How to Become an Actor: A Comprehensive Guide for Aspiring Performers (2024)

35 mins read
How To Become an Actor
How To Become and Actor

We get a few messages a month either by email or on Instagram from people looking for advice on how to become an actor. Many people think it’s something they would enjoy but aren’t sure how or where to begin. In this article we will talk about getting started in acting and the steps you should take along the way. Training, networking, representation and a few things you shouldn’t do as well. Depending on when in your life you want to give acting a try we have some guidance that we think might help.

Plan Your Journey

Planning your journey simply means deciding on a path you would like to take. This can vary for people of all ages. If you are a teenager, in your twenties or already well into your forties your journey will be different. Don’t let age discourage you, the great thing about the arts is that there are many paths to take. You can create your own path if you stay dedicated and do things right. Plan your attack and set goals.

Embarking on an Acting Career: The Allure, Diversity, and Perseverance Required for Success

The world of acting has long been a source of fascination and allure for those drawn to the magic of the stage or screen. From the excitement of embodying new characters to the opportunity to captivate audiences with powerful performances, the appeal of becoming an actor is undeniable. This dynamic career path offers a diverse range of opportunities and requires unwavering dedication and persistence to succeed. In this introduction, we’ll delve into the captivating aspects of an acting career, explore the variety of roles and markets, and emphasize the importance of perseverance in this competitive field.

The Appeal of Becoming an Actor

Acting offers a unique opportunity to combine one’s creative passions with a career that can be both personally and professionally fulfilling. Among the many reasons people are drawn to acting, some of the most compelling include:

Self-expression: Acting allows performers to express themselves artistically, exploring the depths of human emotion and experience through their portrayals of diverse characters.

Storytelling: Actors have the privilege of bringing stories to life, sharing powerful narratives that can evoke emotion, provoke thought, or simply entertain audiences.

Personal growth: The process of preparing for and embodying different roles can lead to increased self-awareness, empathy, and personal growth for actors.

Recognition and fame: While not every actor achieves stardom, the potential for fame and recognition can be a motivating factor for those pursuing a career in the limelight.

The Diverse Nature of Acting Careers

The acting profession offers an array of opportunities across various markets, mediums, and genres. Aspiring actors can explore diverse career paths, including:

Theatre: From Broadway productions to regional theatre companies, actors can find numerous opportunities to showcase their talents on stage.

Film: The film industry encompasses everything from major motion pictures to independent films and student projects, providing actors with a range of roles and experiences.

Television: With the proliferation of streaming services and networks, actors can pursue work in television series, miniseries, or made-for-TV movies.

Voice-over and commercial work: Actors can lend their voices to animated films, video games, or commercials, expanding their skillset and marketability.

The Importance of Dedication and Persistence

The road to success in acting is rarely straightforward or easy. Aspiring actors must be prepared to face numerous challenges, including fierce competition, sporadic work, and the inevitable rejections that come with auditioning. It is essential to approach this career path with unwavering dedication, persistence, and a passion for the craft. By continually honing their skills, networking with industry professionals, and maintaining a positive mindset, actors can increase their chances of finding success in this highly competitive field.

tThe appeal of becoming an actor lies in the opportunity for creative self-expression, powerful storytelling, and personal growth. With a diverse range of career paths and acting markets to explore, aspiring performers can find their niche in the world of entertainment. However, it’s crucial to approach this journey with dedication and persistence, as perseverance and resilience are key factors in achieving success in the acting profession.

Essential Education and Training for Aspiring Actors: Embracing Lifelong Learning in the Acting Industry

A successful acting career requires a strong foundation in education and training, along with a commitment to continuous learning and improvement. As an aspiring actor, it is crucial to understand the various educational options available to you, find the right acting program or teacher, and familiarize yourself with the basics of acting techniques and methods. In this section, we will explore the different educational paths you can pursue and emphasize the importance of ongoing professional development in the world of acting.

Acting Classes and Workshops

One of the most accessible and flexible ways to begin your acting education is by enrolling in acting classes and workshops. These short-term courses are designed to cater to various skill levels and cover a wide range of topics, such as improvisation, scene study, on-camera techniques, and audition preparation. Acting classes can be found at local theatres, community centers, acting studios, and online platforms, allowing you to choose the format and schedule that best suits your needs.

College Degrees in Acting or Theatre

For those seeking a more structured and comprehensive education, pursuing a college degree in acting or theatre can be an excellent option. Degree programs typically offer a well-rounded curriculum, encompassing subjects like dramatic literature, movement, and voice training. Additionally, obtaining a degree can demonstrate your dedication to the craft and help you forge valuable connections within the industry.

Importance of Continuous Learning and Improvement

The acting industry is constantly evolving, with new techniques, methods, and trends emerging all the time. To stay competitive and maintain your creative edge, it is essential to embrace lifelong learning and continually refine your skills. Participate in masterclasses, attend industry conferences, or seek mentorship from experienced professionals to keep up-to-date with the latest developments in the field.

Finding the Right Acting Program or Teacher

As you explore various educational options, it is crucial to find an acting program or teacher that aligns with your goals, interests, and learning style. Consider factors like the instructor’s experience, teaching philosophy, and success stories of past students. Research the program’s curriculum and reputation, and if possible, attend a trial class or observe a session before committing.

Understanding the Basics of Acting Techniques and Methods

Familiarizing yourself with the fundamental acting techniques and methods will provide a strong foundation for your education and career. Techniques like Stanislavski’s System, Meisner Technique, and Method Acting have shaped the world of performance for decades and can offer valuable insights into the actor’s creative process. By studying these methods, you will develop a deeper understanding of character development, emotional connection, and scene work, ultimately enhancing your skills as a performer.

Pursuing a robust education and training in acting is essential for laying the groundwork for a successful career. Whether you opt for acting classes, workshops, or a college degree, make sure to choose a program or teacher that aligns with your goals and fosters your growth as an actor. Embrace the concept of lifelong learning and continually strive to refine your skills, as dedication to your craft is key to thriving in the competitive acting industry.

Building Experience and Skills for Aspiring Actors: From Small Beginnings to Specialized Training and Networking

For aspiring actors, building experience and skills is a vital component of a successful career. Starting small with community theatre and local productions, pursuing specialized training, developing a versatile acting range, and forging strong connections within the industry can set the stage for long-term success. In this section, we will discuss various ways to gain experience, enhance your skill set, and build a supportive network in the acting world.

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How To Become An Actor

Starting Small

Community Theatre and Local Productions

Community theatre and local productions offer invaluable opportunities for aspiring actors to gain hands-on experience, develop their skills, and build a portfolio of work. Participating in these smaller-scale projects can help you gain confidence on stage or in front of the camera, learn from fellow performers, and make connections with local directors and producers.

Student Films and Independent Projects

Student films and independent projects provide another excellent avenue for building experience and showcasing your talent. These productions often require actors to work closely with up-and-coming directors, screenwriters, and cinematographers, offering a unique collaborative environment and the chance to create compelling, original work.

Pursuing Specialized Training

Voice and Dialect Coaching

Developing a strong and versatile voice is essential for actors, as it can significantly expand your range of roles and marketability. Consider investing in voice and dialect coaching to enhance your vocal quality, projection, and ability to perform in various accents and dialects.

Movement and Dance Classes

Physicality is a critical aspect of acting, and engaging in movement and dance classes can help you develop greater body awareness, agility, and grace on stage or screen. Explore different dance styles, stage combat, or even circus arts to diversify your movement repertoire and enhance your physical presence.

On-Camera Technique Workshops

For actors transitioning from stage to screen, attending on-camera technique workshops can be invaluable for adapting your skills to the unique demands of film and television. These workshops often focus on the subtleties of acting for the camera, audition techniques, and creating a strong on-screen presence.

Developing a Versatile Acting Range

Cultivating a versatile acting range is crucial for a thriving career, as it enables you to tackle diverse roles and genres with confidence. Challenge yourself by exploring different characters, styles, and emotional depths in your performances. Participate in workshops, courses, or scene study groups to stretch your abilities and expand your range as an actor.

Importance of Networking and Making Connections

Success in the acting industry often hinges on the strength of your professional network. Networking can help you learn about upcoming opportunities, gain valuable insights from experienced performers, and build a supportive community of peers. Attend industry events, workshops, and social gatherings to forge connections with fellow actors, directors, casting agents, and other professionals in the field.

Building experience and skills is a fundamental aspect of pursuing a successful acting career. Start small by participating in community theatre, local productions, and independent projects, and continue to refine your craft through specialized training and versatile acting development. Remember that networking and making connections are essential for opening doors and creating opportunities in the competitive acting world. With dedication and persistence, your hard work will pay off as you make your mark on the stage or screen.

Crafting a Professional Image for Aspiring Actors: Resumes, Headshots, Online Presence, and Video Portfolios

A polished, professional image is crucial for aspiring actors looking to make a strong impression in the competitive world of entertainment. By preparing an acting resume, investing in high-quality headshots, creating a professional website or social media presence, and developing an actor’s reel or video portfolio, you can showcase your talents and achievements while establishing your unique brand as a performer. In this section, we will discuss the essential components of creating a professional image and how to make a lasting impression on casting directors and industry professionals.

Preparing an Acting Resume

An acting resume is your opportunity to highlight your experience, training, and special skills in a concise, easy-to-read format. Key elements to include on your resume are:

Contact information: Ensure your name, phone number, email address, and, if applicable, your agent’s contact details are prominently displayed.

Experience: List your acting credits in reverse chronological order, including the title of the production, the role you played, and the name of the director or production company.

Training: Detail your acting education, including classes, workshops, and degrees, along with the names of your instructors and the institutions where you studied.

Special skills: Include any additional skills relevant to your acting career, such as singing, dancing, stage combat, or fluency in multiple languages.

Remember to keep your acting resume concise, typically no longer than one page, and update it regularly to reflect your most recent experiences and accomplishments.

Getting High-Quality Headshots

A professional headshot is a critical tool for making a strong first impression on casting directors and agents. Invest in high-quality headshots that capture your unique look, personality, and range as an actor. Choose a reputable photographer who specializes in actor headshots and make sure to discuss your goals and preferences before the shoot. Update your headshots every few years or as your appearance changes significantly.

Creating a Professional Website or Social Media Presence

In today’s digital age, a strong online presence is essential for promoting your acting career. Consider creating a professional website or dedicated social media profiles to showcase your resume, headshots, and acting reel. Keep your online presence up-to-date, engaging, and tailored to your target audience, showcasing your work and achievements while maintaining a consistent and professional tone.

Developing an Actor’s Reel or Video Portfolio

An actor’s reel or video portfolio is a compilation of your best on-screen work, designed to showcase your acting abilities and range. Aim to create a reel that is no longer than 3-5 minutes, featuring high-quality footage from a variety of projects, including film, television, commercials, or even self-taped monologues. Regularly update your reel with your most recent and impressive work, ensuring that it represents your current skills and abilities.

Crafting a professional image is essential for aspiring actors looking to stand out in the entertainment industry. By preparing an impressive acting resume, investing in high-quality headshots, maintaining a polished online presence, and developing a compelling actor’s reel or video portfolio, you can showcase your talents and achievements while building a strong, memorable brand as a performer. With a professional image in place, you will be well-equipped to make a lasting impression on casting directors, agents, and industry professionals, helping you secure the roles that bring your acting dreams to life.

Mastering the Audition Process and Finding Work: Preparation, Etiquette, and Overcoming Rejection

Auditioning is a critical aspect of an actor’s journey to finding work and landing roles. By understanding the audition process, preparing thoroughly, navigating audition etiquette and expectations, and learning to deal with rejection, you can increase your chances of success in this competitive industry. In this section, we will discuss the ins and outs of auditioning and share tips for staying motivated and persistent in your acting career.

Understanding the Audition Process

Open Auditions and Casting Calls

Open auditions and casting calls are opportunities for actors to showcase their talents to casting directors and producers without the need for a prior invitation or agent submission. These auditions are typically advertised through various platforms, such as online casting websites, social media, or industry publications. Keep an eye out for open calls relevant to your skills and interests, and be prepared to seize these opportunities as they arise.

Agent or Manager Submissions

If you have an agent or manager, they can submit you for auditions tailored to your specific talents, appearance, and experience. These industry professionals have access to exclusive casting opportunities and can advocate on your behalf, increasing your chances of being called in for an audition.

Preparing for Auditions

Choosing and Rehearsing Monologues

Selecting and rehearsing appropriate monologues is crucial for a successful audition. Choose pieces that showcase your strengths and versatility as an actor, while also aligning with the character or project you’re auditioning for. Rehearse your monologues thoroughly, focusing on memorization, emotional connection, and physicality.

Researching the Project and Character

Before an audition, research the project and character to gain a deeper understanding of the context and tone. Familiarize yourself with the script, if available, or read the source material if the project is an adaptation. This background knowledge will inform your performance and demonstrate your commitment and professionalism.

Dressing Appropriately for the Audition

Dress in a manner that is suitable for the character and project but still allows your personality to shine through. Avoid costumes or overly distracting clothing, and opt for attire that suggests the essence of the character without detracting from your performance.

Navigating Audition Etiquette and Expectations

Understanding audition etiquette and expectations is essential for making a positive impression on casting directors and producers. Arrive on time, be courteous and professional, and be prepared to take direction or make adjustments to your performance as requested. Treat each audition as a learning experience, and always thank the casting team for their time before leaving.

Dealing with Rejection and Staying Motivated

Rejection is an inevitable part of the acting industry, and learning to cope with it is crucial for maintaining motivation and persistence in your career. Treat each audition as an opportunity to grow and improve, and don’t let rejection discourage you from pursuing your dreams. Seek support from fellow actors, mentors, or friends, and remember that perseverance and resilience are key to finding success in the acting world.

Mastering the audition process and finding work requires thorough preparation, an understanding of etiquette and expectations, and the ability to cope with rejection. By staying informed, well-prepared, and motivated, you can navigate the audition process with confidence and poise, increasing your chances of landing the roles that propel your acting career forward.

Securing Representation in the Acting World: Agents, Managers, and Navigating Industry Expectations

Having the right representation can be a game-changer for an actor’s career, providing access to exclusive opportunities, guidance, and support in navigating the complex entertainment industry. In this section, we will discuss the role of agents and managers, how to find the right representative for your career goals, the process of submitting materials and attending meetings or showcases, and understanding contracts and industry expectations.

The Role of Agents and Managers


Agents play a crucial role in an actor’s career by securing auditions, negotiating contracts, and promoting their clients to casting directors and producers. Agents typically work on a commission basis, taking a percentage of their client’s earnings from acting jobs they’ve helped secure.


Managers offer more comprehensive career guidance and support, helping actors develop long-term strategies, make connections within the industry, and manage their public image. While managers can also help secure acting opportunities, their primary focus is on nurturing and guiding their clients’ careers over time.

Finding the Right Representative for Your Career Goals

To find the right representative for your acting career, consider the following steps:

  1. Research potential agents or managers who specialize in your area of expertise, such as film, television, or theatre.
  2. Seek referrals from fellow actors, acting coaches, or industry professionals who can vouch for the representative’s track record and professionalism.
  3. Attend industry events or workshops where you can network with agents and managers, and gauge their interest in representing you.
  4. Evaluate each potential representative’s client roster, industry connections, and overall approach to ensure they align with your career goals and values.

Submitting Materials and Attending Meetings or Showcases

To secure representation, you will need to submit your materials (headshots, resume, and acting reel) to potential agents or managers, either through their website, email, or via a referral. Be prepared to attend meetings or showcases where you can discuss your career goals, showcase your talents, and assess the compatibility between you and the representative.

Follow these guidelines when submitting materials and attending meetings or showcases:

  1. Ensure your materials are professional, up-to-date, and accurately represent your skills and experience.
  1. Be punctual, courteous, and well-prepared for meetings or showcases, demonstrating your commitment to your career and your potential representative.
  2. Ask thoughtful questions about the representative’s approach to client management, their expectations, and their vision for your career.
  3. Be prepared to discuss your career goals, past achievements, and any upcoming projects or opportunities you are pursuing.

Understanding Contracts and Industry Expectations

Once you have found the right representative for your career, it’s essential to understand the terms of your contract and the expectations within the industry. Key points to consider include:

Commission rates: Agents and managers typically take a percentage of your earnings from acting jobs they’ve helped secure. Ensure you understand the commission rates and any additional fees involved in your contract.

Contract duration: Contracts often have a specific duration, after which they may be renewed or terminated. Be aware of the contract length and any clauses related to termination or renewal.

Exclusivity: Some contracts may require you to work exclusively with a particular agent or manager. Understand the terms of exclusivity and any potential limitations it may place on your career.

Industry expectations: Familiarize yourself with industry standards and expectations regarding auditions, callbacks, bookings, and maintaining professional relationships with your representative and other industry professionals.

Securing the right representation is a crucial step in advancing your acting career. By understanding the roles of agents and managers, finding the ideal representative for your career goals, submitting your materials professionally, and navigating contracts and industry expectations, you are setting yourself up much better on your journey to become an actor.

Navigating the Acting Industry: Markets, Adaptability, and Balancing Work, Life, and Finances

The acting industry is a multifaceted and ever-evolving landscape, with diverse opportunities and challenges for performers. By understanding different acting markets, cultivating adaptability and resilience, balancing work, life, and finances, and staying informed about industry trends and developments, actors can successfully navigate the complexities of the entertainment world. In this section, we will explore the various aspects of the acting industry and provide guidance on how to thrive as a performer.

Understanding Different Acting Markets


Theatre is a dynamic and collaborative art form that offers actors the opportunity to perform live on stage. Opportunities in theatre range from small community productions to large-scale Broadway shows. Theatre actors often require strong vocal and physical skills, as well as the ability to connect with a live audience.


Film acting offers performers the chance to work on a wide array of projects, from independent films to major Hollywood productions. Film actors must be able to convey emotions and create believable characters through subtle facial expressions and body language, as their performances are captured by the camera and magnified on the big screen.


Television acting encompasses a diverse range of opportunities, including sitcoms, dramas, soap operas, and streaming platforms. TV actors must be able to work quickly and efficiently, as production schedules are often fast-paced, and they may need to memorize and perform multiple scripts in a short period.

Commercial and Voice-Over Work

Commercial acting involves appearing in advertisements for products or services, while voice-over work entails providing the voice for animated characters, video games, or audio recordings. These markets offer lucrative opportunities for actors with strong vocal and physical skills, as well as the ability to adapt to various styles and formats.

The Importance of Adaptability and Resilience

The acting industry is constantly changing, and actors must be adaptable and resilient to thrive. Cultivate a diverse skill set, be open to new experiences, and be prepared to face challenges and setbacks with a positive attitude. By remaining flexible and persistent, you can maximize your chances of success in the competitive world of acting.

Balancing Work, Life, and Finances in an Acting Career

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance and managing finances is crucial for actors, as the industry can be unpredictable and financially challenging. Develop a solid financial plan, be prepared to take on supplemental work, and set boundaries to ensure you maintain a healthy balance between your professional and personal life. By doing so, you can reduce stress and maintain focus on your acting career.

Staying Informed About Industry Trends and Developments

As an actor, staying informed about industry trends and developments is essential for staying competitive and relevant. Subscribe to industry publications, attend workshops and conferences, and network with fellow actors and professionals to stay up-to-date with the latest news, casting opportunities, and changes in the entertainment world.

Navigating the acting industry requires a thorough understanding of different markets, adaptability, resilience, and a balanced approach to work, life, and finances. By staying informed and maintaining a flexible and persistent attitude, actors can successfully pursue their dreams and build a fulfilling career in the entertainment industry.

Things You Shouldn’t Do

Let’s get all the dont’s out of the way so we can focus on all the do’s. Many people who aren’t yet involved in the craft don’t really know much about how things work. They see actors on TV and someone told them once they could be an actor and they immediately want to try to get an agent. All actors meet people who say “I want to get into acting but I dunno how to get an agent”. If you are just getting started, getting an agent should not even be anything you are thinking about. People hate to hear that and sometimes even think you are trying to hold them back but it’s the truth. First off, you aren’t ready for an agent from a craft level OR from a business level. It’s hard enough for actors who have already been working to get representation let alone someone that has never acted before. So although you are excited to get your acting career started, you should slow down and take things slowly. Representation will come when the time is right, but first plan out your journey.

How To Become An Actor FAQ’s

A: Start by participating in community theatre, local productions, or student films to gain experience and build your resume. Additionally, you can attend acting workshops, take classes, or pursue specialized training in areas like voice, movement, or on-camera techniques.

A: Professional headshots and an updated acting resume are crucial for making a strong impression on casting directors, agents, and managers. High-quality headshots showcase your appearance and personality, while your resume highlights your skills, experience, and training, making them essential components of your actor's toolkit.

A: You can find auditions and acting opportunities through online casting websites, social media, industry publications, and networking with fellow actors and industry professionals. Open auditions and casting calls offer opportunities to audition without prior invitation, while securing representation can provide access to exclusive opportunities.

A: Agents and managers can be invaluable in helping you find work, negotiate contracts, and guide your career. While they are not strictly required, having representation can increase your access to acting opportunities and provide support in navigating the complexities of the entertainment industry.

A: Rejection is an inevitable part of the acting world, and learning to cope with it is essential for maintaining motivation and persistence. Treat each audition as an opportunity to grow and improve, seek support from fellow actors or mentors, and stay focused on your goals and aspirations.

A: Stay informed by subscribing to industry publications, attending workshops, conferences, or industry events, and networking with fellow actors and professionals. Staying up-to-date with the latest news, casting opportunities, and changes in the entertainment world can help you stay competitive and relevant in the industry.

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