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Acting Questions

Should I lie about my age?

by Ryan

(Henderson Nevada)

QUESTION:

Hi, im 23 and am planning on moving to L.A to act once i’ve saved up enough money but am worried that my age is going to hold me back if i give it. I look young and if shaven i can pass for a 16-17 year old. Should i lie about my age at auditions? And why is age such a factor in Hollywood? Thanks.

ANSWER:

Many actors in teen shows are in their mid-20s. If you really look 16-17, no one will care if you’re 23. After all, many people look 5-6 years younger than they are. That’s not a big stretch. Actually, being an adult is a plus, because you don’t need a work permit, etc. Your age shouldn’t appear on your resume, so you don’t have to worry about that. All you have to worry about is to get good headshots that look like you. Get that shaven look, but don’t retouch the picture to look younger than you look when you walk in the room. You can mention to the headshot photographer that you’re going after teen roles for one of your looks and pick a younger wardrobe for that shaven look. You may also want to get an unshaven, slighly older look picture so you can submit to young adult roles too. Many actors get a first look in during their headshot session and shave half-way through for a second or third look.

Being young helps in Hollywood if you’re starting out because there is so much competition that it is that much harder for an actor in their mid or late 20s to get an audition or an agent when they don’t have experience and are going against actors with long lists of credits already. That being said, there are roles for all ages for good actors here, so yes, it’s always helpful to start early, but it’s not everything either.

Hope this helps.

Good luck with the move.

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Acting Questions

Am I Gonna Make It ?

by João Vitor

(Brazil)

QUESTION:

I´m 16 and my dream is to become an American movie actor.But is that possible ? I mean is it true that directors are probably gonna give a different look at my resume as soon as he sees my nationality ?
This is really important for me,I feel there´s nothing else i really wanna do and maybe one day if everything goes as it´s planned I´ll be acting in L.A. 🙂

ANSWER:

You don’t write your nationality on your resume. What directors are interested in is your type. The best way to communicate your type is through your headshot. If you have a type that you see in a lot in movies, then chances are that with proper training and preparation, you’ll get a fair amount of auditions when you’re ready to work professionally. If you don’t see your type very often, there may be fewer opportunities to audition for a role, although when the right role comes along, you will be more right for it than 99% of other actors.

Two things can help: on the one hand, define your type and market yourself with that in mind, getting the right acting pictures, monologues, etc. On the other hand, work on expanding your range so you can audition for more roles by getting different credits on your resume and taking an accent elimination class. You should be able to do a Standard American accent and switch back to a Brazilian accent when you need it.

Good luck!

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Acting Questions

Confidence problems

by Emily

(England )

QUESTION:

I really would like to be an actress but I have problems speaking or doing anything except sports in front of people this is why I never audition for school plays or musicals is there any good tips or ways to gain confidence?

ANSWER:

The best thing is just to do it. You’d be surprised how quickly you get comfortable auditioning when you audition every day and how quickly nervous energy can get channeled on stage when you perform regularly. So the most important thing is just to push yourself to go out there and audition as much as you can. If that feels too scary, then take an acting class and get up every week to perform in front of other actors.

It’s very painful, of course, at the beginning, to put yourself through stage fright, so you will find some more tips on how to deal with public fear here. Deep breathing is something you can do right away that should help you relax. You can also try relaxation exercises like closing your eyes and focusing on each muscle in your body one at a time and releasing it. Explore the different acting techniques on the website, many offer relaxation exercises and concentration exercises (like sense memory) that help you focus on the character in the moment instead of your stage fright.

Finally, since you don’t get nervous doing sports in front of other people, try to notice what it is about sports that makes you comfortable. Maybe you can apply some of your focus in sports to your acting. Or maybe you can do some exercising before you act to get rid of some of that nervous energy…

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Acting Questions

Does height matter for acting?

QUESTION:

I’m 17 years old girl, and I’m 5 feet tall, I have no acting experience but I really want to start acting and I believe that I can do it but I just wanted to know if my height will be a problem?
Also I have an accent because I’m not American, would that be a problem?

ANSWER:

Some people may say that it makes it difficult to get work in film if you’re only 5 feet, because of framing, but through the years, there’s been many successful actors who are very short or very tall. Directors work around the problem, so I wouldn’t let the height stop you. If you’re interested in theater, there may even be opportunities to play younger characters because of your height.

The accent makes it difficult to book a range of roles, though. Depending on your accent, there may be many roles for you, or very few, but either way, if you’re serious about an acting career, consider an accent elimination class to learn standard American speech, so you can have a bigger range.

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Acting Questions

Dreams of being an Actress at 30?

by Leigh

(NJ )

QUESTION:

I am 30 years old now, and have always dreamed of being an actress. What steps would I need to take to make that happen? Am I too old now ?

ANSWER:

You’re never too old to follow your dreams, I think. It’s true that it’s harder for women to find acting jobs and that starting late is one more challenge, namely because you’ll be going against actresses with longer resumes and more experience, but becoming an actor is challenging at any age, and if you already had another career, you may find it easier to deal with the ups and downs of this one.

What to do next depends on lot on where you’re at now and where you want to go. If you already have another stable career that offers the flexibility of going out on auditions of if money is not an issue for other reasons, you can fully concentrate on your career. You could go to a full-time acting school to get the basic training you need. I would choose a school with a semi-professional theater and plenty of performance opportunities if you’re interested in doing theater.

Which takes me to the next thing you want to consider… What kind of acting career do you want to have? Are you dreaming of being on the stage or mainly interested in becoming a working actor in film and television? Theatre requires more training. If you want to be a screen actress exclusively, at 30 years old, you may be better off taking a few specific acting classes, like a scene study class, a film acting class and most importantly, an audition class that includes cold readings. So many good actors are not good at auditioning. Make this your specialty, become an expert auditioner.

When you start acting later, it can be a good area to focus all your energy on one area. For example, you could go after independent films exclusively, or television shows, or commercials. If you choose independent films, you can focus your energy on attending film festivals, connecting with new directors and auditioning for short films. If you choose television, you can focus on the shows you’re right for to pick workshops with the right casting director offices, etc. Once you start getting jobs in one field, it’s much easier to expand from there.

A lot of actresses your age who have been at it for years haven’t gotten very far. This is the reality of this very competitive field. You had a different career, which can be a plus. Check out this video by one of our affiliate partners, David Green. He had another career before he started acting and has booked roles on many TV series as an actor since then. From his experience, he came up with a series of “smartcuts” that help actors like you get results and not waste time. His techniques are particularly useful if you are mostly interested in making it in Hollywood (film and TV acting).

Good luck!

You may also want to check out this link on the site

And of course, if you haven’t already, visit our become an actor page where you’ll find a step by step guide to becoming an actress.

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Acting Questions

Starting Acting at 52

by michael

(raleigh, nc)

in the gym

QUESTION:

Im an older male who is often told that I look from 5 to 10 years younger than I am. That gives me confidence that I have more opportunity to work and some kind of range. I have been recently getting extra work and have even been moved into featured extra roles.

I want to embark on this journey the right way and in the right order, so from the advice above should I go to school first, and if so, what would be the type of a beginner class/workshop that I should take to get started?

Thanks for all advice,

Michael

ANSWER:

Since you probably want to start auditioning soon, consider taking a scene study class first. Pick a well-respected one, where you work every week. From this class, your acting coach may recommend another class to address anything you need to work on, like a movement or speech class. Once you’ve been working on scenes a few months, I would also look into a good audition class. Auditioning is its own skill and actors who are good at it get the most jobs.
Have fun!

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Acting Questions

Acting with scars?

by Natasha Locke

(England)

QUESTION:

I’m a 20 year old female, looking to start acting. I have a sort of plan laid out, and am currently saving up to audition for several drama schools for 2013. If that doesn’t work out, I’m working on amateur dramatics and such, to get back into the swing of performing, and I’m sure I’ll find a way to get there.

There’s just one thing that continues to bother me. In the time between leaving school at 16, and now, I suffered from rather severe depression and… well I have quite a lot of scars on my lower arms as a result, along with a couple of partially-healed facial piercings (I know. It was a bad move and I removed them almost immediately. Not that it helped) which, again, while concealed fairly simply with makeup could possibly be difficult to hide entirely.

The majority of the scars have healed fairly well, all things considered, and can probably be covered with a fine layer of body foundation, but one or two protrude slightly, and I’m basically fretting over whether this could potentially stop me from getting parts, in the long run?

Largely, I’d prefer to do theatre work, which might help the situation, but I’m still not sure if all of this will be to the detriment of any career I could hope to build.

Any input or advice is much welcomed.

Thank you for your time.

ANSWER:

Scars are definitely not a problem for theater, especially since it sounds like most are minor. For film, the camera acts like a magnifying glass, so it depends on your type and on the roles you will be auditioning for. It’s hard to say without seeing a headshot. If you’re not the perfect leading lady type, it’s unlikely the small scars on your face would stand in the way of your career. As long as your acting is good, it can actually give you character. Quite a few famous actors have facial scars. You can also do a lot with makeup.

For the scars on your lower arms, you may not want people you audition for to guess where they come from. When they audition actors they don’t know, casting directors are not just looking for talent and training, they also are looking for individuals who will be professional and easy to work with. You don’t want them to think you may still suffer from depression and you don’t want the scars to distract them from seeing your great performance. There’s nothing wrong with wearing long sleeves or bracelets so you know for sure you are being judged on your audition only.

That’s just my opinion. Other actors may encourage you to just be the way you are. In the end, the most important thing is to feel confident and good about yourself when you walk in the audition room. If it helps to hide your scars at first, go for it. I have a rather large scar on my elbow I used to hide at first and then I stopped bothering. I figured if people like my work, no one will not hire me just because of that. I’m sure it would be the same in your case, so I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Good luck!

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Acting Questions

After You Get an Acting Job on Set

by Niki

QUESTION:

I’m a little nervous about after you book the job,let’s say the first day of your movie role, when you go to the studio. Then what? Who’s gonna guide you and help you know what to do? Plz explain!

ANSWER:

That’s a good question. Typically, once you book a film or television role, you will get a call for a fitting. Depending on the show, this could be the day before or much longer before your shoot date. When you call back for the fitting, be ready to give your measurements (everything from height, clothing size, hat size, etc.) You may be asked to bring specific clothes, usually a selection, and the wardrobe person will also have a selection for you to try on.

After the fitting, you will get your call time by phone, text or e-mail. You should also get a “call sheet” which has all the contact information and call times of people working on that film or TV show on that day, along with the address and a map of “HOLDING” (where the actors and crew members wait to go on set, eat, etc.) and “LOCATION” (where the shoot actually takes place). Usually, you will go to Holding at your call time and from there walk or take a shuttle to the location.

On the day(s) of your shoot, you the actor go to holding at your call time. There, an AD (assistant director) or PA (production assistant) will take you where you need to go next, most likely makeup/hair and wardrobe. Depending on how big your role is and when your scenes are scheduled to shoot, there may be a lot of waiting involved. You may end up breaking for meals before working at all.

Once you are called on set, you take your mark and do a few rehearsals while the lights and levels get adjusted. If you have a big role, this may get done before you come on set by using another actor called a “stand-in”. You may hear “last looks”, which means the hair and makeup artist will come and powder your nose one last time and check for flyaway hairs, etc. After that, once the director is ready to shoot, you’ll hear “rolling” and “background” (for actors in the background), then “action” (your time to start).

And that’s it! After the first take and you’ve heard “cut”, you’ll most likely hear “reset”, which means there will be a second take. You may get a lot of directions that don’t seem to have much to do with acting, like to look a certain way, or hold an object at a certain angle, or time a response after an action, etc. That’s just how it is with film.

Once you hear “moving on”, you know the director got what they wanted and you can move on to your next scene (or at least the next set up). When it’s all done, it’s a “wrap”. That’s pretty much it!

Knowing in advance how things work definitely helps stay focused on the acting once you do get a part. If you’ve never been on set, it’s not a bad idea to do a few days of extra work just to get used to the process, so you can be more comfortable the day you get a speaking part.

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Acting Questions

Is 45 too late to get started?

by MariaSofia Tonino

(Long Beach, NY USA)

QUESTION:

I have been acting, singing and dancing for most of my life. Sadly my life took some very bad turns and I veered way off track for a very long time. I am now 45 years old and trying very hard to heal from my past and get the life I always wanted and deserved. Over the past 5 or 6 years I have studied acting at HB and TVI and have taken private classes from an amazing teacher. I want to continue to study but I would like to know if I am just too old to “get started” as an actress. I would like to be a working actress. It has been my dream since I was in junior high school, unfortunately my dreams were pretty much thrown away. I now have my dream back and really want to do it. Can you offer any suggestions. Yes, I am 45 years old but look at least 10 years younger and I am very physically fit. I speak English, Spanish and Italian fluently, if that helps at all. I can sing and dance and am very determined. I just don’t know where to start. Can you help me please.

ANSWER:

I personnally think you’re never too old to follow your dream. If your dream is to act, regardless of fame and fortune, you should be able to find auditions for smaller roles and non-union projects that you have a fair shot at. There are not many actresses who start at 45, which means there may be more non-union roles available than you realize. Speaking several languages fluently, especially Spanish, will also come in handy when the right auditions come along. Just continue to study so you can be ready when opportunities come your way and submit to auditions based on your age range, not your actual age. Once you start building your resume, you can go after bigger roles too.

Good luck.

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Acting Questions

Is it even worth my time to dream about?

by Anne

(Southern California)

QUESTION:

I’m almost 19, I’m 5’11, I have a nice figure(I weigh 135 pounds) and I’ve been always told that I’m very beautiful. Not that I’ve ever believed it.

I’ve never given something like acting much thought, because I’m not naïve, I know it’s a tough industry to break into….and I’ve also always been a shy girl who has never been sure of herself.

I’ve always looked at becoming a doctor. That was my dream because I wanted to be like my father. But as I think about it, I’m not so sure as to what I want to do.

I love films. I really really love films, almost as much as I love books. I look at it all like its a work of art, and I’ve always been more of a creative mind than an analytical one.

Something hit me the other day, and I thought… Hey maybe I can become an actress. Why the hell not, right?

So I’ve been looking through imdb.com reading all the bios of all my favorite stars… And my face fell as I noticed that most of those actors already had a front seat ticket into that career….because of being the offspring of former stars/directors/producers, or relatives at the least. Also, there’s the type who had been exercising their talent for years, starting really young, and finally making their big break. I feel hopeless looking at that.

Is it too late for me to even think about trying out this career path? I don’t even know where to start. I have no experience what so ever and I am an introvert on top of all of this!

Yet I feel like anything is possible if you set your mind to it. And I think there’s a possibility that I could be really good. Also, I don’t even know if it’s worth it to mention that I live near LA and my older brother is really good friends with a few famous people (actors, musicians). I feel really silly and childish for just typing that line out, lol. I’m a serious person, but I don’t believe myself to be charismatic or witty. But if given a script, I feel that that wouldn’t matter, and I could make a character really come to life. Although like I’ve said, I haven’t really tried. Is this all just one big pipe dream? Is there even a point in me considering this when it seems like the odds are against me?
If I could get guidance, tips, honest opinion; anything of that sort, it would be greatly appreciated.

The serious Shy girl.

ANSWER:

The best advice I can give is to try. You could probably already have enrolled in a summer acting class during the time you spent wondering if you should get into an acting career. The truth is you won’t know if you have a calling for it if you don’t get exposed to it. Find a good class for the summer and tell yourself your only goal is to see if you have a passion for acting during this time.

If you like acting but don’t have a real passion for it, you’re probably better doing something else. As you mention yourself, competition is fierce and many aspiring actors don’t make it. You say you like books and have a creative mind. Maybe you’re more suited to being a writer? Maybe being a doctor is your path. You know yourself best. Any type of career in the arts involves incertainty and the possibility of not working. Do you love acting so much that you can live with that?

Don’t use the class to decide if you have what it takes to be an actress. Only focus on whether or not you have a passion for it. Everyone will have a different opinion about your talent and looks, so don’t listen. BTW, looks are not very important. There are more roles for character actresses and best friend types than for leading lady types and plenty of very good looking actresses. Also, a lot of people who are shy are drawn to acting, so you won’t be the first actress to have little self-confidence at first. As long as it’s not unusually bad and chronic, experience with performing and auditioning will take care of that. The more you do it, the more confident you get (if you decide to go to acting school, pick one that offers a lot of performance opportunities in front of an invited audience). As for stars you read about on IMDB, it’s true a lot got help from family or starting as kid actors, but there are plenty of exceptions. Brad Pitt, for example, studied journalism and advertising in college in Missouri before becoming an actor. His first credit is at age 24. Plus, you’re already ahead of the game. You live in Los Angeles and you can ask your brother for help.

If you decide to become an actress, don’t waste your networking opportunities, though. Get strong acting training first, as well as a good headshot and a professional resume. Go on open calls and small auditions until you feel ready to deliver. Make sure you are prepared for when you get your break.

Hope this helps. Good luck.