at heart.
Build up your experience
This is a tough one as you may be wondering how can you be an actor without experience? Well, the easiest way to do so is to join your local drama club or theatre group. Of course, this will be unpaid experience and while not actual film work, you’d be surprised at just how valuable stage experience can be. After all, you’re performing live without the option to reshoot scenes.
You can also think about working on student films for free. The local film school will always have plenty of student films in production that are often crying out for actors. Just be careful to read the full script before signing up for anything. You want experience, sure, but you also would like it to be good experience if at all possible.
Take care of yourself
Most actors will live two lives at the start of their career. They’ll work a regular job to pay the bills while auditioning and taking on acting roles in their spare time. Those bills need to be paid so we’re not going to tell you that you can’t do this. However, it’s super important that you don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you don’t get enough rest, then your performances in auditions will suffer and you’ll have fewer opportunities as a result. So think very carefully about what you can and can’t take on and make sure that you always have plenty of time for rest and relaxation as well as a few minutes to practise those acting techniques.
How to prepare for your first acting audition?
Your first acting audition is a very big deal and it’s certainly a moment that you can celebrate. But it’s important to remember that this is your first attempt and that while it’s possible you will land the role, it’s not guaranteed by any stretch of the imagination. Okay, so reality check done and dusted, here’s how you prepare for your first acting audition.
Treat it as a learning experience
Every single audition should be treated as a learning experience and not necessarily as your ticket to fame and fortune. This type of mindset will help you deal with rejection because you will face rejection countless times in your career. It will also help you take a more analytical view of your performance in the audition so you can identify which areas that you need to improve on for their next time.
Prep like you never prepped before
A good actor is always prepared for their role, but they’re just as well prepared for an audition. For you this means knowing any lines that you have been told to memorise and being able to recite your monologue backwards if needs be. Seriously, this is actually a great way to impress a casting director while also helping you deal with those nerves. Ideally, we’d recommend spending some time with a friend rehearsing your part or role playing the audition. Can’t hurt and it will certainly help you get in the right frame of mind.
Talk to your agent
Your agent will have all the details for your audition so it’s important that you have a good chat about any requirements. For example, the casting director may have specifically asked that you do not wear makeup or hair products or they may have requested that you wear a white t-shirt. Whatever it is, your agent will know.
Know how to get there!
You’d be surprised at how many new actors make this simple mistake when heading to their first audition. Sure, you may have the address and a rough idea of where to go, but do you actually know how to get there? Is there parking nearby? What about public transport? Knowing these things will help you get there on time which is pretty important in the world of show business.
How to prepare for your first acting role?
It may not happen the first time around, but the time will certainly come when you land your first acting role and the excitement will be too much to bear. Here you are, a paid actor getting ready for your first job! But you know what, just like with your auditions, it pays to be well prepared before you arrive on set. Here’s how.
Don’t get adventurous
In the lead up to your first acting role, we strongly advise that you don’t spend any time doing anything out of the ordinary. Bungee jumping? Forget it. Rock climbing? You’re having a laugh! Stick to your normal routine because the last thing you want is a pulled muscle to ruin your big opportunity.
Eat normal food
No matter how much you might want to experiment in the kitchen with a new recipe or try out that new spicy dish at the local restaurant, don’t do it. Stick to your usual diet so you don’t have any stomach trouble in the lead up to your first day on set. Imagine the embarrassment of having to hold in gas all through your first day on set or worse…
We’re going to sound like a CD stuck on repeat here, but you really do have to be on top of your game for your first day on set. That means that you know all your lines and you have spent hours working on your character perhaps by using some of the acting techniques we mentioned earlier. Just trust us on this one. An actor cannot and never will be able to wing it. So be prepared and you’ll be able to give it your best shot.
If you have any questions or would like to know more about becoming an actor, feel free to give us a shout here at Hunter Talent. We’d be more than happy to have a chat with you to see if we’re a good fit for each other. Even if you opt to sign with another agency, we genuinely hope that the advice in this guide helps you along your way.