21 / 05 / 2021
So you want to be an actor?
GETTING INTO ACTING
On many occasions, we have people approaching us to ask how they can get into acting. It may be that you have been modelling and would like to branch out into some screen acting, or it could be that you are totally new to the industry and are looking for some advice on how to get started.
Below you can find some initial ideas on how you can start to explore acting and how you can begin to turn an interest and potential, into skills and a profession!
Lots of people naturally assume that in order to be an Actor, you have to go to drama school. This really is not the case, and many very successful actors have pathed their way into acting without having attended full time drama school.
The important thing is to train and attend classes, so that you can develop your skills and gain as much knowledge as possible.
Researching and attending local acting classes is a great way to get started. Not only will they give you an introduction to the craft and help boost your confidence, but they will also enable you to meet and network with likeminded people from the industry.
There are many institutes that run a multitude of courses; these include evening, weekend and short courses so you are able to work the training around your busy life schedule.
City Academy in London, offers many courses for all aspects of acting including acting for stage, screen and camera acting, comedy performance and improvisation technique. Not only are there a wide variety of courses, but many are available both in person and online. A lot of these courses can be purchased as a block and are run one day or evening a week.
Based at Pinewood Studios, Actors Studio also runs some TV & film weekend crash courses as well as a 1 day intro to screen acting course. These are great if you cannot commit to a weekly class but want to invest in a course of considerable length.
For those that fancy a quick taster of an acting class to see if it is something they would like to continue, Actors Door Studio run a drop in class every Sunday for screen acting. This is really reasonably priced and runs for a few hours in the afternoon. They also run an Audition technique Workshop that could be really helpful for those who are nervous about going to castings.
HEADSHOTS AND SHOWREELS
After you have attended a few classes and are feeling more confident, the next step is to make sure you have a great acting headshot that shows the real you. This is the first thing that any casting director will look at so you want to make sure it really is an accurate representation of you. It's great to have a selection of headshots that demonstrate different looks so you are able to submit a headshot that suits the role you are going up for.
Showreels are also really important for anyone who wants to be seen for acting briefs. It doesn’t necessarily matter if you haven’t got any professional footage and material to begin with; what we need is to see examples of the kind of characters you think you would be suitable for; you can do this by performing monologues or recreating scenes with friends that you may have met at acting classes. What is important is that the showreel is of good visual quality, so make sure it is made in using a good camera, is filmed in a suitable environment and is edited together well.
Many of the institutes that run acting classes also hold workshops and showreel creating sessions so it is always worth enquiring to see if this is something they can help with.
CASTING DIRECTOR WORKSHOPS
So... you have attended classes, you have a killer headshot and your showreel is complete! It is now a good idea to try and get yourself seen by some casting directors so they can keep you in mind for when they are casting their next project.
Be sure to follow casting directors on social media platforms as they are likely to use these to advertise any workshops they may be holding or attending.
Additionally, they tend to have Q&A style sessions on social media which are always great to listen to and watch in on as they can really give you an idea of the kind of things casting directors are looking for as well as flagging up anything they may dislike when it comes to casting.
FIND AN AGENT
The first thing you need to remember when you are applying to agencies is that there are many reasons why you may not be right for an agent and you must not take it personally if you do not get accepted to the first few you approach. At Sandra Reynolds, we receive over 200 applications a week from aspiring actors and models and we may offer an appointment to only a small handful of these.
Keep your application clear and to the point - any images should be clear and flattering and you should attach a casting video, introducing yourself and chatting BRIEFLY about your skills. If you send in a 10 minute beautifully filmed video, chances are it will not get watched all the way through at this stage... you have a short window to make a good impression and get invited in for an appointment.
Once you have an appointment, it is very important you arrive on time, looking well presented and are polite, friendly and natural. The agent will assume the way you conduct yourself at this appointment is the way you will come across at castings and auditions so if you arrive late, looking scruffy or are unfriendly they will be unlikely to want you out there representing their agency.
GET ON SPOTLIGHT
Spotlight is the industry's leading casting platform and your agency will want you on here in order to get you seen for the best briefs.
As a member of Spotlight, you'll get access to career advice, events and support tools to help you to establish and manage a successful acting career and there are also special memberships for graduates and young performers.
Knowledge is power and the more you know, the more confident you will feel when you get called in for that casting you have been dreaming of.
As Audrey Hepburn said 'Nothing is impossible, the word itself says "I'm possible"!'