How to Get Started in Acting: An Overview of Techniques, Tips and Everything You Need to Know to Get Your Career Underway – NY to LA
So you want to get started in acting. First of all, that’s fantastic, and don’t let anybody tell you different!
There are few professions that allow you to so fully exercise the entire range of your intellectual capacities while simultaneously prompting you to plumb the depths of human emotions.
But there are challenges, and there is a learning curve to Acting Success. It can take a while to really get your feet under you and get comfortable with what you need to do to really make an honest go of it as an actor. Luckily for you, we’ve put together this overview of several articles that can help you to avoid some common pitfalls, get your acting game up to a professional level right off the bat, and give you the confidence you need to get your career underway!
Ask any talent agent and they’ll tell you that even if you’re the most talented actor in the world, one who can make women swoon and make men weep–or who can make men swoon and women weep, or both–none of that will matter without one thing. If you don’t come in with the right tools, no agent in the world can market your talents. “Tools” of course is a vague word that includes lots of ideas within a deceptively small amount of letters. But first and foremost we should talk about headshots. This is your calling card. This is the mini-you that stands in for the actual you on the desk of that potential agent or casting director. What you also hope it does is stand out from the pile of hundreds of other headshots these people sift through every day. To that end, it’s vital that you don’t handicap yourself by settling for an amateurish, cheap, or outdated headshot. No matter how talented you are, no matter how many credits you have, if your headshot looks like a photo your drunken fraternity brother took of you at a kegger, it is going in the trash. If it looks like you took a selfie and made that your headshot in order to save some money, it’s going in the trash. Perhaps worst of all is the one headshot mistake when it DOESN’T go in the trash right away: if they call you in to read based on what you look like in your headshot from the first Obama Administration, you’ve likely just gotten your hopes up for nothing. You’ve also wasted your time and theirs.
Check out this Headshot article for tips, and mistakes to avoid when shopping around for your next headshots.
If you’re at the point where you’re seriously considering taking acting from an amateur sport to the professional arena, then very likely you’ve come from a university theater program. Or perhaps you’ve taken some classes in your community. Or maybe you started out participating in some community theater plays and/or musicals, as these are the most easily accessible avenues for budding actors to get their first chance at performing. But no matter how you came to get started with acting, as you begin to make the journey into making acting your career, it’s important to remember that learning never stops when you’re an actor. There is always some new skill you can absorb, some dialect you can brush up on, or some improvement you can make to something you already know how to do. You just cannot afford to rest on your laurels in an industry as competitive and crowded as acting is. If you want to be a pro in this game, you have to think of yourself as a student for life–and indeed, the best, most revered actors will tell you they continue to study their craft every day. So your next step to taking this thing to the next level is to get yourself in some classes! Get into a scene study class, or a movement class or a stage combat class. Even if you never plan to do improv, the skills you learn in an improv class have the potential to serve you in every single performance and audition you attend. But it’s vital that you choose the right class for you.
Okay, you say. You’ve convinced me! I’ve got a solid, professional headshot, and I’ve signed up for a couple of classes and I’m working on my craft every day. When can I get out there and go audition? Whoa there! Slow down, little sailor! The audition is of course the job interview for the actor. No matter how awesome your headshot and your list of special skills is, if you can’t properly show them what you’ve got at the audition, you’ll never book a role like NYCastings Top Bookers do. And as well known as the auditioning process is from movies and television shows about acting, it’s still kind of mysterious. What goes on in that room anyway? If you’ve never auditioned, or if you haven’t auditioned all that much or ever been in a position where a director or casting director or teacher could give you feedback on your audition, it can be quite daunting. And you know how sometimes in life they say, “There are no wrong answers?” Well, I’m here to tell you that when it comes to auditioning, there are indeed several wrong answers. Several million, perhaps. No, the truth is, there are some common mistakes that even veteran actors make at auditions that can kill any chance you may have had to book the role. Fortunately, there are also some ways to fix your auditions so that you can give yourself the best shot possible.
Here are five This you should never do at an audition and five tips for how to spin your audition into casting gold.
We all make them, and we always will. There’s no avoiding it: to err indeed is human. having said that, however, there are ways we can prevent some mistakes, and lessen the impact of others. There’s no substitute for hard-earned experience of course. But let’s face it: if that weird neighbor kid down the road had learned not to run into the middle of a busy highway BEFORE he tried it, he would have been better off. That’s why we have teachers, mentors and coaches, and that’s why you’re reading this right now. So here are a couple of great resources on how to avoid some of the most common errors budding actors make.
The second one is a great article by Hollywood screenwriting and voiceover icon Lisa Montalto and is specific to the mistakes rookie actors make when they come out to the coast to find their dreams.
Acting is indeed a noble profession that is almost universally appealing. However if you can arm yourself with some of this knowledge as you pursue your life as an actor, you’re going to make it a lot easier on yourself–and you’re likely to book more work as well!