Before you can win an Oscar or get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, you’ll need to know how to become an actor. The life of a professional actor can be frustrating and uncertain, but the rewards can also be great. Many are willing to risk years of rejection (and waiting tables) for that one shot at stardom.
The following tips will help you learn how to become an actor. After that, you’ll need a combination of talent and luck to hit the big time.
(Even if you just want to become a voice action.)
Learning the Acting Craft
Acting is a skill. It comes to some people naturally, while others have to work extra hard. Either way, you’ll usually need more to succeed in Hollywood than just your good looks.
Acting classes and dialogue coaches are readily available in Los Angeles (plus other major cities), and the serious actor should consider both. It’s also a good idea to stay versatile, and performing everything from dramatic plays to comedy will broaden your chances of getting a good role.
Learning improvisation (also known as “improv”) can also be a great help to an actor. This kind of practice is more freeform, and it allows an actor to explore their strengths and weaknesses. Once you’re aware of your limitations, you can then work on expanding them.
Go Where The Work Is
Headshot And Resume
You’ll need to get a professional headshot taken so casting directors and agents will know what you look like. Each movie, television show and commercial will be looking for a certain type of person, and a headshot will help them know if you fit this idea.
You should also write up a resume and document all of your acting roles. If you’re just starting out, this may be nothing more than college plays or community theatre experience. As your resume begins to grow, get rid of the less impressive roles.
It’s also a good idea to send a headshot and resume to as many agents and casting directors as possible. Afterwards, you can send them a card every six months or so to update them on your progress. While this may be a frustrating task, it can open doors if the right agent or casting director takes notice of you.
Be Willing To Sacrifice
Becoming a successful actor takes a lot of time. So much, in fact, that relationships and favorite pastimes may have to be sacrificed along the way. Don’t be afraid to do what it takes, because there are thousands of your competitors out there who are.
What Goes Around Comes Around
It’s important to deal in a professional fashion with everyone you encounter. Someone who is unknown today may be very important in a few years. If you treat people badly, they’ll certainly remember it later and may be in a position to pay you back down the road.
Get An Agent
A good agent can be a valuable tool in the acting world. Basically, an agent uses their contacts and connections to either get you roles or auditions for roles. If they find you work, they get an agreed-upon percentage of your salary. Just make sure to stay away from agents who want a fee up front. This type of “agent” is nothing more than a con-man looking to prey on the inexperienced.
Who you know is very important in the acting business. Therefore, it’s a good idea to know as many people as possible. If you’re invited to an industry party or event, it’s absolutely imperative that you attend. Even if you’re not exactly a people person, try your best to fake it. Just think of it as an acting challenge.
Follow The Business
Reading publications like Variety and Backstage will help keep you informed about the inner workings of the acting business. If nothing else, it’ll give you something to talk about at industry parties.
Don’t Give Up
Unless you’re incredibly lucky, you will meet with a great deal of rejection at first. The key is to just keep plugging away. Focus on the craft of acting, and everything else will take care of itself.
If you truly want to become an actor, persistence is the greatest weapon you can arm yourself with. While others head back to their hometowns in disgust, you’ll be relentlessly building a solid foundation in the business.