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How to Become an Actor: Essential Steps to Take

How to Become an Actor

It seems like there’s a million things you need to do when becoming an actor. It can be overwhelming for people who are only just starting out and it’s difficult to understand what steps to take.

That’s why we’re going to focus on the essential steps to becoming an actor so you can get started without losing your mind. Go through these steps and you’ll be a lot closer to landing your first gig as an actor. Without further ado, let’s get started!

Step 1: Get your headshots done

The first step towards becoming an actor is getting your headshots done. A headshot is an 8” by 10” picture where your face is clear and is used as a calling card. Your headshots are the first impression you make on casting directors, so you need to make sure you make a great one.

To start you need to find a good headshot photographer, preferably someone with a style that works for you (this is something we can help arrange for you here at Innovative Actor’s Studio). Also, you need to be comfortable around them because a headshot session is quite emotional and personal. You won’t be able to shine through if your photographer makes you uncomfortable, is impatient with you, or doesn’t know how to work with you. Do your research well to make sure you choose someone great, study their website or social media, look at their portfolio, call them and ask them relevant questions, such as how many photos are included, what they charge, how long the session is for, etc.

Once you’ve found the right photographer, you need to decide what you’ll wear and how you’ll do your makeup. It’s important that you define your “looks” – essentially the types of characters you want to portray. Make sure your clothes are clean and don’t have any holes, wrinkles, or stains. When it comes to makeup, go for a natural look that makes your features stand out.

Last but not least, the pose! You want to look natural in your headshots so avoid overacting. The trick here is to look engaged, so get into character and express yourself through your eyes. Have fun! Your happiness and enthusiasm will definitely shine through.

Step 2: Get your resume ready

Yes, that’s right. You also need a resume to be an actor and it must be clear, concise, and easy to read. It should include your name, your email address, your phone number, and your union status. More than that, when and if the audition asks for it, include a list of physical attributes, and don’t be afraid to include a link to your website, demo reel or even your IMDb page. This is also the kind of thing that an experienced acting coach can assist with.

You’ll also need to discuss your experience as an actor, which should include your work on Film, TV, commercials, Broadway, regional theater, academic theater, etc. College theater and community theater can be featured if you’re just starting out, but make sure you upgrade your resume as you gain more experience.

Every single thing you list as experience should include title, role, director and producing organization. This is meant to make the job for casting directors a bit easier, and you can bet they will call a director or organization if they know it to ask for feedback. And, importantly, never lie on your resume – no matter what Joey from Friends says. You will get found out and your chances will end there.

Step 3: Prepare a demo reel

A demo reel is another kind of calling card and it’s a reel made of clips from your experience on screen, or from material you specifically shot for the purposes of the reel itself. This is a great way of showing casting directors and everyone else that you have talent and you’re worth a shot. A demo reel will allow casting directors to see what you’ve done as a professional so far, and if you’re just starting out, it will allow them to gauge your acting skills.

Once you go through these 3 essential steps, you’re ready to start auditioning and looking for roles all over town. Becoming an actor takes hard work and discipline, so get ready and go out there to land your first gig!

Want to take the mystery out of acting? Let a 30-year pro guide you through the entire process from A to Z – fill out our Intro Class form and we’ll schedule you for a free class with Bob.

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