Acting Tips for an Old Guy trying to be a Star

by Damien
(Jacksonville, FL, USA)

QUESTION:

I'm 30 years old, I live in Jacksonville Florida. I have always wanted to do acting but just never knew how to go about doing it. I'm currently attending workshops in Orlando at the LA Acting Studio. Last year I won a new face modeling contract with Model Productions in Georgia but all that allowed me to do was submit for castings on their casting board which I did all last year and never found any work. I plan on attending KD Studio in Dallas Texas to pursue an AS degree in Applied Sciences for Acting Performance. I won't be able to do that though until next year or the year after. I just want to know if I am moving in the right direction because I truly want to be an actor. My dilemma is that I feel because of me being 30 that I am too old to be trying to start an acting career. Can you offer me any guidance that can help me and that can make me not feel like I'm too old?

ANSWER:

First of all, you're not an "old guy" at 30!

Is it harder to have an acting career when you didn't start right after high school or sooner?

Yes.

It will be harder to get auditions when you're competing against veteran actors with long acting resumes filled with theater, TV and film experience.

Is it impossible?

Of course not!

I was just talking to an acting coach here in LA about one of her students who got into acting after a 30-year career in marketing (that makes him much older then you!) and he is now a successful actor with recurring roles and guest-starring roles on popular TV shows, not to mention film roles.

My advice is to forget about being a star and concentrate on your desire to act. You're 30, great! You have a level of maturity a twenty-year-old doesn't necessarily have. Don't waste your time on modeling competitions and don't wait two years to start learning how to act. You don't have to go to a full time acting school. Start with a good acting class that includes casting director showcases so you can start meeting industry players and understanding the business.

If you have a good commercial look, commercials are a great place to start for an older actor with no experience because commercial casting directors don't care about experience and they want REAL people. How do you know if you have a good commercial look? Watch commercials and see if you are one of the types that you see in ads over and over (ie. Are you the "best friend type" or "guy next door type"?). If you are, take a commercial class, or better still, intern for a commercial casting director for free 1 or 2 days a week. Visit our commercial audition page for more information.

Finally, consider this… You have something that people who have been acting their whole lives may not have. Life experience in another field. Whatever you did before in your life, you can bring it to a role in a unique way. Now more then ever casting directors want real people. So take some time to think about how your previous experience can help your acting. You worked in fitness? You'll have special skills to add on your resume. You worked in marketing? You'll know a thing or too about marketing yourself as an actor…

Good luck! Come back to post comments to this page in the future to let us know how your new career is going.


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Age limit to be an actor?

by Omaira
(New Jersey)

QUESTION:

How old is too old for acting on TV and movies?

ANSWER:

You're never too old to work on TV or in movies. Look at Judi Dench or Ian McKellen!

If you look at TV shows and films, you'll see that there are a lot of roles for older actors. Sometimes older actors are even the leads, like in CSI or House. The problem with starting late is that you'll be going against actors who have been in the business for years and have much more on screen credits then you do. That doesn't mean you won't be able to get a screen acting job, but it will be hard to book a big part because TV and film producers usually want "bankable talent" (actors who have some star power).

That being said, there are a few actors who started their movie career late and still became stars. Chris Cooper made his first screen appearance when he was 36 years old but went on to become a star after his role in the Oscar winning film American Beauty. Of course, he went to acting school and worked on Broadway before that. If you're already a theater actor, you can get noticed for a film or TV role at any age.

If you've never acted before, starting a film or TV acting career in your mid-30s, 40s or later can be a challenge. I tend to think it's even harder for actresses then actors because there are less roles for older women in general.

That being said, it's never too late to follow your dreams. If you have talent and are willing to train as an actor, you may just land that screen acting job you've been dreaming of. Every actor is unique, and if the role you audition just seems made for you, producers and casting directors may give you a shot… and if they don't, at least you will have tried!

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What is the maximum age to start

by John
(Long Beach, Washington, USA)

I'm in the middle

I'm in the middle

QUESTION:

I am 73. Do you have an old timers program?
After you see the picture, you can laugh...

ANSWER:

Why would I laugh? There's no maximum age to follow your dreams. Actually, being 73, you may find that you have much more freedom in your acting.

Many younger actors get into acting because they have a passion, but can then loose track of it as the "business of acting" takes over and it becomes about getting that agent, or that audition or that next role.

Sometimes when you're older, you can enjoy the process more. There are no "old timer programs", but most acting classes take students of all ages and since theater abounds with great generational conflicts, you'll never run out of scene partners as you learn.

You can read my answer to this previous post from a 60-year old actor for more information on how to get started.

Give it a shot, have fun!

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Is it too late to pursue acting?

by Kev
(ny)

QUESTION:

I have always been interested in film, but I always wanted to be a screenwriter and director. By the time I graduated high school, I wanted to be an actor as well.

I think watching actors in movies and TV shows has influenced me greatly. I always liked the idea of playing different characters, seeing the world outside and in film sets. Besides directors need to know how to act since they direct the actors.

I'm majoring in acting at the community college I go to. I took a voice and movement class last spring. I'm taking another acting class this semester and will be taking another in next spring.

It's hard finding auditions and online casting sites... I also auditioned for the school play but I did not get cast, even through the casting director said I did well.

Is it a disadvantage for me to be 19 and look like a 15 years old because of my babyface and height (5'6"). I want to really be an actor and I regret not starting earlier. I can't even dance or sing, should I give up and stick to writing and directing?

ANSWER:

Many people at 19 have not even started acting classes (and you're going against 15 year old roles anyway), so don't worry about being too old. If you want to act, it's not too late at all, but if you also like to direct and write screenplays, I wouldn't stop doing it (if anything, it will help your acting career, since you'll be able to give yourself your first acting job if you need to).

Many actors don't dance or sing. Unless you want to be in a musical, it's a nice skill to add on your acting resume, but absolutely not a "must".

Finally, looking like 15 when you're 19 is actually great. Casting directors love actors who can play younger. You can audition for teen roles and young adult roles, so point out your unusual age range and actor type on any agent letter you send to get representation.

Good luck!

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