October 25th, 2007 by u2charger
If you want to learn how to become an actor, you first have to ask yourself if this is the career choice you really want to make. Behind the glitz and glamor is a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. In fact, most actors, by far, never see any glitz and rarely any glamor. It’s hard work that many times doesn’t pay the way you want. Did you know that the average salary for professional actors was $23,470 in 2002 (education-portal.com)?
Alright, so that’s probably not something you want to hear. If you’re chasing high income, turn around and go someplace else. There are easier ways to make lots of money. But if you have something else inside pushing you, driving you into the acting world, then read on. Because I’m going to show you 5 things you need to do to get started right now building your career as an actor or actress.
One more thing, notice I used the word “build”. That’s because that’s likely what you’ll be doing. Success as an actor won’t come overnight. There is a BUNCH of competition and loads of rejection in store for you. Look at this as a journey and you’ll be fine.
Ok, here we go…
1. Act - If you want to become an actor, you have to act. Now before you roll your eyes at the obvious, lots and lots of people simply dream of acting. They research how to do it, they watch movies, they daydream. But they never act. If you live in a half-way populated place, then there are community and school plays for you to get involved in. The more the better. You’ll hone your skills and begin building your resume. But above all you’ll be taking action.
2. Get Some Class – Some say an acting class is great, others a waste of time. Some “artistes” believe a class stifles their true artistic profession. My opinion, that’s ridiculous. The value of a class is immesurable. First you get feedback. Ok, criticism. But that’s good. You need to learn early how to handle it because it kind of goes with the territory. But you also build relationships and contacts, plus you can actually learn how to act better. I know, it’s a novel concept. Bottom line is, you’ll benefit and will likely find more jobs.
“Never treat your audience as customers, always as partners.”
3. Do Your Homework – Don’t worry, this is the fun kind. Start going to plays and watching movies with a purpose. Take notes on things you notice. How a scene is shot or how an actor or actress handles a certain emotion. Get a feel for the energy build up. You know what I mean? Be critical. Ask yourself how you would do it better. You can also rent a great movie, copy down the dialogue from a scene, and video yourself performing it. You want to start immersing yourself in the world of acting. Again, it’s about taking action.
“Don’t measure success by fame or money. Some of the wealthiest and most famous actors are completely lonely and miserable people. On the other hand, many unknown actors may not be basking in fame and riches, but they’re having a lot of fun just being on stage or in front of the camera….If you truly love acting more than anything else in the world, you’ll always be a success….” Breaking Into Acting For Dummies
4. Major City Move? – Lots of people say you’ve got to make the move. Well, if you want to get real serious as an actor or actress, you do. But in my opinion, you do this after building up your basic skills first. Spend some time on the first three steps I’ve just talked about and save a lot of money. You’re going to need it.
“Life, is not about having and getting, but about being and becoming.”
5. Act Like A Real Actor – Ok, I don’t mean be snooty and offer to sign autographs. I’m talking about doing the things “real” actors do, or have to do. Get a headshot done. It’s your 8×10 calling card to casting directors. It needs to look like you. I’m serious here. Don’t try to look glamorous. Look like yourself and you’ll get cast for the right parts. It may cost you $200, but it’s the price of doing business. Also read the trade papers like “Backstage” and “Dramalogue.” You’ll stay up on the happenings in the industry plus find lots of casting call opportunities. Finally, exercise. Acting can be strenuous, so you need to be in decent shape.
I think that’s enough to get you going. In my opinion, the best way to become an actor is to start acting like an actor. Be a professional in how you prepare yourself, look at yourself, and treat your career. And before you know it, casting directors and audiences will begin to see you as an actor, too.
Recommended Resource: The Insider Secrets On How To Break Into The Acting Scene