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How to Become an Actor Without Drama School Training

Updated on July 1, 2015

Start Your Acting Career With a Plan

First and foremost, acting is a business. Just like with any other business, to succeed, you need a solid plan. Let’s take a look at what kind of a plan you should have for a successful acting career.

  1. Knowledge about the business
  2. Acting training
  3. Places to get experience
  4. The right marketing tools

You should start by acquiring knowledge about the business side of acting. Visit every relevant website that discusses the right and wrong ways to approach the entertainment industry, as well as any shortcuts to becoming a successful actor.

One site I recommend is the regularly updated Acting in London website (don’t be misguided by the name. They cover acting for actors all over the world). Then try various forums, Facebook pages, and Twitter for advice. Actors are usually very open about helping other actors out.

The next step in your research is to find the best books about acting as a craft and a business. The previously mentioned Acting in London website has a book about starting out in acting which you can download directly from their website, which offers a lot of information about how things work in the entertainment industry.

For more great information, I've included a great book about acting at the end of this article. Check it out. Not only will you gain invaluable insight about the process and career of an actor, this book will also motivate you to pursue your career and give it everything you've got.

Invaluable Acting Training

Always stay in training.
Always stay in training.

The next step toward developing your career as an actor is training. Every good actor on the face of the earth has been trained by some good acting teacher. You are no exception. To become great you must learn the craft, including how to audition, act, read sides, play in front of the camera, and all other subtleties.

This is very important. Not only will you become a better actor with training, but acting agents and casting directors will respect you when you have training under your belt.

Find acting classes in your area. A good website will list all of the acting universities, drama schools, and classes in your area. When you find one or two classes, book a session to see if they suit you. If you like the style, sign on and begin your acting training. You will be making an extremely important second step towards your future acting career.

Your Acting Experience is Important

One day, you'll be there too.
One day, you'll be there too.

Smaller cities with smaller markets have less opportunities than big cities, but may be some filmmakers or students making their own films. Apply to work on those projects. Do your best to film a great piece and then wait for the footage.

Once everything is edited, the director will send you the material where you appear. Collect that footage. Keep gathering until you have at least 3-4 strong roles in short films. Then find an editor on Craigslist or Gumtree and pay them to professionally edit the material into a 2-3 minute montage. This will be your show reel and serve as proof of your acting experience.

Lastly, you need the right marketing tools. These can be summed up in just three steps: head shots, acting resume, and show reel.

You need a platform where you can show off your tools. That is your casting calls website profile. Research the Internet and find a website that you like. Register an account and put up your information, description, upload show reel and resume, and load your head shots.

Now you can start promoting yourself, working and acting like there's no tomorrow and seize every opportunity you get! The time will come when an acting agent will come knocking on your door, and then serious TV/film work or West End and Broadway offers will start pouring in.

Have You Decided Yet

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Final Words and Books to Read

It takes a lot of work to launch an acting career, but trust me: it will be even more work to actually pursue your dream. The only difference is that the work will not feel like a job. If you are passionate about this craft, then you’ll never never want to leave a film or TV set, or rehearsal and stage. The ovation that you receive, the cast mates that you get to work with, and all the attention and praise of your work… this is something to live for!

Remember, an actor has to stay in training. That includes constantly reading books on the subject. Vary your reading between the business-focused and the mastery of acting books. If you're passionate about becoming successful, this won't be a tedious process. You will enjoy every minute of it! Best of luck to you.

Best Acting Book

Audition: Everything an Actor Needs to Know to Get the Part
Audition: Everything an Actor Needs to Know to Get the Part

The only book you'll ever need about how to prepare for and make the most of the auditioning process.



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    • profile image

      suneel 2 years ago

      I wanaa be an actor ..and I m sure that I can make it...

    • profile image

      ac 2 years ago

      i am trying but inside i am dieing becouse noth works (((

    • profile image

      Bhupinder Singh 3 years ago

      Thanks. I liked the way this article was written. Continuous improvement!

    • profile image

      Shadi kemishi 3 years ago

      I am jst a kid who trully loves acting and have been acting in school but never got an acting gig...I spended my lifetime wishing to be an actor but not knowing how....Thanks to this article now I am walking as a new person

    • profile image

      W_Woodland 4 years ago

      Great article Tom. I'm starting out in the industry myself and have done an absolute ton of research and I think your articles (I've read about 3 of them) sum everything up nicely and certainly point us all in the right direction.

      I might add that your recommendation of Michael Shurtleff's 'Audition' is spot on. It is a superb and VITAL book for any aspiring actor and, in fact, EVERYONE should read it. A lot of what he teaches is transferable.

    • Tom London profile image

      Tom London 4 years ago from London, United Kingdom


      Thanks a bunch for voting "interesting" and leaving a comment. Appreciate it :)

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 4 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      interesting. Those students in drama class should read this hub. A positive way to get into the right path. Voted interesting