Want to become an actor or actress? You should be ready to commit the first few years of your career mastering your craft and learning many skills to help in landing the perfect part. Whether you are looking for a fun hobby, or a full blown career, these ten tips on how to become an actor with no experience can help you get started on your path to fame.
1. Do NOT move to a major market right away.
Being an actor in Los Angeles or New York is remarkably difficult for performers with decades of training and experience. But if you are an actor with no experience don’t even think about trying. While there may be one or two people in the history of film and television that got off a bus and were instantly discovered, most of them have to struggle just to try to get unpaid work. If you are green, stay where are. Get a few years of serious training under your belt, and begin to build up a resumé that you are proud of before you even think about making the leap.
If you want to become an actor with no experience, the first thing you should do is actually get some experience. Find an acting class at a local theater, or look into professional classes if you’re really serious. While it is absolutely possible to get a little work as a novice, you also have nothing to gain by remaining inexperienced. Take some classes and refine your skill. It will take a lot of time and patience, and if you are anxious to get started than by all means, audition for some local projects. But most people probably won’t take you seriously until you have some acting lessons under your belt.
3. Audition for anything.
Most local theaters are always looking for actors just like you. So if you are hungry to learn, and most importantly, willing to work unpaid give them a try. If a local car dealership needs a commercial, volunteer to be in it. Go to the local colleges. Even if you live in a very small town, the school probably has some type of film program. Not only will doing these free projects build your resumé, it will also get you into the habit of auditioning and performing. There is no better way to learn how to act than to actually act.
4. Learn some special skills.
Seriously. If you are an actor with no experience, auditioning against a seasoned professional, some special skills may give you the edge over your competitor and help help land you the part. If you know how to ride a horse, or a mountain bike; play golf or tennis and the part requires such understanding, that special skill alone can get you a call back. Diversifying your talents in this way will be doubly important when you move to a major market, so why not start honing these abilities now and you may also enjoy the experience.
5. When all else fails, just play.
If you don’t have any experience, the best advice for any novice jumping into the business is this: never forget how to play. Children are a prime example of actors with no experience, and yet in movies like “The Professional,” “Forrest Gump,” “A Christmas Story,” and “Harry Potter” children have turned out some of the most convincing, and moving performances in the history of cinema.
In “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson had never acted professionally before, and Watson was praised by critics worldwide for her performance as the know-it-all, Hermione Granger. Sometimes it’s not all about training and experience. Children are so mesmerizing to watch because they have not forgotten what it is like to play, and explore. Children are not afraid to look stupid, and neither should you.
6 Acting is a Business First
I know, you love the lights, the camera, the action. But don’t romanticize what you’re doing here, you’re a business first and an artist second.
You are an entrepreneur with a product to sell. You’re selling you. Your face, your body, your voice, your acting skills, your singing skills, etc. All working actors understand this concept.
7. Market Your Business
How do you get your name out there? How can you get hired? How to become an actor who’s working?
Here are a few ways to get your name out there:
Headshot and Resumé. An actor’s 8×10 calling card. It needs to look as professional as possible because it’s going to cross the desk of directors, producers, agents, managers, etc.
Nothing to put on your resumé? Try to become a movie extra, or volunteer at your local community theater. (Theaters love volunteers!)
Use your Type. Directors use type-casting to better fill acting roles. Figure out your type (fat boy, sexy girl, office professional) and tailor your approach.
On the Web. Sites like ReelAct.com will host your online information. Hosting photos, your resumé, even your demo reel. The best part? It’s free!
Networking. One of the best skills you can develop is finding out what’s happening around you, and trying to get involved. What’s more, surrounding yourself with positive, successful role models is essential. True entrepreneurs are experts at networking.
8. Be Patient
Don’t you hate it when someone tells you to be patient? Me too. But it’s true.
But that doesn’t mean you can rest on your laurels. You should be doing everything possible to get yourself known, after all how do you expect to get contracted if nobody knows you exist?
9. Get Exposure
This is probably the number 1 tip on how to become an actor:
Constant and repeated exposure. Get your self in front of casting directors, agents, producers, and other powers that be, and they’ll begin to recognize you. People do business only with those that they know, like, and respect. That’s how to get into acting. Even if they turn you down, it is still getting yourself known and remember most famous actors were all rejected at the start of their acting careers.
Take Harvey Keitel for example, he auditioned for the Actors Studio for eight years in a row before being accepted. Now he’s on its board.
10. Don’t Take Rejection To Heart
Actors get rejected all the time, but you shouldn’t take it to heart. You may have simply failed the audition because you have black hair and the producers want a blonde, or because you’re taller than they’d like or because they found your accent wasn’t quite right — all factors that you have no control over. With acting, the rejection quite simply can be that, though you’re great at what you do, you weren’t the physical type the producers were looking for.
You probably heard of the actor George Clooney, right? You think he had it easy?
Listen to his story:
“I didn’t become really successful until I was in my thirties. I can still remember sitting on the closet floor of my buddy’s house, completely broke. My friends would want to go out to dinner, to get a hamburger, and I couldn’t afford to go. They had the money to pay, but I didn’t want them to pay. That happened a lot. At one point, I remember my buddy Brad loaning me a hundred dollars. He’s now running our production company. I’m still paying that debt off, you know?”
Follow these tips, be patient, be positive, study and who knows may be in a few years you could be teaching others how to become an actor!