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How to Become an Actor

How to Get an Acting Agent

Good acting agents jumpstart actors’ careers. Bad acting agents can be a stumbling block to success.

Here you’ll find information on how to submit  and get noticed by acting agencies, how to prepare for interviews with agents and
talent managers and how to find the right agent for you. But first, watch this quick video on getting an acting agent…

Submit or get noticed by acting agents

Your first goal is to get called in to interview at an acting agency. An agent has to be intrigued enough by your picture and resume or impressed enough by a performance he saw you in to want to meet you.

Here’s a list of things you can do to find an agent:

1) Do a mailing.

Mailing submissions to acting agencies is expensive and can be disappointing but sometimes works.
If you’re starting out, you should definitely do at least one
mass mailing to bank on beginner’s luck. After that,
you can do targeted mailings to acting agencies
who are looking for your type. To find agents, get Call Sheet from
Backstage – The Actor’s Resource
and mail out your headshot
and resume
with a good cover letter
to all the acting agencies in your area accepting actor submissions. Later, follow-up with
actor postcards (a 4×6 postcard with your actor photo) to keep in touch and share career updates.

Don’t cold call agents’ offices looking for acting representation and don’t stop by a talent agency without an appointment.
Dropping off your headshot and resume in person does not increase your chances of being considered by a given agent!

2) Participate in scene nights.

Also known as an industry showcase, this is when a group of actors appear in a series of scenes in front of invited professionals such as casting directors, directors, producers and agents. Make sure you choose a  scene that displays your type and strengths as an actor.

Scene nights are a great way to start out your acting career, so try to choose an acting school that includes a good  industry showcase for graduating students. You can also enroll in a class that culminates in a scene night or audition for a showcase production organized by fellow actors.

3) Invite talent managers and agents to see you perform.

You don’t need an agent to start auditioning. You can attend open calls and use online casting services, as well as trade papers like Backstage – The Actor’s Resource, to find auditions. Most actors get their first few acting jobs on their own without the help of an agent. You can also produce your own show with a couple of other actors. Once you have a strong role in a good production,
mail flyers or postcards to acting agents inviting them to come see your work (make sure to mention complimentary tickets will be waiting for them and their guests at the box office). Some agents actually prefer to go see a full production rather than scene nights. Make sure you also invite agents to screenings of films you were in.

Did you book the role of your life? Make sure agents don’t miss it! Hire a publicist who can get agents to come see you perform. Some publicists will work on a one show / one fee basis. If you’re further along in your career, you may want to hire a publicist year round.

4) Network:

Network when you study. Acting teachers and coaches can help you find an agent.
Fellow actors can introduce you to their agent. Also network when you get an acting job.
Producers and directors can get you a referral with an acting agency. A recommendation
from a casting director will often get you a meeting with an agent. Of course,
only ask from those who are familiar with your work and think highly of you as an actor.

Your other acting representatives can also help you get an agent.
Often, a talent manager will help a client secure meetings with acting agencies.
Also, if you have a print or commercial agent, ask them if you can meet with the
legit branch of the agency.

5) Take agent workshops.

A lot of agents for actors give master classes, workshops and lectures.
This is an opportunity for them to see your work and for you to get feedback.
Since these classes are often expensive, do your research beforehand and
try to concentrate on agents who are looking for your type.

6) Intern.

Even if it’s just a day a week, interning at an actor agency
or talent manager’s office is a fantastic way to build
relationships and learn about the business of acting.
Ask your acting school if they can help you find an
internship or browse through entertainment job listings.

Got the call? Acting agents want to meet you? Great! Now it’s time to
prepare for your interview.

Note: You can follow all the steps above to find a manager. It’s the same process as finding agent.
To find out more about the differences between talent managers and agents,
click here. A lot of the tips below also apply for kids talent agencies,
but read our kids talent agencies 101
for more help.

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How to Become an Actor

Choosing Headshot Photographers

Want your acting headshot to get you agents and auditions so you can become an actor who works all the time?It all starts with picking the right actors headshot photographers.

Read on for step by step information on how to find and choose the right headshot photographer for you
and know what questions to ask to get the best actors headshots possible.

1) How to Find Acting Headshot Photographers

Where do you find good actors headshot photographers?

The best way is to ask a fellow actor whose headshots you like and who gets a lot of auditions. Because you know the actor, you’ll be able to see if his picture looks like him, which is very important. Casting directors hate it when an actor doesn’t look like his picture because it wastes their time.

If you have an acting agent or manager, make sure to ask them which photographers they like to work with. You should always discuss your actor headshots with your agent beforehand. It’s a great way to find out if you’re on the same page about your type and the roles you want, plus you don’t want to spend time and money on headshots just to find out your agent doesn’t like them.

Never sign with an agent or manager who asks you to get your actor photos from specific photographers in order to be represented by them!

You can also get a list of acting headshot photographers from your acting school or acting class. If you live in New York or Los Angeles, Backstage magazine regularly has listings of photographers. You can also browse through photographers’ work at many photo labs that do headshot reproduction.

What if you live in a small town and can’t find a photographer in your area that specializes in headshots for actors? Work with a portrait photographer and read the guidelines below to have an idea of what makes a good headshot.

2) Pick 3-5 acting headshot photographers to call

actors headshotsMost photographers have a website where they show a sample of their work. Here’s what to look for when you look at actors’ headshots:

Does the actor’s face jump at you? Ask yourself if you would want to meet that person.

Does the actor seem relaxed? The actor should not look like he or she is posing (look for awkward body positions).

Does the actor look natural? The acting photo should be about the actor, not the photographer. Look for minimum background detail and stay away from shots that are too artistic.

Does the actor look real? Unless you plan on auditioning for soap operas, actors headshots should not look like model headshots.

Is the actor’s face well-lit and in focus? Avoid artistic shadows and props. An acting picture should not leave a casting director guessing what the actor actually looks like.

What’s the framing? Although actors photos are known as headshots, a good actor photo should usually show more then just the actor’s face. Casting directors want to know your body type by looking at your acting picture. They also want to know what your hair is like, so very close-up headshots are not a good idea. A good length is usually a shot that cuts somewhere around the chest.

Are the headshots in color? Although black and white headshots still work if you’re starting an acting career in New York, color is a must in Los Angeles.

Does the photographer use digital? Digital will allow you to see your shots during the photo session and have the option of both black and white and color.

3) Interview acting headshot photographers

Now that you’ve picked a few photographers whose work you like, it’s time to pick up the phone and ask how much they charge for headshots for actors. Here are some things to consider:

    • Prices vary a lot, but expect to pay somewhere between $350 and $850 for good quality acting headshots. Of course, some photographers will offer sessions for $ 100 or less, but if cheap headshots don’t get you called in for auditions, you’ll be losing money in the long run.
    • Most acting headshot photographers will have packages according to how many “looks” (clothing changes) you want. This is where you can save money – 3 looks is more then enough, especially since you’ll be making at least 100 prints of each look.
    • Make sure to ask exactly what the price includes. Some photographers will give you the negatives or CD of your shoot, others will charge a fee per picture you choose to print. There may also be an extra fee for retouching, hair and make-up.
    • Find out about the cancellation policy and fees.

When you find a photographer whose prices fit your budget, set up a time to meet them.
Try to meet 2-3 photographers so you find one you feel really comfortable with.

headshot photographers questionsHere are some questions to ask as you flip through their portfolios:

How does the session work? How long does it last and approximately how many pictures do you take?
Can I bring my own music to the photo shoot?

Do you use natural light or studio light? Natural light or a mix of natural light and studio light tend to make the actor look more real and natural.

What about make-up (for women only)? Do they recommend you use a hair and make-up artist? Do they usually work with the same artist?

What kind of looks do you think would work for me? Discussing wardrobe now is a good way to make sure you see eye to eye on the kind of headshot photos you want. You may also get some good ideas.

Will they spend time to help you pick shots after the session?
A lot of photographers will circle the shots they think are the best and discuss
it with you a few days after the shoot.

OK, you’ve found the perfect acting headshot photographer you have good chemistry with?
Time to book your shoot! Visit our actor headshots page to find out how to prepare for the big day and become an actor!

What if you can’t afford an acting headshot from a good actors headshot photographer right now?
Don’t waste your money on cheap acting headshots! You’re better off asking a friend with a good camera to take your actor photos. You may not get the perfect headshots, but you’ll be able to try out looks and see what works and what doesn’t, plus it will be good practice for when you do have the money for a professional shoot. If you decide to go that route, check out these
digital portrait photography tips for help.

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How to Become an Actor

Film Acting Tips

Are you ready for a film acting career?film acting

If most of your experience is in theater acting, you may find working in front of the camera
a little awkward. Don’t worry, it’s much easier for a theatre actor to switch to
screen acting than it is for film and television actors to do theatre. Here are a few movie acting tips to get you started.

Film acting Tip 1 – Everything is Smaller

When you act on stage, you need strong vocal production to be heard by the audience and large gestures to communicate what is going on to people who are sitting too far away to see small facial expressions. When you act for the camera, it’s almost the opposite. You work with very sensitive mics that can pick up every word you say if you just speak normally and the camera shows every nuance of your facial expressions. Actually, in a close-up, everything is magnified, so a normal unexaggerated facial expression can appear “too big”. Similarly, gesturing can quickly become very distracting.

How do you fix it?

Keep it small. Remember that everything you think or feel will show in your eyes. You don’t need to do anything else to communicate the words. If you just think the words, the audience is so close that they will know what you’re thinking and feel with you.

Rent a few movies and watch your favorite film actors. See how little they do and how immobile they can be. Practice stillness when you go over a script, only moving and making a gesture if you feel a real impulse to do so.

Film acting Tip 2 – Everything is Repeated

Once the curtain rises on stage, that’s it! The show goes on no matter what. You only get one go at each line. You have your stage blocking, but every night is different. Let’s say your character has a scene while eating grapes. One night you’ll eat a grape before one line. Another night, you eat that grape after another line or in the middle of it.

Film acting doesn’t really work this way. Every scene is broken down into different camera angles, and every angle is broken down into takes. Unless you’re doing an ultra-low budget film or Clint Eastwood movie, chances are you’ll have dozens of takes of the same lines.

On the one hand, this is a good thing. It allows you to try different things and make mistakes. On the other hand, you have to remember that all these takes will eventually be cut together into one scene, which means your actions must match from one take to the other. If you eat a grape at the end of one line, you need to eat a grape at the end of that same line for every take. Otherwise, when the editor is ready to cut your 2-shot to a close-up, it won’t match. Not only that, you need to pick up and eat the grape at relatively the same speed and angle each time! I know, that can turn out to be a lot of grapes, but just think of those early Hollywood actors who were smoking cigarettes…

Film acting Tip 3 – Everything is Awkward

Acting for the camera means you, the actor, have to perform within technical parameters that may seem very unnatural. For example, depending on where the camera is positioned, you may have to cheat eyelines, which means you may not be looking directly at the actor you are supposed to be having the scene with. Actually, if you are doing green screen work or having a scene with a recognizable actor, you may not even have that person present during your reaction shots and closeups.

Another thing that can be disconcerting for a theater actor at first is how much interruptions there are. In between takes, the makeup artist will be in your face fixing their work, while the script supervisor or AD gives you technical adjustments and a movie extra tries to start a conversation. It can take forever between takes, while you’re just standing there waiting. Then all of a sudden, it’s “action!” and you’re expected to be ready.

How do you do that?

Mostly, by being prepared, so you can take in all the technical information
and jump back into the role when your time comes.
That’s where your training in theater comes in handy.
You know relaxation and concentration techniques. You know how to be professional.
That’s why so many casting directors in LA like to hire theatre actors for the screen.
Film acting and theater acting may be different, but in the end, it’s all about talent and training.
If you’re new to acting for the camera, take a few film acting classes and the rest you’ll learn on the set.

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Actors Agents Guide to Become an Actor

There are plenty of actors agents out there.

When you decide to become an actor, it often seems impossible to get acting talent agents to represent you, but the more acting experience you get and the better you get at networking with talent management, the more interviews you will get with actors agents interested in representating you.

So how do you pick good acting agents to work with?

More importantly, how do you choose the right actor agent for you?

Below are some pointers to get you started, along with tips on how to work with your talent management team to get the most success in your acting career

If you’re wondering how to get an agent to begin with, visit our acting agents page.
You can also ask specific questions about actor agents at the bottom of this page.

Sign with the right actors’ agent

Depending on where you’re at in your career and what you’re looking for in an agent,
here are a few things to consider when picking an agent to sign with:

    • A small client list will allow you to get more personalized attention while a larger acting agency can have the clout or packaging power of getting you bigger auditions as you progress in your career.
    • Sharing a common vision on the type of roles you’re right for and which direction your career should take is important. If you’re trying to make a change of direction in your career, you need to make sure the agent you choose will support you in your decision, even if it means accepting smaller and lower-paying roles for a while.
    • Your agent doesn’t need to be your best friend, but a good rapport helps. Ask yourself if this is someone you would like on your team and enjoy talking to on the phone daily.
    • If you’re starting an acting career, don’t feel like you
      have to sign with the perfect acting agency right away. An actor contract is
      usually for one year, renewable. Just make sure the agency is legit.
      For example, actors agents should not require that you take a
      particular class or get headshots with a particular photographer
      in order to represent you. Also make sure you read your contract
      carefully before signing. There should be a clause to allow you
      to get out of the contract if the agent doesn’t get you an audition
      within a certain timeframe (usually 3 months).
actors agents dead endDon’t dead end yourself by spending all ofyour energy on finding actors’ agents when you start your acting career. Your time is almost always better spent working on your craft, looking for auditions on your own and working as an actor. You do not need to have an agent to begin acting!

Build a good long-lasting relationship with your actor agency

You’ve signed with an agent you love?

Congratulations!

Now you got to give your new agent all the tools they need to submit you. Get your new agency’s contact information on your resume and give your agent as many pictures and resumes as they want. If you have one, also drop off a few copies of your reel.

Now what?

    1. Your talent agent will submit you on auditions and also possibly set up “meet and greets” with casting directors to introduce you as a new up-and-coming actor.
    2. When you get an audition, they will call you with all the specifics, possibly give you some background on the auditioners and advice on what to wear or how to prepare for the role. They will also call you if you have a callback or if they receive feedback from the casting director.
    3. Once you book a role, the agent will negotiate your contract and give you all the details of the job.
    4. Actors’ agents receive your earnings and send them to you, minus a 10% commission.

Sounds simple?

Working with your agent will be easier if you follow these tips on how to make the most of your relationship:

    • Communicate. Make sure your update your agent on any changes to your appearance, availability and contact information. Drop off new resumes each time you get a role and call periodically to make sure your agent still has enough acting pictures, resumes and reels. Invite your agent to see you each time you perform. If you’re not getting as many auditions as you would like, talk to your agent. Discuss your headshots and resume and classes he or she thinks you could benefit from. Ask your agent if they can occasionally get feedback from casting directors on your auditions. Make sure your agent understands your career goals and which roles you do and do not want to take.
    • Act professionally. Being on time and prepared for auditions and acting jobs helps you be well-respected in the industry and in turn reflects upon your actor agent.
    • Be proactive. Don’t rely on your agent to get you all the work. See your relationship with your actor agency as a partnership. Continue to actively search for auditions, attend open calls, take workshops and make contacts. Call your agent whenever you hear of a role you think is right for you.
    • Keep notes. Keep track of every acting job you do and payment you receive. Not only will this be tremendously helpful come tax season, but it will avoid any conflict down the road with your talent agency’s payroll department. There should be a clause in your contract saying the agency has to forward your earnings within a certain amount of days of receiving payment. Read your contract carefully and make sure your agent pays you on time for acting jobs.
actor successGood acting agents can really help careers take off.
I hope all the information above helps you become an actor and find an acting
agent who shows you the road to success!

 

Are you looking for talent management companies?
View our acting managers page to find out what managers do and how they differ from actors agents.

Looking for a child acting talent agents?
Visit our kids talent agencies 101 page
to learn more about child actors agents.

Acting Agents Questions?
Get answers here!

If you still have a question about acting agents after reading this page, you can ask it here. Just fill out the form below to create an actor help page dedicated to your question. You will receive an e-mail as soon as your question is answered. Before filling out the form, check out the questions other visitors have asked at the bottom of this page, along with answers provided.

What Other Actors Have Asked

Click below to see the questions other actors have asked and the answers to these questions…

Can I get an Agent if I Have No Experience
QUESTION:

Hi my name is Jasmin.

I am very interested in acting but i have no experience whatsoever. I was wondering if i could still get an agent …

Can’t Get Any Agent
QUESTIONS:

Hello, My name is Kevin Miller.

I am having lots of trouble getting any Film agent.

I mailed out lots of headshots to L.A., New york, …

Getting an agent without a reel
QUESTION:

I don’t have much credits and no professional credits to put on my resume and therefore I can’t make a showreel. My question is, can I still …

Getting an agent and showreel
QUESTION:

If I have a little bit of theatre experience on stage just from school and university but no professional experience in theatre or film at …

contract?
QUESTION:

I am a 39 year who has never acted before. By chance, I auditioned and got a part in a pilot. They told me I was a “natural.” I do not …

Can you have more than 1 agent?
QUESTION:

Can you have more than 1 agent? Do actors in film and theatre have more than 1 agent who represents them? or is there a rule that you can …

Is It The Right Time to Get An Agent
QUESTION:

Hi, I’m 20 year old aspiring actor wondering if its the right time to get an agent even though I have zero camera experience.

I have taken …

Visit an acting agency!!!
QUESTION:

I really want to get in touch with an agent and get him or her to represent me. I have tried to get in touch with agents over mail, but they …

Can I get an Actor Agent After One Class
QUESTION:

I did a class in professional on camera. Now do I have to keep taking acting classes to become an actor or I can find an agent with just this …

Acting Terms for Agent Meetings
QUESTION:

What acting terms do you need to know when meeting an acting agent? What is a good description of these words?

ANSWER:

Most terms mentioned …

When Will Acting Agents Consider a Submission
QUESTION:

I did three school plays and 5 acting classes. Will a talent agent want to see me when I send them my resume and headshot?

ANSWER:

Maybe. …

How do I know if I have a Professional Agent?
QUESTION:

How do i know if the agent i am looking into representing me is not just some scammer?

ANSWER:

The number one rule is that no money …

Meeting with more than one agent
QUESTION:

I have three talent agencies wanting to meet my son and I was wondering if it is professional to let them know that we have other agencies …

Actors Agents Contracts
QUESTION:

I am hoping to set up my actors agency in the next few months and I am wondering where I can get help in terms of drafting a contract for …

How can you get an acting agent
QUESTION:

Do you need to have skill or be discovered for a acting agent to be with you? Or do you have to call them up and then they just will be with …

Finding the right agent and avoiding acting agent scams
QUESTION:

How do I find an agent that is right for me? I looked for so many in the area and they all seem good. How do I know if I’m being scamed? Do …

Acting Agent Contracts
QUESTION:

What is a typical length of a contract? 3 years?

ANSWER:

I believe a contract with an acting agency can be up to 3 years, but is often …

I’m Full Sized
QUESTION:

Would an agent or casting director pick me if I’m ‘FUN SIZED’ or Multi-race (Italian, Native, etc.)?

ANSWER:

There are roles available …

Theater is Not My Thing
QUESTION:

I love to act, but I hate the theater. It seems so fake and over the top for me, I just don’t like it. I have a reliable but less known agency, …

Will an Agent work with a part-time Actress?
QUESTION:

I’m a full-time educator who only wants to audition for more prominent roles. Can’t afford to act, otherwise! Is this a valid mention to a …

Acting Tips on Voice Over Manager
QUESTION:

I am a professional voice over talent. I am in between managers. I have an opportunity to join a management company that specializes in …

How to Become an Acting Manager
QUESTION:

My daughter is a BFA student that graduates in 2010. She has asked me if I would be her manager. Does one need to be licensed? If so, what …

Acting Tips to Get an Agent
QUESTION:

How do you get an agent? And how do you get your first role when you are first starting as an actor?

ANSWER:

First, read this information …

Agent Questions
QUESTION:

I am going to be meeting with some agents and casting directors tomorrow, what type of questions should I ask them?

ANSWER:

Here are …

Click here to write your own.

Acting Tips to get a Voice-Over agent
QUESTION:

I want to break into voice-overs. How do I go about getting an agent in NYC?

ANSWER:

For voice-over work, I would recommend you create …

Is Paying for Auditions Legit?
QUESTION:

A company in California says they can get me over 20 auditions but they charge a yearly fee. I told them that talent agencies get paid only …

Click here to write your own.

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Getting an Actor Resume

How do you get an actor resume when you want to become an actor but don’t have any experience?

Read on for tips on writing acting resumes, how to find experience you didn’t know you had and how to get more acting experience to fill the blanks.

It’s the story of the chicken and the egg.
You need an actor resume to start your acting career but how can you
get an acting resume when you’re just starting your acting career?

RELAX… Look through this page and brainstorm.
Most likely, by the time you’re done reading, you will have
come up with a few things to put on your actor resume and a few more ways to gain experience.

If you already have acting experience and want to know how to write acting resumes, click here or check out an acting resume sample.

1) You may have more acting experience then you think.

Ask yourself the following questions:

    • Did you go to acting school?
      As a beginning actor, you can list all school productions and showcases you acted in.
      Just write down the name of the school theater as the place you performed at.
      You can also list student films you worked on under “film and television” credits.
    • Were you ever in a school play? Be it college or high school, any role you did on stage for an invited audience can go on your beginning actor resume. Unlike resumes for other careers, there are no dates on actors’ resumes, which means you can list experience as far back as you can remember.
    • Did you ever speak, sing or play an instrument in public? As a beginning actor, you can include general performing experience on your resume. Just list it as “related experience”. Even if it’s not acting experience, it shows that you know what it’s like to be in front of a live audience. This includes concerts you participated in, a choir you were a part of, even public speaking.

2) Actor resumes don’t just list credits.

As you can see on these acting resume samples, acting resumes include much more then just experience. Acting training and special skills are an important part of your actor resume.

    • Since you are just starting your acting career,
      you can go more into detail about your training than you would
      if you were a seasoned actor. List the name of the school you
      went to or the class you took and the location. You can also add a
      brief description of what you studied.
    • You can list the teachers you studied with in acting school,
      especially if they have a recognizable name as a well-respected acting
      teacher or working professional. You can also include the name of any
      acting coach you worked with.
    • Don’t just list your acting training.
      If you took classes in singing, dance, Shakespeare, voice-over, auditioning, or any other area related to acting, you can write it down in the training section of your resume.
    • Make sure you list any special skills you have. This is especially important when starting your acting career. Even if you have very little acting experience, you may get called in for an audition if you have an unusual or unique skill required for a role.

Can’t think of any special skills? Ask yourself the questions below:

    • Can you speak a foreign language? That’s a special skill!
    • Can you do an Irish accent like no one else? Another special skill…
    • What sports are you good at? Can you horseback ride?
    • Do you play a musical instrument?
    • What about imitation and improvisation skills?
    • Do you have any hobbies like juggling or ballroom dancing?
    • Do you have any special permits or licenses? (for example, you’re a certified scuba diver or you’re licensed to drive a truck)
    • Do you have technical skills like stunt acting, fencing or voice dubbing?

acting resume special skillsDon’t list special skills you don’t have or don’t excel at. For example, don’t list French as a foreign language if you can only say a few words. You will often be asked to demonstrate your skill at the audition. It’s better to write down 2-3 strong skills than to have a long list of meaningless skills like “jogging”.

3) A few ways to gain experience…

Still facing a blank page?

If there’s not enough on your resume to get you called in for an acting audition, here are a few ideas on how to gain acting experience to list on your actor resume:

Attend open calls.

Although you will need to have a picture and resume to be considered, you don’t need a long list of credits to start auditioning.
Open calls allow you to be seen by casting directors, producers and directors in charge of hiring actors.

Join a membership company.

Membership companies are theater companies where members pay a fee to perform in a set number of productions or to have auditioning privileges for company shows. There will usually be a note next to the casting call if the auditions are for a membership company. Of course, make sure it is a reputable company before joining.

Contact local community theaters.

Find out about community theaters in your area by checking out
AACT – a great resource to build your actor resume.
Most community theaters hold open calls regularly for their upcoming shows.

Act in student films.

Contact film schools in your area and ask if
you can drop off a picture and resume. Most film schools
keep pictures of actors and actor resumes on file for student
directors to look at when casting their short films.

Sign up for a class.

Take an acting class or workshop that offers performance opportunities
and ends with a showcase production for agents and casting directors.

Be an extra.

Although you shouldn’t list extra work on your resume,
you could get upgraded to a small speaking part by working on a
film or commercial set, and you usually don’t need a resume to sign up for extra work.

Become an intern.

Call up theaters, film companies and casting directors’
offices to find out if they are in need of an intern.
This is not only a great way to make contacts, you may very
well have the opportunity to audition for small parts once you’ve “paid your dues”.

get acting resumeOK… Now that you’ve built your resume, it’s time to write it.
Click here
to learn how to put together a professional-looking actor resume that will get you that audition.

Still feel stuck?

Don’t sit at home waiting for the phone to ring. Check the box “get acting resume” and move on to get more acting experience.
Create opportunities for yourself to build your actor resume.Whether it’s producing a one-act play with other actors or acting in your own short film, you can give yourself that first role to become an actor!

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Actor Headshots that get you Auditions

Your actor headshots are the first thing a casting director sees. They are your best chance of making a great first impression if you want to become an actor.

If you fit the role, you may get a call from your headshot alone, even if you have very few credits on your resume, so getting your acting headshot just right is important. Here you’ll find step by step information on how to choose a headshot photographer, how to prepare for an actor headshot shoot and how to pick the best look for your acting pictures.

1) Decide what kind of pictures you need

Usually, you’ll need at least a legit actor headshot (also known as a theatrical headshot) and a commercial headshot.
A legit headshot is used when you audition for theatre, film and television dramas. A commercial shot shows you smiling (usually a broad smile) and is used for commercials, sitcoms and some comedic roles.

Most photographers include in their price a set number of looks or wardrobe changes. Think about your type and what looks fit
your physique and personality best. Could you play a typical businessman with a suit on? Are you a girl-next-door type? Decide on a few looks you want for your acting photos. You can upload a picture on Type Cast Me to get help with your type.

Here’s a quick video with some important acting headshot tips to keep in mind…

2) Get the perfect acting headshot photographer

Choosing the right headshot photographer can make all the difference when it comes to getting not only professional headshots, but headshots that really capture who you are while grabbing the casting director’s
attention.

You can view these acting tips on how to find acting headshot photographers and interview them.

3) Prepare for the shoot

A little preparation will go a long way to making your actor headshots shoot a success:

Prepare your wardrobe.

Pick brighter and more cheerful tones for your commercial shot and darker colors for your legit actor headshots. Stay away from stripes and busy patterns. Bring lots of clothes to choose from with different textures and necklines, including a couple of black tops.

Think about hair and make-up.
It’s very important that you look exactly like your actor headshots when you go in to read for a part. Since you won’t have a professional doing your hair and make-up each time you audition,  make sure your hair and make-up artist understands how you usually do your hair and make-up. You may want to do your own hair and make-up and just  have someone spot-check you during the session. If you’re a man, you don’t need a make-up artist, but think about whether you want a shaven or unshaven look, or both (you can shave halfway through the photo shoot).

Prepare as an actor.
Think in advance about what will help you elicit certain emotions and not be frozen in front of the camera.
You can use acting techniques like sense memory or if you respond to music, prepare a line-up of songs for your photo shoot.

OK, you’re ready. The big day is tomorrow! Make sure you get lots of rest…

4) Get photographed

It’s the day you’ve been waiting for, you’re getting your actor headshots taken! This should be fun. Enjoy the experience, be in the moment. If you’re relaxed, it will show on your actors headshots.

5) Choose the perfect actor headshot

Soon after your photo shoot, you will get proofs.
Your proofs will be on a CD or sheets of photography paper and will
show a small version of all the pictures taken during your session.
Some headshot photographers will also post your proofs online.

 

Now you need to choose which masters
to print from the hundred or more actors headshots you have.
A master is an 8×10 actor picture you will use to make reproductions.
You should plan to print about 4-5 masters before choosing your 2 best shots.

 

Take your time before deciding which pictures to print.
Ask your photographer, agent and/or manager and fellow actors what they think.
If there’s a shot everybody loves that has a small imperfection, you can do some
retouching. This may be done by your photographer or the photo lab where
you get your photos reproduced.

Got your 2 best shots? You’re almost there.
All you need now is to get them reproduced. Get a master headshot with a white
border and your name printed at the bottom. Start with 100 copies of each headshot photo.
Ask your photographer to recommend a good headshot reproduction photo lab. Below is a partial list:

HeadshotRepros

Order quality headshots, postcards and actor business cards online.

Precision Photos (New York)

Fast, Friendly Affordable Reproductions.

The Pixel Pusher (Atlanta)

Mix and match printing for actors on a budget who want to try out different headshots,
as well as complimentary postcards or business cards on orders over 50 headshots.

Don’t settle
for lower quality reproductions. It will automatically put your headshot at the bottom of
the pile on a casting director’s desk. Your reproductions need to be on good quality photo paper.

Make sure you get actor postcards at the same time you get
your actor headshots reproduced. Actor postcards are great to keep in touch with agents and casting directors. Click here to find out how to further your acting career by using postcards and business cards.

Congratulations!

You’ve worked hard to find the right headshot photographer and get some great actors headshots that look like you
and grab the eye. If you’re happy with your actor headshot, now it’s time to send them off and let them work for you.

Ready for the next step?
Great! Get acting auditions or find out more about
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Categories
How to Become an Actor

Acting Managers: what acting managers do and how to pick a good one

What do acting managers do? How are they different from agents?

Do you need a personal manager if you have an agent? Where do you find a list of managers to contact?
Here you’ll find answers to these questions as well as tips on how to pick good talent management companies.

What’s a talent manager?

A good personal manager manages your entire acting career:

    • They should give you advice and counseling on acting pictures and resumes, what roles to go for, what areas of training to focus on, how to market yourself and how to take your career to the next level. Some acting managers will even coach you for an important audition or help you select the right wardrobe for your headshots.
    • They should help you build a team (i.e. get an agent, publicist and down the road possibly a business manager and attorney) and as you grow as an actor, coordinate everyone in the team to further your career.
    • They should network for you and generally facilitate you getting the next acting job.

What’s the difference between managers and agents?

Unlike agents, acting management companies are not supposed
to procure work or negotiate for actors, although many talent
managers will send actors who don’t have an agent on auditions.

Talent managers take a 15% commission on all your performer earnings,
while an agent will take 10% in the area they represent you in
(so if you only have a commercial agent and book a theater role,
you would not pay a commission to your agent, but you would pay 15%
to your manager whether you book a commercial, a film or a play).

Acting agencies are usually regulated by the state. Many states require an acting agent to have a license and post a bond. Some states also require that the agent pay the actor within a certain amount of days and limits the commission an agent can take. ATA and NATR member talent agencies also have agreements with actors’ unions. Unlike agents, acting management companies in most states do not need to have a special license. There are many more talent management companies then talent agencies and an actor should do research to make sure a personal manager is legit before signing a contract.

…so do you NEED a manager?

The answer to that question really depends on your
situation and the kind of managing you will get.

If you are further along in your career,
a manager will organize your busy schedule and help you achieve
your long-term goals. If you are just starting out and unable to get
an agent, an acting manager can give you access to more auditions and help you get an agent.

Acting is a very competitive career and the more people you have on your side the better.
If you find a good personal manager who is well-respected in the industry
and will work hard for you, don’t hesitate because of the 15% commission.
85% of something is better then 100% of nothing. That being said,
if you already have an agent and you find a manager who doesn’t do much
more then submit actors on auditions, think hard before signing a contract.
Having 2 representatives has disadvantages: information can get lost and double
submissions often exasperate casting directors.

Bottom line? You may not need an acting manager, but you’ll want to sign with a good one.

Where do you find a manager?

The best places to start your search are talent manager organisations.
For example, you can visit www.talentmanagers.org and get a list of all their members
with information on each management company. Make a note of the ones you are right for and who
the contact person is. Avoid buying labels for acting managers.
They can be outdated and not represent your type. Do your research, write your own targeted list and make your own labels.
You’ll end up saving time and money when you mail your headshot and resume.

How to pick a good manager

Here are a few tips to help you pick a good personal manager:

    • Make sure the manager is legit. Don’t sign with anyone who charges a fee for representation or requires that you take a specific class or get your headshots taken by a photographer of their choice. You can also call actors’ unions and the Better Business Bureau to see if anyone has filed a complaint about a particular personal manager. Check if the manager belongs to an organization that has its own rules and code of ethics, like the National Conference of Personal Managers.
    • A manager needs to be well connected and respected in the industry. Ask acting teachers, fellow actors and casting directors who has heard the name of the talent management company in question. Of course, if you are starting an acting career, you may have no choice but to pick a manager who is also starting out. If that’s the case, ask the manager for references and call up a few actors he or she already represents.
    • Your acting manager needs to be able to work well with your agent, so discuss your plans of signing with a particular manager with your agent beforehand.
    • Find out how big the management company’s client list is. This is important since acting managers need to be able to give you a lot of personalized attention.
    • Note that a manager who represents other artists, like writers, directors and producers, is particularly valuable, since it will allow you to build relationships and audition for whichever of their clients’ projects you are right for.

Hope all this information helps you pick the perfect manager for you.

If you want to know how to get an acting manager, click here and follow the same steps you would to get an agent.

May your phone ring off the hook with calls for auditions from talent management companies!

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Categories
Los Angeles Acting Schools

Another Acting School in Hollywood:Act Hollywood Theatre of Arts

by Allan Jacob
(Los Angeles, California, USA)

Acting School LA offers acting programs and acting lessons. Los Angeles School of acting provides complete acting programs, including cinema studies and acting courses.

Additional information from Acting School Stop:

This acting school in Hollywood offers a 3-year certificate program. Classes include acting, improvisation, speech, voice, accent reduction, singing, movement, stage combat, dance (jazz and hip hop), scene study, script analysis, Shakespeare and acting for the camera. Students also learn film and theater history, commercial acting techniques, sketch comedy, yoga, music theory, scriptwriting and make up. If you’re looking for short-term classes, the school also offers 6-12 week workshops.

Performance opportunities. Third year students can appear in a range of full-length productions (including Shakespeare and musical performances), as well as one acts. You may need to audition first.

Career preparation. Second year students take a filmmakers’ workshop where they learn to write and shoot their own short film. The school also offers a demo reel class. Third year students take classes to learn the business of acting and auditioning. Selected third year students participate in industry showcases.

What you’ll need to apply: For the 3 year program, this acting school requires an application form and fee, transcripts, 2 letters of recommendation, a personal essay and an audition.

Contact Info:
6834 Hollywood Blvd, Suite 500
Hollywood, CA 90028
Ph: 323-463-2500
www.toahollywood.com

Categories
Acting Tips

Acting Tip for Special Skills on Resume

QUESTION:

I was looking through your section about filling a resume and it was very helpful except for one thing. What if I don’t have any special skills?

ANSWER:

If you really believe you have no special skills, you don’t have to have a special skills section on your acting resume. As long as you have your acting experience and training listed, your resume will look professional.

Special skills are an opportunity to add a little personality to your resume, though, and almost everyone has some special skill, whether it’s a sport you play well or an accent you do well.
If you haven’t already done so, click here and scroll down the page to see a list of ideas of what can be considered special skills on an acting resume.

If you truly have a special skill like motorcycle stunt driver, or licensed airplane pilot, then this area may apply. I’m not sure how helpful the special skills section is to your resume. If you’re writing skills like basketball or swimming it may be best just to leave off this section altogether. In the end, will this section help you get work as an actor? Sometimes the credits on your resume and your picture are more than enough to get you called in. Good luck!

Categories
California Acting Schools

A Bi-Coastal Acting School in Hollywood

The American Academy of Dramatic Arts (AADA)

This acting school in Hollywood offers a two-year full-time conservatory program or a 2-year part-time program. Beyond the usual acting training, actors study theater history, stage combat and make-up. The long list of alumni include Robert Redford, Grace Kelly and Danny DeVito.

Performance opportunities: This acting school in Hollywood houses a black box theater (as well as a television studio) and students have several opportunities to perform onstage. A select group of students may continue their studies for an additional year by becoming members of the Academy Company. This allows them to perform in a series of theatre productions in front of agents and casting directors.

Career preparation: Graduating students appear in a final showcase performance in front of industry professionals (admission into the second year is by invitation only). Acting students attend career preparation classes, workshops and seminars with industry guest speakers. A few internships in entertainment are also available.

Degree: Students who graduate after 2 years receive a Certificate of Completion or an Associate of Arts Degree in Acting (A.A.) if they complete 3 units of English composition, General Psychology and Natural Science from an accredited college. Students who are invited into the third year Academy Company obtain a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Acting.

Tuition Fee: Around $20,000 per year.

Financial Aid: Scholarships are available through the school?s Financial Aid Office and work-study programs are available, as well as assistance in applying for outside scholarships and loans.

What you?ll need to apply: Transcripts, 2 letters of recommendation, an interview and an audition (auditions are held in major cities all over the US as well as in Europe, Canada and Australia). International students are welcome but must demonstrate English fluency.

Audition policy: Students are not permitted to audition professionally during their acting studies in LA.

Contact info:
1336 N. la Brea Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Ph: 800-222-2867
www.aada.org