Beginning Your Acting Career

By Andrew Hadzopoulos – You’ve made up your mind. Some people may have encouraged you, others might have tried to dissuade you. Ultimately, you’ve decided that you want to try your hand at acting. Like any career or job, starting out can often be the most frustrating time of the entire experience. You’re confident though – you’re committed to sticking with it, and eager to get started. But what does the beginning actor need to get the ball rolling? Even if you don’t live near the entertainment center of the world known as Los Angeles, you can get prepared by getting the basic necessities in order.

Headshots. You’ll need these at the beginning, and throughout your career. They don’t have to be professional, and they don’t have to cost hundreds of dollars. They do however, need to be higher quality than the self-portraits you’ve been posting on Facebook with your camera phone. With a little time and effort, you can produce headshots that won’t be singled out for looking cheap. Remember: focus, soft background, even lighting, and close enough to see that face of yours. Don’t distract with loud clothing either. Once you’ve gotten the shot you love, size them so that they match a standard piece of paper, so that you can attach your perfectly fitting resume to the back.

Acting resumes aren’t much different from other industry resumes. They may differ from actor to actor, but the idea remains the same. Include your contact information, experience, training and education history, and skills. While you may not have any credits to list just yet, you can put anything down that relates to performing or presenting. High school theater? Acting class showcases? Amateur stand up at a comedy club? All these things are relevant, and shouldn’t be forgotten. Along with your education history, make sure to include any skills that you feel separate you from the crowd. Languages, physical talents, and any expertise in other fields should be included as well.

Now that you have your paperwork and photos taken care of, you need to cultivate your acting ability. Acting classes are a great way to learn, grow, and build experience while waiting to book your first job. Even after you begin landing regular jobs, staying with acting classes is a great idea. Too much preparation hasn’t hurt anyone’s career. Like headshots, you don’t have to find the most exclusive, most expensive classes to take away something valuable. There are many, many classes that all have something offer. Try a few and see what you like best.

Many times, actors assume that to gain the valuable experience you need to get started, you have to be located in LA. The city does have a lot to offer, but when just starting out, there are plenty of local places that you can investigate to learn about your craft, should you happen to live outside of the city. Colleges with film programs are constantly looking for actors for student films. Local theaters often have auditions, and there are many individual community programs that you can participate in as well. Be sure to look at all these small jobs as opportunities – to learn, build relationships, and hone your skills as an actor.

These are the basic things to get started, and while they won’t guarantee you work, they will give you a sense of what you need to begin on the same level as the other hopefuls making their way to Hollywood. Finding an agent and manager will come later, and you shouldn’t be worried about finding one right off the bat. Actors without representation can find plenty of auditions and open calls on their own. The same goes for acting reels as well. In due time, you’ll add bits and pieces from jobs here and there, and eventually you be able to have a reel, land an agent, and start that career of yours.


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