Starting out as actors can be intimidating. You might be asking, “Where do I start? What’s the best approach?” These are the questions every actor asks while trying to pursue a career in this industry. I’ve asked some actors to share their advice and experience on starting out. Here are some helpful answers for you to begin your adventure into the world of acting.
What’s the best advice for actors starting out?
There’s endless amounts of advice, but we want the best advice for you! An important quality and foundation to have as an actor is confidence and vulnerability. If this is an area you want to grow in or want to know how to be more so, then this is the perfect advice for you. These actors give helpful advice they’ve learned through incorporating these tools into their work:
Harmonie, actress and graduate of the School of Acting for the Screen
“I guess the best advice I could give is don’t be afraid of being ridiculous. Being vulnerable in the way of stepping into ridiculousness is so freeing and brings so much power to each performance. It also helps to strengthen the bond you have with your fellow actors. Don’t be afraid of vulnerability and ridiculousness and always go back to the basics, especially improv. That will continue to help you hone your craft.”
Sam, The Actor’s Collaborative Workshop
“Confidence is the best weapon an actor should have to open the key of success. Second, is the self belief that shows you the path. Third one is the patience, that drives you the point one and two. And finally hope when hope dies life ends. Do a bit of rehearsal in different forms of the character that you go for an audition. Be early and relaxed. Get to know the director and producer who is giving the opportunity. And Greet everyone with a smile.
Let’s talk practical.
You won’t start anywhere unless you put in the work yourself, yes it’s very daunting but it’s a start! If you’re unsure of what to do in order to start, here’s some practical advice on ways to build your resume and skills, and find the right technique for you!
Johnny, actor and graduate of the School of Acting for the Screen
“It is probably not a new thing, but in the beginning it is important to get as much experience as possible. That means: Take what you can get.
It might not be glamorous to do student films or to be an extra. But you have to start somewhere. And doing these kind of things also gives you material for your showreel. You should get high-quality headshots, and update them regularly. Show different varieties of facial expressions, to give casting directors a range of your abilities. Create a profile on a online-marketplace like StarNow, to find Casting Calls in your area.
“But most important: Have the right attitude in what your doing. People will recognize not just your acting talent, but your work attitude and how you treat people around you.”
Noah, actor and graduate of the School of Acting for the Screen
“Acting can be a very ambiguous and immaterial practice, especially when starting out. You may know that you have talent in this area but likely your approach to an acting opportunity (if you’re anything like me) is comprised of knowing your lines and winging it when the scene starts. My advice to any actors beginning in this uncertain and unprecedented profession is, find a technique. Find a system to follow that pulls your talent out. You may have heard of different acting techniques such as: Method, Meisner, Warner Loughlin etc. These are acting techniques that many famous and successful actors follow. Why? Because acting already lacks a lot of stability, so finding stability where you can can save you a lot of fear for the future. You don’t need to follow an already established technique to the T however. You can discover, create and adapt however you want, but for the sake of your sanity, build a stage for the characters inside you before putting on a show.”
These actors have been exactly where you are, they’ve learned that confidence, believing in their craft, being vulnerable, starting small, having a good attitude, finding techniques and being friendly are key components to starting out. These are all practical ways you can start strong, it takes practice and a lot of learning, and hopefully, their advice has inspired you and given you helpful strategies for starting out as actors.
Anja, actress and studied at American Musical and Dramatic Academy
“Alright, to all the actors starting out I have 2 crucial tips.
1) Network, network network. Connect to people, all kinds of people, not just the actors and producers. Everybody knows somebody. The ironic thing about it is not to make it about the networking only, be kind and genuinely interested in others. If people see that you are fun to be around, you are real, kind and reliable they will more likely hire you than if you go to them with an agenda.
2) Work on your skills and character. Become better at everything you are and do. Take every opportunity you can to learn something new. Create and do what you are passionate about (it’s important not to wait around for someone to discover you, create your own opportunities while you audition for other things) but also try things you wouldn’t normally do. Take classes in singing, acting, dancing, join the community theater, research what other things there are in your neighborhood to attend and be a part of and if you don’t have the finances to afford that, no worries, there are hundreds of ways to improve your skills, for example Youtube is always a great alternative. People nowadays are not just triple threats anymore with singing, acting and dancing, but they do gymnastics, diving, horseback riding and so much more. The more skills you have the wider your range of roles you can be cast for.
And on a last note: Believe in yourself, dream big and go for it!!!”
Lastly, let’s hear it from an industry professional who knows and has seen what it takes for an actor to start out. It can be extremely discouraging at times, but Charis shares some encouraging advice that will hopefully inspire you to keep going!”
Charis Joy Jackson, author, director, producer and teacher working with The Initiative Production Company.
“Best advice I can give is to make sure you have a lot of tenacity to see you through to the end. If you feel like you’re failing, keep pressing onward, and start recognising that you’re only failing when you stop trying. So be tenacious and fight for that dream.”