Are you looking to get in to the acting industry and after some advice?
Here are some pointers to help you find your way when you’re just starting out as an actor.
- Get professional headshots.
You want headshots that capture your personality and feel alive and vibrant. The you who walks in to a casting room should be the same you that casting directors have already seen in your headshots. Headshots should be a true reflection of what you look like, but they should also look great, and most importantly you need to be happy with them! Get a good night’s sleep before your session and drink plenty of water.
Get your headshots done by a professional photographer who specialises in acting headshots. They’ll be able to advise you and guide you throughout your session, and they know what casting directors are looking for! It’s so important to pick the right photographer for you, so do your research before booking in.
Think about your casting type and take a couple of change of outfits to the shoot. For example, take a smart jacket and shirt, t-shirt and casual jacket, blouse and cardigan, something modern and something classic, timeless. Keep any make up natural and if you have long hair, wear it down in at least some of your photos. Don’t dress for the current season as it will age your photo quickly, and don’t wear logos or obvious brands.
- Get out there.
Meet people and see shows.
Know the Industry you want to be part of. Go to your local theatre and see who’s been cast in what. Get to know the names in the programmes. Watch TV and films and check the credits for the casting director. Start up the conversation, don’t wait to be invited, but then don’t overstay your welcome!
- Start saving.
Being an actor can be expensive.
It can mean booking travel at last minute or updating headshots or showreels to fit a casting brief at short notice. Maintaining haircuts so you continue to look like your headshot or buying a new outfit for a meeting. Going to the theatre regularly and networking afterwards. It can be an expensive industry to work in.
- Attend classes
Classes help to continually develop your character building and improvisation skills ready for auditions. You need to feel like an actor even when you’re not working. You need to keep up the skills and continue to learn new ones.
Go to different classes and cherry pick what you need. Don’t look up to one person as the ultimate Svengali. There will be positive and negative aspects to every class. Take what you personally need and leave the rest.
- Be prepared.
Have two contrasting monologues ready to perform at all times.
Something modern and a classical piece, but keep it in your range and something you feel comfortable and confident with. Don’t choose explicit material as a general rule. Casting directors, in my experience, don’t want to sit through endless swearing or discussing of body parts if they can help it. Keep it in your age range and experience, relatively.
If you play an instrument, sing, or speak another language, practice, practice, practice! Don’t get rusty! You may be asked to show these skills in a casting tomorrow so always be ready. Have songs or pieces of varying genres that you know well enough to use in a casting, and maybe even learn a monologue in another language.
Be confident to call yourself an Actor Musician if that’s what you ar,e but if you are just learning the guitar don’t exaggerate your skill level on your CV – you will only get found out! Skilled Actor Musicians are always in demand!
- Be registered with Spotlight.
Don’t fake credits or make Supporting Artist roles seem bigger than they actually were.
Train at an accredited drama school or get 4 professional credits then get yourself on Spotlight. As an actor you will look more professional and be taken more seriously by being on spotlight. But being on Spotlight does not guarantee you jobs or a career as an actor.
Build up your showreel material. Student films are a great way of doing this if you get good scenes that show off your skills. Having a showreel on your Spotlight profile is a must. Get a voice reel and add that to your Spotlight profile as well.
- Be available.
Because acting can be expensive, most actors will have another job to boost their income, but it’s important to still be available to attend auditions or work acting jobs. Have a plan in place for missing work to get to an audition at short notice. Make your employers aware that you are an actor and you will need to take a day off at short notice. Be prepared to drop commitments and attend London castings, and always have a plan for how you’ll get there.
- Keep your head up!
Find ways to stay positive and stay in the game. You need to be in it for the long haul. Have other stuff you do that gets you excited and makes you feel like you. Get creative! It can also help to have a group of like-minded friends you can talk to who understand what you are going through as an actor starting out. You need to know you are not on your own. You’ve got this!