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Want To Get Into Acting? - 10 Tips to Help the Budding Actor

Updated on October 20, 2016
chef-de-jour profile image

Andrew is a qualified drama teacher - Huddersfield University degree, UK, and has taught drama for over 10 years. He is also a Film Extra.

Want to be an Actor?


Everything you need to know about working your way into the world of acting. Whether you're a complete beginner or already clued up these useful tips will help your cause.

1. Start To Learn - Join a drama group

2. Networking

3. Auditions

4. Acting school,university,academy

5. Talent Agents. With Video.

6. Casting directors.

7. Resume or CV

8. Be Mentally Tough

9. Do Your Own Research

10. Love Your Work, Know Your Strengths.

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German actress Anne Breitfeld
German actress Anne Breitfeld | Source

Helpful Tips On Acting To Follow


There is no magic wand to wave to get you into the acting profession but through good judgement and guts you can get to where you want to be. Those desperate for quick answers will find themselves disappointed.

The reality is that you get into acting only through hard work, persistence and yes, exploiting your talents!!

Not all become famous- only a few at the top of their profession. But who would want to dampen a dream? Dreams are in us because we feel we can make them a reality. By having your feet firmly on the ground you can.

But, if you're really serious about wanting to act where do you start and what do you do? The following tips and suggestions will help you get to where you want to be.

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Summer Schools and Community Theater


Here are some contacts to help get you involved in local acting and performing:


Community Theater USA

Young Actors Theatre London UK


1. Start To Learn - Join A Drama Group


It might seem obvious but you'd be surprised how many young people think they can just walk into acting without any experience! It just does not happen.

So the first step is to get involved in drama, movement, singing and performing. Start to learn the artform and the craft of acting by joining a school group, a local acting group such as the Summer Schools - Drama and Music or a company workshop.

Learn to love what you do and as you progress broaden your learning base - movement, gesture, voice, improvisation, clowning, singing, dancing - all these can help improve your posture, physical presence, vocal and acting skills.

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Acting for Young Actors: The Ultimate Teen Guide
Acting for Young Actors: The Ultimate Teen Guide

A useful informative guide book especially for teenagers and young actors wanting to make the most of their talents. Recommended.

 

2. Ask For Help And Start To Network


As you move onwards and upwards it's always good to ask those around you for help and advice. Teachers, educators, colleagues and other professionals could have answers and snippets of information vital to your progress. Local knowledge can be priceless. If at any time you are stuck then move forward and ask.

If needs be keep an address book or notebook for names and contacts. Store these on your mobile and let people have your number.

  • But be safe! Double check names and numbers for security and let a friend or parents know your moves!!

Get to shows, auditions, workshops and performances to find out what's involved and how things work.

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3. Auditions


Every actor has to go through auditions, from beginner to Hollywood star. You can't avoid them so better to start enjoying them!

An audition is the time to show off your skills, preparedness and talents to those who may want you in a play or on a course at acting school. You'll have to stand solo in front of a panel of auditors and do your thing for a few precious moments.

Basically, you learn a monologue or two, both classical and modern, a song sometimes, and give it your all to those watching your every move!!

You can get all the advice and help you need here:

Learn Your Acting Lines

Shakespeare Monologues

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Judi Dench studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama, London
Judi Dench studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama, London | Source

4. Acting School, University or Academy?


For those thinking about higher study at an acting school you're talking 2 - 4 years depending on your course and degree. Don't worry about fees at this stage. Money is important of course but it should never be the prime reason for you to stop living and working for your dream.

The fact is many great actors have graduated from acting schools world wide and there are places to suit all types, shapes and sizes. Some schools will grant you an audition if you have a letter of recommendation from a teacher but lack the grades.

If you can work hard and gain good grades at middle and high school and do well at the audition for acting school, who knows where you might end up?

In the USA, UK, Canada and Australia there are many excellent universities, schools and academies looking for talented would be actors. The advantage is, many good schools and academies and universities run showcases and workshops and invite casting directors and agents to see the talent on show!

You can look here to see the top 25 acting schools:

Top Acting Schools

The Student Room

10 Top Acting Schools in India

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Agency Callback


When the agency or casting people are happy with your audition you'll get a callback and be given a side, a small script, with guidelines on what to do next.

This can take a few days sometimes but often they'll let you know immediately. Do not worry if you don't hear from them. This doesn't mean you're not a good actor!! It more than likely means that you didn't quite fit the bill, or were not what they were looking for at the time.

If you don't hear from them then don't hang around, move on to the next audition and agency! Be positive. Learn from any mistakes you think you made in the audition and get ready for the next.

5. Talent Agents




A talent agent is someone who helps an actor get an audition or recommendation for a job. They act as the middle-men between actors and casting directors. If you're a young actor with enough experience then you'll need an agent to boost your opportunities and give you support.

Only work with agents who are ATA franchised, that is, regulated and licensed by the state. That way you won't get duped. Never pay money to an agent either. If they sign you up and get you work they'll take a cut of your earnings, usually 10%.

The big question is - How do you find an agent? Or how does the agent find you? The answer is a mix of both. If you do enough auditions, workshops and classes you'll get to meet agents themselves or the actors who know the agents. That's why networking and getting involved is so important. Agents may also turn up at showcasings just to check the latest talent out. Keep one or two monologues handy, and a song, just in case you're asked for an impromptu 'piece'.

Some agents will look at your head shots, resume and covering letter if you have enough experience and are keen to perform. It doesn't hurt to try but don't expect an immediate response. Keep happy and busy with classes, performances, workshops and networking.

Click here for more information:

411faq.backstage.com

www.sagaftra.org/content/getting-started-actor-faq

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Casting Call for Black Cats in 1961 movie Tales of Terror!
Casting Call for Black Cats in 1961 movie Tales of Terror! | Source

6. Casting Calls, Agencies and Directors


Casting directors hire actors and give them work. They work closely with a casting team to find the exact person they need for a shoot, a play, a commercial or whatever. It's their job to attend auditions, casting calls and showcases, often based on recommendation from agents.


When you audition you'll be performing for the casting director essentially. Here are some great front line tips for the young actor:

Tips From A Casting Director


Casting calls are sometimes open (advertised to the public) or made to casting agencies for cast selection. You can find out more about casting calls here:

Casting Calls


Casting agencies hire extras, walk-ons, background people and actors for all manner of productions.

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Words of Warning

Never go alone to a casting call or audition that asks for nudity or semi-nudity. Make sure the casting call notice you respond to is from an official source - a casting call agency proper.

Never sign to an agency without a friend or colleague in attendance unless you are 100% certain that all is clean and above board.

Agencies shouldn't ask for upfront fees but some might. If they find you work they'll take a percentage of your earnings, often 10-12%.

Video and Film


In the USA Los Angeles is the HQ for film and t.v. acting. If you live far away you may want to send video footage of a performance you've done to an agency, with resume and brief biography. If they like what they see they may call you in for an interview.

Be prepared for a long wait and don't neglect your acting meanwhile.

7. Resume or CV (Curriculum Vitae)


As you progress in your career or studies you should create a resume or CV and give it a professional finish with clear head shots (photo portrait) and smart portfolio.

This can make a difference. If you have a full and detailed resume showing all of your acting experiences and projects an agent may be persuaded to have a look at you perform or bring you in for an interview to get to know you.

Start early! Use high quality paper and get good quality photographs.

There are companies who will create a package for you at a small cost but if you follow the instructions in this article you should be fine:

Acting resume or CV

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Source

8. Be Mentally Tough and Proactive.


Many actors are essentially dreamy people who are happier pretending to be someone else!! But don't kid yourself into thinking you can dream your way into a career. You may have to work part-time to make ends meet as you go about the business of securing real acting work!

  • You've got to be pushing things forward all the time.

Sitting around twiddling your thumbs waiting for a reply from that acting school you emailed or that agent who promised to catch up with you after the audition won't get you noticed.

Shyness might be useful in a role but it'll hold you back if you're wanting to promote yourself and your talents. If you've been given a helpful name or number get in touch today not tomorrow. Time is of the essence in the acting business and you've got to try to be one step ahead.

You can find more help here:

Promote Your Talent

Actor Hub

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9. Do Your Own Research


Finding things out for yourself will help you become independent and resourceful. Sometimes it's a thin line between getting a place at summer school, a slot in an audition or an opportunity to meet an agent. Or missing out.

You can blog, email, text, phone, write letters and meet one to one in person.

  • Keep up to date with all things acting, both locally and nationally, and you won't get left behind.

Most important of all, keep your acting and performing fresh. Go to classes, seminars, workshops and develop your skills.

More information here:

Acting Advice and Information

Acting College Information

Young Actors

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Learn From Other Young Actors Here


You can get a good idea of what to expect as a beginner in the acting world by looking here:


Young Actors


of different acting techniques here:


Acting Techniques



10. Love Your Work, Know Your Strengths


Whatever your training, whatever your method of acting, learn to relate to the art of drama, the human ability to use mime, gesture, word and movement to create new worlds and experiences.

  • Trust in your talents, share them with others generously and you will learn to know your strengths.

Are you attracted to strong emotionally extreme roles? Do you prefer the quiet heroine? Perhaps you're a clown with a tragic heart? Maybe you're versatile, an all rounder?

As you gain experience it'll become obvious what you're good at and you'll know how to do things in performance and rehearsal almost intuitively. You've heard the expression - Play to your strengths? - well this means finding your niche and exploiting your natural talents.

As a beginner you should go for everything you can, try any sort of role, as long as you don't stretch yourself too much. In time you'll get to know your type and strengths.

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Help stop plagiarism. Please contact author if you suspect this original article has been stolen.

© 2013 Andrew Spacey

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  • chef-de-jour profile image
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    Andrew Spacey 2 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

    Thank you for the visit. So glad you found the article helpful - hard work and persistence go hand in hand with talent!

  • jimmyglaughlin profile image

    Jim Laughlin 4 years ago from Connecticut

    Very nice, good tips!

  • chef-de-jour profile image
    Author

    Andrew Spacey 4 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

    Many thanks. Are you still acting or doing more sensible things?

  • chef-de-jour profile image
    Author

    Andrew Spacey 4 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

    Thank you so much. Torrilynn.

  • chef-de-jour profile image
    Author

    Andrew Spacey 4 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

    Many thanks ,much appreciate your visit and comment. I hope so too.

  • chef-de-jour profile image
    Author

    Andrew Spacey 4 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

    Fascinating story. I never really appreciated Richard Gere as an actor - until I saw him in Chicago - a great display which I'm sure forced him out of the comfort zone for some months. But I now know he had previous experience in The King and I!!

    Appreciate your visit and votes and comment.

  • pagesvoice profile image

    Dennis L. Page 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border

    Voted up, useful and interesting. Your article brings out the thespian in me. I know first hand what a focused and determined actor can do. For you see, I went to North Syracuse High School with none other than Richard Gere. We were both in Drama Club. I was there for the experience, to meet new people and to have fun. Richard Gere was there to lay the foundation for a lifelong career in acting. Even as kids many of us knew how determined Richard was. After high school he immediately moved to New York City and the rest is history. By the way, in his senior play (I have the picture in my yearbook) Richard had the starring role in "The King and I."

  • chef-de-jour profile image
    Author

    Andrew Spacey 4 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

    Thank you torrilyn. I hope someone can benefit from this hub and get to act one day!

  • chef-de-jour profile image
    Author

    Andrew Spacey 4 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

    Many thanks for the visit and comment, I really appreciate it.

  • chef-de-jour profile image
    Author

    Andrew Spacey 4 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

    Thank you for the visit carozy, much appreciated. I hope someone will benefit from this hub!

  • chef-de-jour profile image
    Author

    Andrew Spacey 4 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

    hey torrilynn thank you for the visit and comment..you wanted to be an astronaut? Wow. Well, if you get very rich you might be able to book a moon flight sometime!

    Take care.

  • torrilynn profile image

    torrilynn 4 years ago

    chef-de-jour,

    thanks for the tips

    I've thought about being an actress in the past along with being

    an astronaut a doctor a singer a painter and an author : )

    as you can see I was quite young at the time

    thanks for the tips though they are quite useful

    Voted up and shared.

  • carozy profile image

    carozy 4 years ago from San Francisco

    Voted up and useful. Great article with a lot of good tips and advice. Thanks for sharing this info, I'm sure a young actor or actress will find it helpful.

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