Become an Actress: Classes, Agents, Networking, and Auditioning

Acting is one of the hardest professions to break into. In fact, the vast majority of actors in the world spend more time unemployed than they do working. However, if you feel you have what it takes to have a successful career as an actress, and you have the means to support yourself while pursuing your dreams, then you should take the plunge. You never know when or where you could be discovered. 

Competition, especially amongst actresses, is extremely stiff. The road of an actress is a hard one. It requires patience, dedication, the drive to succeed, and talent. If you do not have these things, you should probably look into finding a career that better suits you.

If you are still interested in becoming an actress, and believe you have the ability to succeed in this extremely difficult business, then you can use the following tips to improve your chances of making a career out of acting.
how to become an actress

  1. Take classes. If you want to learn how to get into acting, taking clases is highly recommended for new actresses just starting out. If you live near a decent-sized city, you should be able to find classes for actresses of all ages. If your daughter wants to become an actress, you can find several classes, after-school programs and even summer camps for aspiring thespians.

    Adult actresses may take daily, weekly or monthly classes and they may have the option of attending workshops. The nice thing about acting classes is that the teacher usually has a significant background in the arts and can offer advice and suggestions.

    College is another option for those who wish to perfect their craft. At a university, you not only have the opportunity to be critiqued in classes, you also have the opportunity to gain practical acting experience. Film students are always looking for actors to perform in their student films or pet projects and many Universities require actors to perform in at least one university show a year as well as audition for every show in order to remain in their program. Acting school is a great launching pad for serious actresses.

  2. Go to LA or New York. It is true that the two coasts offer the most for those who wish to succeed as actors. Both LA and New York have many opportunities in theatre, movies, commercials and television. Most auditions and casting calls are held in these two cities, so you will have a better chance of finding work and being discovered. If you have the means to go to L.A. or New York, and you are serious about becoming an actress, then hop on that plane, bus, or train and move into the heart of the acting world.
  3. Find a way to network. Networking is a great way to get auditions. How many times have you heard an actor explain that his agent, friend, brother, neighbor or someone else he knew told him about an audition or casting call, recommended him to a casting director or even gave him a job directly? The business relies heavily on networking. Use what connections you have to your advantage and use them well. Sometimes your connections will open the door for your or at least let you sneak one foot in!
  4. Get an agent or publicist. This is perhaps one of the wisest things you should do. With representation, you have a link to casting calls. Agents sometimes call in favors or recommend actresses to casting directors they know. In fact, your agent or publicist will be the one person (besides you) who should be working actively to find you a job. If you are not sure about how the casting process works, your agent can guide you through it. Of course, you will have to pay for an agent's services, but if he gets you the job of a lifetime, it should be worth it. Just make sure the agent you choose comes from a reputable talent agency and has your best interests at heart.
  5. Audition, audition, audition. You may be discovered on the street, this is true, but not very many actors are discovered just by sitting around and wanting. This is why it is your job to take things into your own hands. There are casting calls all over the world. You should be able to find one near you if not more. Your first audition may be a flop, but you should never stop trying. Once casting directors become familiar with your face, if they like you, they will remember you. However, thousands of women audition at one casting call so you need to make sure you find a way to stand out in their minds.
  6. Auditions for theatre are much different from auditions for movies or television. With a theatre audition, you usually will be asked to prepare your own monologue and a song. Make sure to have those prepared and know them so well you look natural when reading for the casting director. On occasion, you may be asked to do a cold reading. You will be given a script and you may have to act with another person or perform a monologue depending on what they are looking for from you.

    A screen test is used for movie auditions and television auditions once you have gotten past the initial casting call. Depending on what they are casting for, they may ask you to read lines on the spot, they may ask you to perform a monologue or they may give you a small scene when you come in to the audition. As the choices for a part are narrowed down, they may call you back numerous times before contacting you about signing a contract.

    When you are auditioning, always remember to make every word count. If you miss a beat, or seem off, the casting director will know this and will be less likely to consider you for the part as a result.

  7. Make a résumé. If you have been in movies, television, commercials or theatre work, then make a résumé to take with you to auditions and casting calls. Your résumé should include a list of all your work, any special talents you have, classes you have taken and practical experience such as a degree in theatre from a university. A headshot should be attached with your name clearly listed along the bottom of it. Even if you've just been an extra,make sure you include that experience.
  8. Your résumé should include your name in nice, large, readable print, an accurate phone number where you can be reached, your height and weight, age range you can portray, whether you are in the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) or the Actors' Equity Association (AEA), the name and phone number of your agent or publicist and a list of your experience. You can add a small version of your head shot to the upper corner, your email and the URL for your website though these are not required.

  9. Be prepared to be rejected. All of the great actresses have been rejected at some point in their lives. You will be no different. It can be emotionally devastating to lose a part you have your heart set on winning. Do not let it get you down, as easy as it may be. In acting, you need to get right back up on the horse after you fall, and ride again. Eventually, your ability to bounce back may work in your favor.
  10. Confidence is a booster that can shine through any audition. Unless you are auditioning for the part of a shy, timid character that lacks confidence, the directors will appreciate your enthusiasm and exuberance as you put your heart and soul into your craft.

  11. Stay positive. You need to keep yourself in shape not only physically, but also mentally. Acting and auditioning can be draining on your body and mind. Work out, eat a balanced diet and stay positive. Stressing your body out is not going to help you win a role. In fact, it could hurt your chances by hindering your ability to perform up to the standards you have set for yourself.


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