Below this article, which applies to both actors and actresses, is one
specifically for aspiring actresses.|
Thinking About Acting?
By Cathy Richey, the Cathy Factor
Most people believe that acting is all about exhibiting a natural,
instinctive skill that you are born with. But acting is actually a skill set that can be
learned, stimulated, and
sharpened with the proper training.
It does require some natural talent, though. Some people could never act, no matter how
much training and coaching they get. But that's true of all things. Some people
will never be good golfers, engineers, basketball players, singers, or writers.
It's just not in them.
Then there are those who have a natural potential for excellence in a given
field. With good coaching and training, they can become stars. It's that way
with acting. Or consider politicians; with the right coaching, training, and
bribery they become master thieves.
While there are thousands of
actors working around the world on a daily basis, there are only a
few exceptional people who by exhibiting their "natural talents"
have made it big in tinsel-town.
Do you have what it takes to be one of these exceptional people?
Do you have the determination and desire to give it your all to
achieve your acting dreams, aspirations and goals? Or are you simply
looking for a short cut, which will most likely lead to uncertainty
and disappointment. If you are willing to stay focused and work
hard, you could make it in show business.
You have decided acting is the career path for you. But where do
Is it hard? Yes, but the steps to becoming an actor are
random. It's not like going to engineering school and then interviewing with an
engineering firm. One person's path to being famous or just being a
working actor is usually completely different from that of someone else.
There is no one way.
However, some basic steps could help you get things rolling.
You could start by taking a local acting class or working with your
local community theater. You need to find out if it's something you
really want to do. Making a living as an actor is a tough road, so
you need to make sure it is something you really want to pursue.
You may also try getting involved with your local college or
universities' film or media department. You may not get paid, but
you can get yourself on film. That may be seen by casting
directors and talent scouts. Plus, you'll get a copy of the finished
film that you can use as an audition demo video to send to talent
Once you've decided to give acting in your local community theater a
try, you'll need to know how to go about auditioning. Scan your
local newspaper's entertainment or arts and leisure section for
notices of open casting calls.
Another simple and more direct way to track down audition
information is to call the theater's ticket sales phone number and
ask about future auditions. Searching
the Internet is another way. So is making contacts in the local
school or university, where there may be open public auditions that
are used for community outreach programs.
If you still aren't able to make it as a
performer in the play, don't give up yet. Volunteer to help behind
the scenes in roles like costume, set design, or lighting. These look good on your
résumé (resume) as creditable experience. Many
great actors started by working behind the scenes, so keep trying.
An actor's "business card" is their head-shot. A head-shot is an
8x10 photo with your acting resume and contact information on the
back. Traditionally, these photos were black and white, but these
days they are are color shots. Almost every major city has got a
photographer that can snap these kind of photos.
A standard resume is going to have your name at the top, with your
union affiliation, like the Screen Actors Guild, underneath it. You
are also going to want to have your contact information, usually to
the upper right or left. The contact information will be your talent
agent or manager if you have one. If you don't, then you need to
provide your own contact info.
Note: NEVER put your home number or address on your acting
resume. Get a cell phone number or some other number so people can
leave messages. Your resume can fall into the hands of some unsavory
folks. You don't want them to have your personal information (you want them to
have your competitors' personal information, maybe....)
If you live near a major metropolitan area, you most likely have
a talent agent or two that deal with local industrial films and
things of that nature. Seek them out and see what they can offer
you. If you live near a university, it probably has some kind
of film program. They need actors for their films and scenes that
they have to produce for school.
Remember, the best way to get experience and education is by
continuing to act as much as possible. Constantly be on the lookout
for casting calls and audition notices in newspapers, on web sites,
and posted to community notice boards, etc. If you work hard and are
dedicated and devoted, you may soon see opportunity come knocking
After you've performed in countless community, school and church
productions and successfully appeared in local broadcast and cable
television commercials, you might consider making the move to bigger
cities, like New York for theater or Los Angeles for film and
television productions. You should also apply for membership in the
Screen Actor's Guild or the Actors' Equity, after you have been
hired for a few union productions. Enrolling in these unions makes
sense as these unions demand higher wages for their members.
Becoming an actor is not like becoming an engineer or doctor. You
don't go go to school for four, six, eight years and then you
automatically get a job. You can study theater for years and years
and never really be able to make a consistent living. It can be a
little disheartening because once you get to the big time, it is not
always based on actual talent. A lot of politics start getting
involved when the paychecks get higher.