One thing most of us all agree on is that it is not easy to find work as an actor just starting out. Whether you’ve trained professionally as an actor, have a passion or hobby, or are possibly looking to broaden your performance portfolio with acting alongside music and/or dance, the competition levels are high, and you will likely need to show some resilience before taking your first professional step.
There are a few routes into acting, starting out small and working your way up to the top. From work as an extra on film and TV, to being cast as a chorus member on stage, or possibly a slightly more enhanced role in a smaller theatrical production. Possibilities do exist Nowadays there’s also plenty of work online, from projects for training and grassroots producers, to online productions, YouTube mini series and online adverts for small to medium sized businesses; opportunities certainly exist, you just need to go looking for them (and not always in the most conventional of places).
In this short article, we will sharing our view on how to best get your feet through the front door.
Finding the opportunities.
Unless you’re based in a major city, the likelihood is that you will have to travel some distance to get to auditions from film, TV and theatrical roles. More often than not, you will also probably have to travel to the capital where so many auditions are held anyway, wherever you live. Keeping on top of these opportunities isn’t always easy, and one of the most efficient ways of keeping on top of opportunities as they arise is through employing the services of acting agencies. Now, be warned. Like in many other industries there are plenty of ‘agencies’ out there whom claim to have unrivalled access to all the producers from here to the moon. Do your research before you commit. The internet is a wonderful resource when it comes to finding reviews both good and bad of these agencies. Employing such services does come at a cost, but in return, a good agency will offer you the support and guidance to help present yourself in the best way possible prior to entering an audition.
But the costs can be quite high, what can I do?
The cost involved may not be feasible for some of you, we absolutely get it. In this instance, there are other routes to market. Once again, the internet has a wealth of resources which list opportunities across a number of channels. Take for example backstage.com which is a free resource with a number of opportunities listed for all regions. There are also semi managed acting agencies where the support is virtual, but the fees are also lower. Finally, social media can be a source of opportunities if used well. Productions may promote casting calls on social media, and there are also specific profiles which also promote the same. Like any other job search, the process can take its time, but an opportunity will arise.
In may respects, having all bases covered is the best solution. Opportunities do not last forever, as in any other job industry, so when you see the opportunity, be ready to do your information gathering, and if right pounce. Don’t wait for the call to apply, by that point it may be too late.
Sounds obvious right? Well, you’d think it is, but some people do have a tendency to go into auditions lacking the professionalism one would demonstrate for say an office job interview. Imagine auditions just like any other interview, casting directors are looking not only at your performance and fit for the role, but punctuality, attitude, friendliness and so forth. You should treat every audition as you would treat any other rehearsal, no matter how small the role may be. Ultimately, that minor role could help get you the exposure to a larger opportunity. You see how the whole process can potentially snowball. Equally, you may not get the role you auditioned for, but the casting director may see you as a more natural fit for another role based on your professionalism and approach at that audition. Make sure to do your revision before the audition, not only on the character/context of the role you’re applying for, but the wider context and synopsis as well. You never know what the casting director is thinking!
Make sure to network, enjoy yourself and have some down time.
Chances are you’re not going to be the only person attending any given audition and the likelihood is that everyone else is nervous just like you. Nerves have their benefits, but if not managed properly they can also be detrimental. Try and stay as calm and composed as you can, and take the time to network with some of the other people auditioning. It’s easy to adopt the view that it is dog eat dog in the acting environment, which granted to some extent it is; but this applies to all walks of life. Networking presents the opportunity to help distract yourselves from your nerves, and also meet some friendly new faces, some who will be able to relate to your current state of mind, others who may be more experienced and can offer you some tips to help you along the way. You never know what doors may be opened for you as a result. When it is nearing audition time, it’s time to get back into role and prepare yourself for the task ahead. When networking, exchange details, connect on social media, make new friends. There’s every chance your paths may cross again, no matter the outcome of the audition where you first met.