Acting Tips When you're Just Getting Started

by Dean
(Washington, DC)

QUESTION:

Hey Guys!

I'm 23 years old and I currently live in the DC-Metro area. I'm just getting started with acting. It has always been something that I have wanted to pursue, but was pressured by my family to finish college and go to law school. I recently decided NOT to attend law school and pursue my true passion, regardless of what others have to say about it. I got my head shots done and submitted some photos to a talent/modeling agency and received a call back immediately - I have an interview with them on 8/20. I do indeed have a very distinct look because I'm mixed, but I have absolutely zero experience in the field.

My questions:
1. Many casting calls for agencies require experience before one can even gain entry... What is the best way to overcome this?
2. What is the best way to educate my self? Acting school/lessons?
3. Is it possible for someone to make it without having any experience?
4. What should in the resume that I staple to the back of my head shots? Should I include things like the fact that I'm into fitness and nutrition? That I can speak 4 languages? That I know how to do different types of accents?
5. What is the best way to break into the field? I want to get into television and film?

My apologies for bombarding you with questions. I know I've got a lot to learn, but I'm eager.

ANSWER:

Hi,

Sorry it took so long to answer. You must be excited about your first agent interview tomorrow.

It's true that most acting agents don't take clients with no experience but that's not the case for modeling, print and commercials, so if you have a distinct look that is right for print and commercials, you can sign with these departments within an agency and hopefully later on sign on with their "legit" department (theater, film, TV) when you get more experience. Modeling and commercials is a great way to break into the acting business because you don't need to have a long list of credits on your resume to get started (see our commercial audition page for more information). A lot of models don't know how to act, so if you study acting, you will be ahead of the game when the right audition comes along.

There's no right choice between acting schools and lessons. Since you already have a Bachelor's Degree, you may want to sign up for a single short-term acting class for now while you interview with agents and learn more about acting. Once you understand better what you want to do and have a clearer idea of the market in your area, you can start looking at 2-year full time conservatories and MFA programs. Be especially attentive to what they offer in terms of performance opportunities and career preparation (you can find a checklist for acting schools here). We plan on adding more listings of acting programs, so sign up for our newsletter to find out when we add schools in DC!

Is it possible to make it without experience? Of course. Experience is a big help but younger actors can still be discovered, especially those with unique looks or model looks. Everybody has to start somewhere. What's important is to train so when you do have a great opportunity, you have more than talent to rely on.

Things like speaking four languages and doing accents well can really get your career jumpstarted. It should definitely appear on your resume under "special skills" (but don't list things like "fitness" unless it translates into a specific special skill (in this case, an athletic skill like "college football player", for example.) You can read all about how to write your actor resume here (click on each resume graphic to see an example). If you don't know what to put on your acting resume, also check out our acting resume page.

Finally, start thinking about an acting reel if you want to work in film and television. This could mean picking an acting school with a film program or working on student films.

Hope this helps. Break a leg tomorrow! Feel free to add comments to this page to share your future acting successes!

Comments for Acting Tips When you're Just Getting Started

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difference between HB Studio and Stella Adler's?
by: Zach Meyere

Hello,
I would like to know the difference between the school HB studio and the Stella Adler academy of acting and theatre.
Thank you very much,
Zach

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