There is a range of reasons that you may be considering acting as a career, however the most important tip for being an actor is to love it. If you don’t love to do it, have the drive to continue when things get tough, and to practice your craft willingly and passionately, acting might not be for you. It’s a tough business and very competitive, however there are quite a few ways to crack into the industry and if you really love it, and have a bit of talent, the sky’s the limit.
· Define Your Arena: Actors are used in a variety of mediums. They are needed for commercials, industrial films, television shows, movies, and stage plays. It is important to know if you only want to do one of the above or all of the above. Where you live and the opportunities available in your location may either limit you, or prompt you to relocate. You may not know the answer to this at first, and that is fine. You can still move forward.
· Train, Train, Train: After you have decided the kind of acting you wish to do, get into a class. While there is definitely overlap in technique, the skill set for commercial actors is a little different than that of film actors or stage actors. Word of mouth is the best way to find good training but the internet makes it easy to find great schools too. These are typically a safe place to learn strategies, tactics, and tips to hone your craft, and meet like-minded individuals. Acting classes give you a huge leg up compared to those who have not invested in their acting career and can connect you with important people in the industry who can help you along the way.
· Perform for Free and Build your Resume: A resume will be a big factor when getting any job and that is no different in acting. Take any job you can get to practice. Often, start-up companies need talent to create their first commercial ads, local theater is also a place to get experience if stage acting is where your heart lies. If you live in a city that has a film department, there are ample opportunities to do student films through the universities. . The more experience you get in front of an audience, the more confident you will become.
· Take Criticism & Find a Coach You Trust: With any art, it can be subjective and it’s important that you take criticism well. If a critique will break you, acting might not be the best fit. A good acting coach will be honest and help you define your strengths as a performer. They will guide you along the way and often have real world experience to back it up. Again, do your homework and read reviews. Also see if their current students are working actors.
· Define your Voice: Becoming a marketable actor often involves figuring out what your specific niche is and where you belong. This will help you in the beginning to find what characters and material you truly excel. Whether it be genre like comedy, drama, musicals etc. or character types, tough guy, nurturer, best friend, etc. Determining what you are great at and what casting directors are looking for, will help you to find roles that fit. Know your gold and nurture it.
· Audition: Auditioning is a huge part of being and becoming a working actor. You will have to audition for most any gig you will get and the more auditions you do. the easier it will be to know what to expect. Always have a monologue prepared, study the lines and material extensively, practice with your coach or your class, and be confident. You will not get every part and that’s ok, practicing your skill and auditioning is never a waste of time. Only ask questions if you truly need an answer.
· Tools You Will Need: In addition to your amazing talent, and newly acquired skills, before you can audition, you will need a great head shot (which should be done by a professional), your resume (acting gigs and training only) and, eventually a reel. A reel is a series of short clips that shows the work you have done. Many actors use scenes from their classes or pay someone to shoot a reel for them. Most agents like to see your reel in addition to your head shot and resume before agreeing to take you as a client.
· Securing an Agent: An agent’s job is to know the in’s and outs of the business in your community and to submit you for acting jobs. Don’t look for an agent until you have taken some classes, have a few items on your resume and have a reel to present. Agents have the connections to get you auditions and guide you when it comes to accepting roles. Your agent and your acting coach will be your best assets when it comes to setting yourself up for success.
· Never stop learning: Lastly, never be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Great actors push themselves to do more and learn more. The more versatile you are the more desirable you become to casting directors.
If you live in the Dallas, Texas area and are looking for acting classes or an acting coach, contact TBell Actors Studio. Theresa Bell has over 30 years of experience as an actress and teacher and offers a wide range of acting classes from beginners to masters.