So, you live in Small Town, USA and want to make it to the Big City. How do you do it? There are numerous steps and options. But let’s start with voice lessons, acting class, dance class, auditioning, networking, and working side jobs until you hit your big break. So whether you studied musical theatre at a conservatory or you are just starting out in the business, the following tips are for everyone. This is a career of a little bit of luck and a lot of hard work.
Audition for local theatres
If the acting or singing bug hits you from a young age (as it often does), start by auditioning for your school and/or community theatres. Many schools and local theatre companies are turning out top-notch productions. Participating in these shows can teach you valuable lessons of the theatre, i.e.: always be on time, never touch another actor’s prop, come to rehearsals focused and prepared, be courteous to ALL actors and crew members, honor stage traditions (saying “break a leg” instead of “good luck”), and many more. If you have never auditioned before, talk to the director. They are there to help you learn and should be more than willing to give you some good tips and advice. Get some experience under your belt and you’ll be one step further towards reaching your goal.
Take a class, practice, repeat
Pretty self-explanatory, yet so important. Take voice lessons, acting classes and dance classes. You will never be done learning something new, no matter how naturally talented you are. These lessons will not only provide you with valuable information about technique and performance, but they will also increase your confidence level with each new advancement you make.
If you’re not one to network, now is the time to start. So many of you are probably tired of hearing “it’s who you know”, but often it really is who you know. You want those directors or casting directors to have YOU in mind before they even hold auditions. So, start by always accepting invitations to networking-type events. Be charming, yet sincere. Don’t put on a performance, save that for the audition. Stay in touch and follow up with different people and projects. Networking doesn’t have to be so bad. Just remember, you may be making friends and colleagues for the rest of your life.
Make the move
Ready to head to the Big Apple? Take the leap. It’s much easier to start auditioning for bigger productions in the city that holds many of those auditions.
Be Prepared to job-hunt
It’s not very often actors and musicians will score a theatre job after a few auditions. So be prepared to find a side job- waiting tables, nannying, office work, etc. And don’t feel bad or unsuccessful because you have to work another job. Those countless hours of waiting in line for auditions will remind you just how committed you are to your passion.
Get that audition book ready, and buy some good standing shoes. As mentioned before, be prepared to stand in substantial lines for any given audition. Visit a good casting site (hey, you’re already here!) and audition for as much as you can. Many professional theatre auditions will say AEA only (Actors’ Equity Association), but if there is time, casting directors will often see non-AEA actors at the end. You can’t get the job if you don’t try.
Obviously, there are quite a few other steps to consider when committing to a career in theatre. But the big things to remember are keeping up with your craft and staying motivated. It may take months, it may take years- but you’ll never know unless you put forth the effort.