Many people dream of becoming an actor, but for the majority, it’s a heartbreaking fantasy. Only two percent of working actors actually earn enough to support themselves, and 90 percent are out of work at any given time. That being said, there are still plenty of people who feel compelled to give it a shot. Here are a few tips in order to increase the odds.
Acting is a skill that needs to be finely-tuned and practised as much as possible. Take as many acting classes as you can to get used to performing with others and learning how to handle criticism. This also teaches you how to incorporate improvisation into your performances. There are also many personal acting coaches in the industry who can help, especially if you need guidance about a specific role. When you are home alone, you should practice speaking in front of a mirror, as well as on camera, so you can see how you look and make the necessary adjustments.
In the world of show businesses, it’s who you know. This means that any social opportunity is a chance to broaden your network. In addition to befriending your peers, it’s good to cultivate new relationships with other people, both inside and outside the industry. The more practice you have with being an extrovert and going outside your comfort zone, the more comfortable you will be during an audition. When meeting casting directors, be polite and professional, and make it clear that you are not interested in building a friendship under false pretenses, but clearly state your goals.
Actors who want to be taken seriously need representation. The largest talent agencies are Creative Artists Agency (CAA), William Morris Endeavor (WME), United Talent Agency (UTA), and ICM Partners (ICM). It is possible to represent yourself, but the benefit of representation is having more access to contacts and acting roles. Some casting directors won’t even audition people who don’t have an agent. When researching which agency might be a good fit, make sure you talk to current and former clients, as well as your peers. Keep in mind that agents take approximately 10% commission of your gross earnings, so it’s important to find someone you trust and with whom you have a good rapport.
If you are fortunate enough to get a casting call or an audition, there are rules of etiquette that must be followed. You only have one shot at making a first impression. The first rule is to be on-time or even a little bit early. This lets them know that you are taking this job seriously and really want to work. The next rule is to work off-script whenever possible. Giving an audition while holding the script is not only unprofessional, but it also sends the message that you either can’t learn lines or you don’t want to. Another rule is to act out the scene as intended. There is no need to add your own improvisation. If you are given criticism about how a line is delivered, say thank you and try again. Do not interject about how you feel the character should be played. It is also in bad taste to show up to an audition in costume. It’s distracting and unneccesary.