The Seven Keys to Becoming a Successful Working Actor

Welcome to the monster known as the entertainment industry. Every year thousands of people flock to big cities such as Los Angeles, New York, and Orlando. What does this mean? It means hundreds of people are fighting for representation, roles, and rehearsals. How does a person break through in such mass confusion?

Key 1: Know Thyself
Everyone starts with a manipulated resume which is full of words like student directed, community playhouse, and “most talented sixth grader.” Embrace your “aspiring” status. When calling or emailing for an audition, turn your inexperience into a positive. “You are looking for someone to give you that shot or that one opportunity to show your stuff.” In most cases, a director or casting agent will sympathies with your struggles and give you a chance.

Key 2: Take the Re -Train
Nothing opens doors faster than the words “Juilliard” on your resume but what happens if you haven’t attended a renowned school of theatre. There are acting workshops in all major cities but these can be expensive. If you have the money, there are many excellent programs but remember that the key is not just training but also networking. Classes and programs aren’t just to hone your skills but to help give you some exposure. You have already gone to school; this is to help you find work.

Key 3: Working the Smallest Stage in America
What if you don’t have that type of money to spend on classes? Perhaps you’ve just moved to New York City and have a 8th floor studio apartment that barely fits a bed and a television stand which you pay 1100 dollars a month rent. An excellent place to hone your stage skills as well as meet others in the industry is at playwriting and screenwriting workshops. Writers and directors are always looking for people to read in their workshops and this is a great way to get in front of an audience as well as meet possible future directors and producers. These can also help fill out a thin resume.

Key 4: The Best Pieces of Spaghetti Don’t Always Stick to the Wall.
Everyone always says audition for anything because you never know what will happen. This is ridiculous. How does the surrealist two minute student film involving slight nudity and no lines further your career? Audition, audition, audition but always know what you’re after. Is this something you want people to see on your resume? If it is: great. If it isn’t: what are you doing there? Spending three months rehearsing as the second policeman from the left in “Wait Until Dark” for 8 hours a day for no pay may feel like work but after three months, all you have is an “ensemble” on your restaurant and an empty kitchen cupboard.

Key 5: There are a Lot of Bad Films Out There
Anyone with a handheld camera and a few dollar bills in their pocket can make a movie. It doesn’t mean all low-budget movies are bad but not all high-budget movies are good. (Has anyone seen Basic Instinct 2?) Remember, you are there to gain experience and exposure. It doesn’t have to be award winning to be good for you. You want to be fun, easy to work with, and good at taking direction. (especially if you’re being paid.) Your job is to take a script and become a character. Odds are the script was probably written by the director or the producer and is based on some type of melodramatic moment in their life. Asking for script rewrites will not make you any friends. Take what you can from the project, put your reference on the resume, and move on.

Key 6: You Never get a Second chance to Make a First Impression
This is never truer than on independent, small budget projects. With your smaller budgeted projects, most directors are looking for a personality that they can create into a character. It’s not just your acting skills which are on show but also you yourself. Entering a room with some excitement will never hurt you. Turn your nervousness into energy. You are a new face, with a bright smile and big energy. You will soon find yourself shining in a room full of potential stars and people will notice.

Key 7: Go Big or Go Home
“Big Breaks” are few and far between but a working actor does not need to be paid $10 million a movie. With these 6 steps, you will be able to get your foot into the door of the entertainment industry. As you get work and your resume fills, representation will follow, and from thereâÂ?¦ all the world will become your stage.

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