How to get into Acting – A Beginners Guide
Even if you have been acting for a number of years, it can still often feel like you are only just scratching the surface of it, rather like a game of snakes and ladders. You roll the dice and put yourself out there going through the up and down motions, heading to the finish line to find yourself back at spot one. I wish there was a clear answer and route on how to get into acting, but everyone’s journey is very different. This can be frustrating for some, having to figure it out alone. It can also be your golden ticket to achieving your ultimate goals if you are willing to lay the often tricky, foundations.
Nothing worth having comes easy, and the work you put in now will enable you to reap your desired rewards later in life, (deep) but true. So, let’s get to it! Here are some of the things you can do to jump on the acting wagon and ride off into thespian sunset land…
Being involved in the theatre is wonderful for many reasons. You can express yourself creatively, you will meet some of the best people ever, there are no limitations and nothing is seen as ridiculous. You can be anyone, from anywhere and be welcome, I could go on.
The best way to begin anything is to immerse yourself in it as best as you can. Go and see as many performances as you can and keep hold of all your programmes to look up performers, directors, producers, lighting technicians etc.
Get involved in some amateur productions local to you – there will always be one in most areas!
Get a notepad (or laptop, I’m old school) whilst your watching TV and study your favourite actors, make notes on them, seek out the casting director of the programme and begin to build your network for when you are ready to launch.
As you begin doing these things, you will slowly figure out what style of acting you prefer, what makes you laugh and what doesn’t really connect to you. This knowledge will enable you to then consider what you would be cast in (this is not about putting yourself into a casting box, it’s knowing your strengths and using them) these are some potential good conversation points for future audition situations and collaborations.
There is a lot to consider when thinking about how to get into acting, but don’t let that sway you! It isn’t hard work when it’s fun.
Build your Mental Stamina
It’s easy to think you are ice cold until a big fat lump of rejection gets dumped at your door. It is going to happen more often than not, you will have heard something along the lines of most actors are out of work more than they are in it. I’d say that is true for many actors, even the most successful Hollywood stars don’t just rely on their acting careers to generate their insane income. It’s not personal, it is just the harsh reality of the worlds most over subscribed industry, but people have made it (whatever ‘it’ is) with the odds stacked against them, when thinking about how to get into acting. It is do able, and getting to know yourself and working on your sensitivity is key to lasting in this business.
Don’t be obsessed with getting an agent
When considering how to get into acting, many people will immediately suggest securing an agent. This is of course a hugely important part of being an actor, but it is not the be all and end all, especially when you are just emerging. Getting an agent is also not as simple as just popping out to find one, it is a two-way street and they must have your best interests at the heart of their work. Not all agents do, so rushing into this just to say you have one, isn’t a good idea. Timing is everything, particularly when entering a professional partnership. It should be exciting, positive and have all the good feels you get when energies align. Don’t rush or immediately seek it out. Getting clued up is first priority.
Do what YOU want
This is a little simple one. I reckon your reading this because you have already/are thinking about how to get into acting. Great! Now, when I say do what YOU want, I mean the following: –
If you truly think you have what it takes and you are willing to fight the good fight for your passion and wear blinkers in pursuit of your goals, then do not let anyone steer you in a different direction. Stay true to what you feel is in your heart.
Sometimes (sadly) our friends and even family, want us to do well, but not better than them. Don’t be surprised if you experience people close to you not quite ‘getting it’, they don’t need to because it’s not them doing it.
You are you and that is your power. Be yourself and bring your personality to every opportunity you get even if it feels like no one sees it.
Surround yourself with anyone who is going to lift you higher and motivate you. Seek out a mentor if you can, someone who will be honest with you and share their knowledge.
Read The Stage
The Stage is the link for everyone in the industry. I think you can still buy the physical news paper in some shops, but getting an online subscription is the most accessible way to digest it. You can pay by monthly direct debit for just £7 and this gives you access to the latest theatre news, discounted theatre tickets, advice from professionals and lots of castings. I got my first ever audition from The Stage working with a wonderful company who I remain friends with.
Training isn’t necessarily just getting into a leading UK drama school, there are various options available if you are thinking of that route. Training is vital when getting into acting whether it’s a university course, evening classes with professionals, taking yoga regularly to strengthen your mind and body or trying out for drama school. Everything you do towards building your acting career is essentially training. You are reading, learning, studying plays, writing professional emails, experiencing life. It all adds to it, but taking it to the next level is a big commitment and it can be overwhelming to consider when thinking about how to get into acting. You don’t HAVE to do anything that isn’t right for you just because someone else has. Some of the best actors in the world never had formal training, but they still did their own version of it.
Having a great, interesting shot of your face is going to get you into audition rooms. It is one of, if not the most important tool for an actor. Take a look at my blog on head shot tips for your first session.