How Do I Break Into Acting?

By AM Staff

  • Breaking into acting is different for each actor. There is no uniform way to jumpstart an acting career. However, there are a few basic items that every actor needs to get started in show-business, including experience, training, a headshot and acting résumé, and representation (if possible).

    Experience

    Perhaps the best way to begin your acting career is to get involved in local community theatres. Look in the phone book for community theatres in your area and ask them how you can get involved. Community theatres in your area are a great way to gain experience as an actor. You can get exposed to plays from William Shakespeare to Tennessee Williams to August Wilson and others. You can learn how to learn lines and perform characters before live audiences. And you can interact with other actors who can help guide you and share information about the industry.

    Training

    If you live in or near a large city, there should be some acting classes in your area. Find a good acting coach or teacher you can train with. Training is essential to any actor, the same way training would be important to an airline pilot. Without training, an airline pilot will crash and burn. Without proper training, an actor will, metaphorically, do the same. The more training you have, the better you will be able to perform and the wider your range of performances will be.

    Headshot/Résumé

    Your headshot is an 8 x 10, usually black-and-white representation of you. On the back of the photo, you will place your résumé, detailing all the acting work you’ve done, training you’ve received, and special skills you have. Your headshot is like a business card. It is the essential to get a great headshot that (1) looks like you, (2) represents your career path, (3) and details all your skills, training and experience.

    Talent Agency

    A talent agency is a company that helps an actor find work, negotiate contracts and manage their careers. A talent agency is not always essential, depending on where you live. But it can always be helpful because talent agencies understand the industry, understand the work available in your area, and understand what is needed to become a successful actor in your area.

    Recommended Posts

  • Ad

  • Never Apologize When You Make a Mistake During an Audition

    Never Apologize When You Make a Mistake During an Audition Don’t apologize during an audition. Ever. If you stumble over your words or make a mistake, simply correct it. Confidently. (by Carmichael Phillips)…

    Never Do This on Your Acting Résumé!

      Never Do This on Your Acting Résumé! This is a brief “NEVER and WTF Were You Thinking!” list (By Carmichael Phillips) Sometimes there are “Should and Shouldn’t” lists. Sometimes there are “Do…

    5 General Rules for Demo Reels

      5 General Rules for Demo Reels Before you get knee-deep into this endeavor, there are a few general rules you should consider. (By Jim Webb) Are you putting your first demo reel…

    Before You Approach an Agent, Get Your S@#t Together!

    Before You Approach an Agent, Get Your S@#t Together! Before you approach an agent, make sure that you are ready to present yourself as an actor who understands the business and understands what…

    5 Reasons Why Background Acting is a $h*tty Job

    5 Reasons Why Background Acting is a $h*tty Job Let us count the ways… (By Jim Webb) Recently, I listed five benefits to beginning your acting career as a background actor. To be…

  • Ad

  • Look to Acting to Be Your Creative Savior, Not Your Financial Savior

      Look to Acting to Be Your Creative Savior, Not Your Financial Savior Fame and fortune must not be your primary pursuit. They should be the fortuitous byproduct of a larger pursuit (by…

    5 Riddles Every Actor Must Solve

    5 Riddles Every Actor Must Solve So many riddles to solve. So little time. And on it goes… (By Carmichael Phillips) In a normal profession, everything is clear and easy to understand. The…

    Reinvest 50% of Your Cash Back into Your Acting Business

      Reinvest 50% of Your Cash Back into Your Acting Business Of course, each time you repeat this process, your career becomes stronger! Your power becomes stronger. (By Carmichael Phillips) No professional actor…

  • Ad

  • 5 Benefits of Being a Background Actor

    5 Benefits of Being a Background Actor (By Jim Webb) Who the heck would want to be a background actor? The real question is, why would anyone not want to be a background…

    3 Hidden Advantages of Self-taping

      3 Hidden Advantages of Self-taping This new wave of self-taping also offers actors enormous advantages (By Carmichael Phillips) Self-taped auditions are the wave of the future, in part, because they offer casting…

    3 Reasons Why You Should Never Audition Just to Book the Job

      3 Reasons Why You Should Never Audition Just to Book the Job If you don’t book this particular job, so what? You’ve now made fans of the auditors in the room. (By…

    Narrow Your Focus

    Narrow Your Focus One mistake many actors make is having an unfocused strategy. (Jim Webb) If it seems your acting career is all over the place, narrow your focus and concentrate your strategy….

    All Acting and No Play Makes You a Dull Actor

    All Acting and No Play Makes You a Dull Actor Ironically, spending too much time on all things “acting” can actually make an actor worse at acting. (By Carmichael Phillips) You know what…

  • Ad

  • Acting: When is it Time to Quit?

    Acting: When is it Time to Quit? How long is too long to pursue an acting career? (By Carmichael Phillips) How many years should an actor wait for their “big break” before changing…

    How to Audition When You Know the Role Has Already Been Cast

    How to Audition When You Know the Role Has Already Been Cast You still have an opportunity to introduce people to you and your art (By Carmichael Phillips) One of the hardest things…

    The Callback is Not the Time for Experimenting

    The Call-back is Not the Time for Experimenting Why tinker with a winning formula? (By Jim Webb) The callback is not the time to start taking chances. Unless otherwise instructed, try to do…

  • Ad

  • Why Acting Must Be a Need, Not a Want

    Why Acting Must Be a Need, Not a Want If you want to become an actor, then don’t become an actor. It must be a NEED, not a WANT! (by Jim Webb) It’s…

    3 Reasons Why You Should Not Pursue Local Hire Roles

    3 Reasons Why You Should Not Pursue Local Hire Roles Why risk it? It’s probably much safer to get creative about discovering new acting opportunities where you live. (by Tonya Tannenbaum) Having family…

    Fall in Love with Acting, All Over Again!

      Fall in Love with Acting, All Over Again! So, if you’ve lost your love for the craft of acting or lost your love for the struggles associated with being an actor…just remember…

    Top 10 List of Actors Who Found Success Later in Life

    Top 10 List of Actors Who Found Success Later in Life If you feel like you’re too old to begin an acting career, or too old to continue one, just remember one thing:…

    Don’t Focus On How You Say Your Lines. Focus On Why You Say Your Lines

    Don’t Focus On HOW You Say Your Lines. Focus On WHY You Say Your Lines. Once you understand your character’s “why”, you will naturally emphasize words based on that “why” (by Tonya Tannenbaum)…

  • Ad

  • Embrace Your Age

    Embrace Your Age! Don’t Try Be Young Forever Alright, you perpetual 25-year-olds! You can’t be young forever! Yes, showbusiness has a long history of actors lying about their age. And why not? Hollywood,…

    Find Your Paragon Actor

    Find Your Paragon Actor Don’t Be A Boat Without a Sail (By Jim Webb) It is difficult to achieve any big dream. It is especially difficult to be a successful actor. Consider this:…

    Acting Camps

    Acting Camps: Preparing Your Young Actor or Actress for Industry Success Helping your young acting hopeful prepare for a successful acting career can be an incredibly rewarding experience for the parent. All parents…

  • Ad

  • The Actor’s Sanity Test

    As an actor, you know how exhilarating it is to learn you’ve just landed a part. Moreover, you also know the bitter feeling of being turned down approximately nineteen times out of twenty…

    Working As A Movie Extra

    How Do You Become an Extra? The cool part about being an extra is you don’t have to have any formal training to do it. Casting directors look for people of all ages,…

    Getting Inside the Circle of Acting

    How To Break Into the Circle of Acting The question of “how to break into the ‘circle’” is one that does come up from time to time. The important thing to remember about…

    Do’s & Don’ts of Acting

    The Great Do’s and Don’ts DO student, experimental, low-budget, and independent films. Do community and independent theater. Remember, acting is doing—not just studying and reading about it. The more experience you have acting,…

    Acting Isn’t A Bed of Roses!

    Why Acting Isn’t A Bed Of Roses! Is the world your stage? The life of an actor involves long periods of unemployment, intense competition for roles, and frequent rejections in auditions. They need…

    What Is Acting?

    To “act” is the performance of a character in a theatre play, on television or in films and movies. Acting can also be an improvisation, whereby an actor creates a character off the…

    How Do I Break Into Acting?

    Breaking into acting is different for each actor. There is no uniform way to jumpstart an acting career. However, there are a few basic items that every actor needs to get started in…

    What Is An Actors Union?

    Similar to most labor unions, an actor’s union is an organization that represents actors in show business, ensuring actors receive just pay, fair treatment and decent working conditions. Simply put, an actor’s union…