In order to fully commit to your craft as a professional actor, certain habits must be developed. When done regularly, these habits will help you create the very best art and performance you can to master with this craft called acting. The entertainment industry is riddled with competition and you need to put your best foot forward, everyday, to be a player in the game. The art of acting uses tools for your daily life and on screen/stage. This blog will focus on professionalism, taking care of your instrument, and practical information for learning the basics of the film industry, specifically, so that you will know how to transfer your theatrical training to the screen.
As an up and coming actor, you already know that acting is a very tough business to get into. Competition for roles is beyond fierce. However, if you are talented and truly enjoy acting – as opposed to doing it for the potential money, you are already one step closer to being successful. If you want to be an actor because your sole goal is to become famous…move on, because you will not have the power to sustain the courage and drive needed to make this a career. There will be many ups and downs but you will need to figure a way to ride the storm and celebrate all wins.
Here are five general tips which are important to follow for the best chances of potential success in the business.
- Learn Your Craft and the Business
I believe talent is innate but anyone can learn a craft and get better and better at it. Just like any other career, you should have professional training under your belt. An attorney goes to law school, a surgeon goes to medical school, and actors should enroll in acting school or class. You will learn special techniques, meet fellow students, and get the resources you may not have otherwise had. You should also attend workshops and local classes to collaborate with others who are likeminded and push your forward. Read books about your craft and classic plays to gain further knowledge. Go see as much theater and film and TV as you can, after all, it’s your business. All successful actors and actresses are focused on continuing education and have some type of professional training. You need to learn tools to use your body as an instrument but also the lingo and trade of the entertainment industry.
Acting is a process of focus on your body, soul and mind. Your body is YOUR instrument that deserves the utmost care. You are expected to do the very best work you can every time you work. With that, you reaffirm and strengthen your commitment to your art and your professionalism. Eating well is no joke. Ensure that you are well fed at times for your art with the healthiest food possible. Acting can be as demanding as the most challenging sport. You want to make sure that you give your body the best fuel possible for it to do its job. Sleep well with at at least 8 hours of quality sleep. Lack of sleep can create unwanted irritability and lack of focus, not to mention physical pains. There can be a great deal of stress in the creative process and excellent stamina is required for you to be at your best. Drugs and alcohol are literal toxins to your body and as such create many undesired effects in the short and long term of your life for what we do as artists. Besides losing ones focus and control, certain drugs and alcohol have a tendency to stymie ambition, drive and passion. If you are not alert, you will miss opportunities. Complete control of your instrument is necessary for you to create your best work as an artist and these interfere. Like I said, competition is fierce. Exercise is necessary in order for you to be at the ready for the potential demands of this work. You want to be in the best possible shape physically and ready for anything. Dance class and voice class are both recommended for all actors. I personally recommend Cardio Barre. In the old Hollywood studio system, actors were required to take dance, voice, diction, fencing, riding, etc on a regular basis so they would be ready for any job at a moments notice. The dedicated actor today needs to at least be a triple threat in some capacity in this oversaturated field. In your personal life, be sure to take control of your finances. The actor needs to do whatever necessary to have a life unencumbered by worries about the next bill. You deserve the freedom to create and realize the full breadth of your talent. Along with this, do make sure that you surround yourself with friends and family who support you and make sure you support them in their endeavors as well. Lack of support can be very draining and distracting, keeping you from the full realization of your talent and your dreams. And lastly, be at peace wherever you rest your head. You deserve to live in a safe welcoming environment. Make your home what you want it to be meaning that after a hard days work, your home should be a place that you’d love to come home to! Professionals get the job done in the required time, whatever it takes. Doing the very best job one can do consistently and continually delivering the highest quality work are attributes of successful professionals.
Audition, audition, audition. Literally anywhere. In order to get the role, you must put yourself out there. While it can be a scary process and the rejection can be difficult to take, auditioning is an actual skill in itself. You must practice often. As you take on more auditions, they will become easier. When you finally find that perfect role, your experience in the audition room will be a necessity for standing out among the countless others looking to get the part. Arrive early. Be on time. Be prepared and ready to do your monologue/scene/audition/the start of rehearsal/when the casting director calls you in. You should be on all casting portals like actorsaccess.com, captingfrontier.com, lacasting.com. Look up local casting services in your area for any opportunities to be seen.
When you are not working, attending a class, workshop or auditioning, you should be practicing. Unemployment is no excuse to let your acting chops go dull. Atlanta, Georgia has become a new hub for Hollywood as many TV shows and films are now shooting there. Hollywood can take a lesson from all the new collaborative ideas coming out of there. Successful actors from Georgia get involved in community productions and film sets, seek out local classes, or practice individually and support each other. They create groups to keep each other accountable. Every actor can practice impressions, monologue skills, or script analysis in their free time. This is helpful to create such a group if you are not able to afford acting classes at present.
- Market and Networking
As an actor, you are responsible for marketing yourself as if you were a small business owner. Acting isn’t just about acting, you’ll have to be able to put yourself out there, advertising your services and networking with others in the business. Create a website to advertise your skills, provide references, and even post videos of previous jobs. It is essential to have professional headshots taken and build a solid resume that is on hand at any time to give to casting directors, network connections, and anyone else who may be interested. Social media is an absolute must. You should be creating content every day or at least every week on Instagram and Tik Tok and pushing that info to Facebook and Twitter. You are a brand…own it.
- Getting an Agent
Once you have a few meaningful jobs under your belt, you may want to seek out an agent. Start by researching talent agencies in your area and seek references from friends in your acting community. You want a franchised SAG-AFTRA agent to avoid the high risk of scams in the industry. An agent acts as a cheerleader for you, helping you land more jobs. While they do get paid around 10 to 20 percent of what their clients make, their services can be invaluable for achieving true success.