How to Become an Actor: Getting Into Acting in Australia
Are you an inspiring actor looking to break into the business in Australia? Want to go beyond community theatre and learn how to be an equity actor and make money from your passion?
Australia has given us amazing actors like Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, Margot Robbie, and Chris Hemsworth. It may be a tougher market than Hollywood, but there are still ways to break into the industry and get your start.
Read on for tips on how to become an actor and how to get into acting in Australia so you can take steps today that will get you closer to your dream.
How to Become an Actor: Getting Into Acting in Australia
Take Acting Classes
If you’re wondering how to get into acting, the first step is training. Before you dive into auditioning for paid acting jobs, you need to build your skillset. Whether you’ve been acting for your whole life or have no experience, you should always be working on your craft to stay ahead of the competition.
Even the best A-list actors still take acting classes or see an acting coach to improve their work, so you should do the same. The first step is to get into an acting class.
Before choosing a class, think about the type of acting you want to do. In Australia, it’s a good idea to be skilled in multiple forms of acting so that you can try out for all kinds of roles. The competition is stiff, and the roles are limited here, so being as versatile as possible should be a priority.
A good beginner acting class should give you the basic skillsets you need for any acting job, but after that, try to take a more specific class.
Do you want to start auditioning for commercials? Look for a course about that.
Want to go into improv comedy acting? Take an improv class.
Wondering how to become a tv actor? That’s right — take a tv acting class.
For the record, an improv class is always a good idea. Even if you don’t want to be an improviser or comedy actor one day, learning to think on your feet will still help you in your career.
Community Theatre and Student Films
Along with acting classes, you should also get involved with as many amateur acting opportunities as you can in the beginning. Audition for community theatre roles and sign up to be in student films for free.
This amateur work is what will bulk up your CV and showreel while you’re auditioning for professional jobs, and casting directors will appreciate seeing that you are acting at every chance you get.
For community theatre, google your local theatres and go to their auditions page to see what they’re casting. Search for student films in your area on backstage.com.
Once you feel confident in your skills, you should start auditioning as much and as often as you can. Take every audition seriously, be professional, do your best work, but also keep in mind that you audition for way more jobs than you actually book.
It’s typical to only book one job out of every twenty auditions, so you must learn not to take rejection personally. Instead, think of each audition as getting you one step closer to the one you’ll book, and use them as an opportunity to grow your confidence and improve your auditioning skills.
Showing up to auditions prepared will help you stand out from other actors who didn’t do as much prep work as you. Learning your lines and rehearsing your scene several times beforehand will also help calm your audition nerves.
How to Find Auditions
Finding the right auditions can be tricky before you have representation, but luckily there are some great online resources to help you.
You can create an account on showcast.com and backstage.com to search for auditions and casting calls by location. However, you may be asked to send in a taped audition instead of auditioning in person.
Start getting comfortable taping yourself now. Ensure you have a space in your home with a clean background and good lighting to set up your camera. Ask a friend from your acting class to read scenes with you that you can tape and watch back.
The more comfortable you get with taping yourself now, the better your audition will go.
You’ll get more auditions if you’re an equity member. The equity in Australia has some fees, but the connections and opportunities it will open for you are definitely worth it.
Prepare Promotional Materials
There are three things you need to have when you start auditioning:
- A headshot
- A CV
- A showreel
You should start working on all of these immediately, even if you don’t have any professional experience yet.
For your headshot, hire a professional headshot photographer for the best outcome. Your headshot is the first thing a casting director sees, so it should be high-quality.
It should also showcase your real personality. The person who shows up at the audition should actually look like the person in the headshot. Don’t get all glammed up for a sexy headshot if you have a more innocent look in real life.
Present yourself how you actually are in your headshot to get auditions for roles that are right for you.
For your CV, keep it clean and professional. Your personality will shine through in your headshot and showreel.
Your CV is for the facts that the casting director needs to know about you. List your training, previous experience, special skills, and contact information.
How do you create a showreel if you don’t have any professional experience? This is where those student films come in. Your amateur acting gigs will make up your showreel until you start booking jobs.
If you have a great tape setup at home, you can also add self-taped scenes to your reel while you’re starting out.
Your reel should be no more than three minutes, and it should only include your best work. Just like your headshot, your reel is the first impression you make on casting directors.
Not all auditions require them, so start auditioning for the ones who don’t first while you work on your reel. It’s better to wait until you have enough footage for a high-quality showreel than to send out a poor quality one.
Start Seeking Representation
Securing an agent will help advance you in your career quicker than you could on your own. An agent has access to auditions happening around the city that aren’t listed on the free websites, so they can get you auditioning more. As they get to know your work, they can also focus on sending you on the right auditions, so you have a better chance of getting a callback.
Agents also have connections in the industry that could move you forward, like a relationship with a casting director or a great headshot photographer.
So how do you secure an agent? First, figure out what you’re looking for and be aware of any potential scams. Agents don’t have to be licensed, so anyone can say they’re an agent and can get you a bunch of jobs only to turn out to be a fraud.
A good agency won’t charge you a fee just to join. They get paid when you get paid and take a 10-20% commission from your paycheck.
If an agent requires a hefty payment before you book any jobs through them, walk away. They’re trying to scam you.
What to Look For
You should feel comfortable with your agency and feel like your agent has your success as their top priority. While they can’t control how many auditions become available with the right parts for you, they should always be promoting you so that they can get you as many auditions as possible.
Your agent should be a great communicator. They talk to the casting directors after auditions, so if a casting director gives them any feedback about your performance, positive or negative, your agent should tell you about it. Since this is an opportunity for you to improve, they shouldn’t sugarcoat or avoid giving you negative feedback.
Your agency should also be encouraging. The film and television industry is tough, and you will face a lot of rejection. If you feel like you want to quit, your agent should be able to talk you out of it and encourage you to keep going.
They should also understand your goals and what kind of parts you want to go for. If your agency consistently sends you out for auditions that are totally wrong for you, you need to speak to them about it or find a new agent.
How to Join an Agency
Most agencies have online applications these days. After you submit that, they’ll call you to come in for an audition if they think you’re a good fit.
If you don’t get a callback, don’t take it personally. They may already represent someone in your demographic and need to fill their books with more diverse talent.
Sometimes an agent might see your work, like at an acting showcase or online, and ask you to come in for an audition. However, the most proactive way to secure an agent is to apply online.
Auditioning for an agent can be just as nerve-wracking as auditioning for a professional acting job, but it’s also a great opportunity to showcase yourself. For agent auditions, you’ll likely be able to pick what scenes and monologues you audition with, so make sure you pick something that’s in the same category as the types of roles you want to audition for.
If the agency likes you and thinks you’re a good fit for them, they’ll invite you to join their agency. You’ll sign a contract that works out the commission agreement, and then they can start sending you on auditions! Most agencies start with one-year contracts so that you can reevaluate if things aren’t going well by the end of the year.
How to Book Jobs
Now that you have an agent, you should be going on even more auditions. This is great! Every audition gets you one step closer to booking a professional acting job.
A couple of things need to happen for you to book jobs. First, you have to be right for the part. The smallest things can get you eliminated from the running, like your height. Keep your chin up and keep auditioning.
Second, you have to be talented. This is why taking classes, doing theatre, and getting in as many student films as you can is so important.
If the casting director likes you at an audition, they’ll ask you to come back and audition again for the director. From there, you may move on and audition for the producer or network executives, which is usually the last step before you find out if you got the part or not. Getting to this stage of the process is huge, so you should feel proud of yourself no matter what happens.
Should You Relocate?
Becoming an actor in Australia isn’t easy. There aren’t as many opportunities as there are in Hollywood, but being in the right city can definitely help. If you want to get into screen acting, you should be in Sydney or Melbourne.
You’ll have the most opportunities in one of these cities, and you’ll meet other aspiring actors to go through the hustle alongside.
Use These Tips on How to Become an Actor to Get Started
If you ask multiple acting coaches and professional actors, “how do I become an actor?” You’ll most likely get different answers from each of them. There’s no perfect formula on how to become an actor.
Everyone has a different journey, and it’s normal to experience some detours. The most important thing is that you are always working and getting better. The best actors got to their position because of their skill, determination, hard work, and persistence.
Continue to take classes, get involved in as many projects as you can, work on scenes with fellow aspiring actors, learn about the business, and audition as much as possible. If you’re seeking representation, apply for Hunter Talent here.