New Actor FAQ’s
- There are more acting jobs today than there has ever been in the past!
- Los Angeles is the television and film capital of the world!
- The exact high-quality training that you need is available at our workshop!
First Steps on How to Get Started in the Television, Commercial and Film Business
The Hollywood Acting Workshop is a great place for new actors to get started learning about acting and how to break into the television, commercial and film industry. Throughout our class and workshop sessions, we provide you with all of the pertinent up-to-date information on the who, what, when, where and how of the business, including the best ways to maximize audition exposure to get the jobs!
With continuous guidance from our instructors, you will learn that, for the sake of simplicity, there are 5 steps to succeeding (as discussed below). Overall, you need to: (1) get some television and film acting training (not theatre or stage training); (2) get a great headshot; (3) put yourself out there and perform so that you could build credits on your resume; (4) market yourself by finding out who the agents are and what they do (e.g., casting directors, managers); and (5) then continue training, improving and marketing yourself while being very professional and active.
Develop Skills through Training Workshops and Classes
First of all, you have to learn how to act. More specifically, you have to learn the specific skills and techniques for acting on television, film and commercials. So, for you, it is imperative that you start taking a wide variety of workshops and acting classes. Casting directors who are looking to hire actors for television and film will be looking for actors who have specific training experience. For example, you will have a much better chance of being called in for an audition if you have the following workshop and class training: “on-camera” acting, scene study, script analysis, cold reading, auditioning technique, improvisation, commercial auditions, soap opera technique, hosting, monologues, voice over, private coaching, etc. The more training you have, the more serious you will appear; and, casting directors will know to call you in for an audition because they know that you will not be likely to waste their time.
It is key that you make an effort to train in a wide variety of styles and techniques (listed above) with as many different reputable instructors that you can find because the more you know, the more well-rounded you will be, and ultimately, the better prepared you will be for whatever roles come your way.
Get a Headshot
Along with the skills, you are going to need a great headshot. Chances are high that until you have a really good headshot (and a very well-constructed resume), you are probably not going to get through many casting agents’ doors. You should find a good professional photographer (and go interview with them to see their work) and get at least one great headshot (for television and film). By all means, make sure the headshot “really” looks like you (e.g., do not hide the dime-sized mole on the bridge of your nose). You should also make sure that the headshot portrays the image of the roles that you want to play. The acting industry is very competitive; so, really take time to get the right headshot. Remember, your headshot is most likely going to be the first introduction to the casting agent. It is your calling card.
Build a Resume
You will need a well-constructed and well-organized resume (on the back of your headshot). On your resume, you will need to include the basics such as your name, your or your agent’s contact information, your physical statistics (height, weight, hair color, eye color, age range played, etc.), and your special skills (e.g., languages, accents, karate, etc.). Very importantly, you will need to list your actual acting experience in film, television, commercials or theatre (for example,”Web Series: Silent Bodies; Lead Role: Samantha; Producer: Philip James”) and your acting training (for example, “6-week on-camera television and film acting; Instructor: Marnie Saitta; April 2010″).
The way to build your resume is to take acting classes/workshops and start throwing yourself into roles immediately by auditioning for things on your own. Just get out there. Go on casting calls (see below). Start doing extra work on soap operas, short films, large-scale movies, web series, music videos, showcases, school or community plays, or do whatever you can find.
Begin to Market Yourself
“After” you have acquired some good acting training, you should get yourself in front of casting directors as they are the people who make the ultimate decisions about who gets the part. Therefore, taking workshops (just like the ones offered here at the Hollywood Acting Workshop) will immediately put you directly in front of working casting professionals who can actually hire you.
Another way to see casting directors is to go on casting calls. Casting calls are notices made to the public or to various casting agencies for requirements of actors for an upcoming production. Anyone can publicize a casting call, from student filmmakers to Paramount Pictures. The notices are made public via different medias such as industry websites (including: www.actorsaccess.com and www.lacasting.com and www.castingfrontier.com), industry trade journals, online bulletin boards, production lists, word-of-mouth, and agent notification to name a few. Usually casting calls are generic in nature. Nevertheless, there may be times when calls are made for specific age, appearance, gender and other special skills.
You can also have a chance to get in front of a casting director by getting the lists of agencies that are related to casting and start doing your research on which agencies cast for the types of productions you are interested in. For example, you may want to get the online version of the Call Sheet (also at magazine stands) to find out which agencies cast for prime time television series. Research the agencies, and plan on mailing post cards or headshots and resumes to strong boutique agencies, which will have the resources to work with actors who are just beginning their careers.
On the other hand, you can hire a talent agent (with NO money upfront) whose prime objective is to find the best parts for you, specifically. All reputable agents have well-established relationships with major casting agencies, production companies, studios, directors and other industry people who put out casting notices. Note: You should never have to pay an upfront fee; instead, the talent agent takes a percentage of your pay for the job.
Continue Training, Improving and Marketing Yourself
Throughout your acting career, you will need to continue your training–because acting is, first and foremost, a craft. The top Hollywood actors understand this and no matter how far they have come in their careers, they are constantly looking to improve upon and hone their craft by taking classes and working with acting coaches.
You will also need to continuously strive to improve on your range of acting. Initially, it is somewhat important to find a range that works for you (e.g., “the tough guy” or “the sweet girl next door” image). It helps the casting agents get to know who you are and often when you are starting out, it is those memories that get you paid work. But that does not mean that you should stop developing as an actor. Use the character traits that you have discovered to get yourself working, but continue to learn new facets of your acting abilities. Know your range and then continue to break through them to include new ranges (e.g., “comedian”) in your acting repertoire. You will find that everything you learn in the acting realm will be put to use someday.
Of critical importance is that you continue to market yourself with perseverance and patience. The trick is that you must get out there and network. Meet people and let them know what you are doing. It is absolutely essential to your success.
Throw your whole soul into it, be passionate about being an actor AND HAVE A GREAT TIME!