How to become an Actor?To become an actor is one of the hardest career choices you can ever make. Even if you are far more talented than others, it's still very hard to get to the top where you appear on screen and make a decent paycheck. However, it's not impossible to become an actor and that's why you're reading these tips.
There's no perfect path to get into acting. The final result is important, but here are some basic "laws" about the field. Dreaming of walking on that red carpet is not enough, start by taking acting classes to know how to improve your acting talent. Sometimes it's easier on the weekends and usually not that expensive either. Depends on who your acting teacher is though. Taking classes will help you get the acting experience you need by switching characters while working with them.
Stay focusedAlways keep an eye at church plays or school productions, anywhere you can practice without too much pressure is good for you! Also, you'll receive compliments if you're good , and your ego will start to be annoying for your family , but that's another subject! lol. Another step you'll probably go through is becoming an extra. Not really a big pay day but not alot of acting work either. That will however give you the opportunity to be on a real acting set with professional actors around you. Then you can analyze and memorize some great acting tips. Also, what's good is the contacts you make on set. You never know, you might directly talk to a producer looking exactly for a small role requiring your look.
Looking for acting opportunitiesMost of the famous actors you watch on screen started their career at theatres working for a small pay and were seen by head hunters watching the play. So the theatre is something you want to look at for your career. Look in the newspapers or on NewYorkActing.com 's job section if you can find any role you could audition for, remember that even small productions will appear on your acting resume so do not snob them. The Indie movies and student films are good too. Sometimes, it's impressive how far theses movies can go and you could get some great exposure by helping a small production. Don't expect them to pay you thousands of dollars but they'll support your acting career and help you to climb higher. High enough to get an acting agent. That's your goal.
You get as much acting experience as you can and then you finally get an acting agent's attention. Be careful, don't spend money, a real acting agent will want to invest in you, not have you pay up front! Be wise! When you have a real agent, tell them exactly what you expect from him/her and be clear in what you mean.
Agents love actors with concrete and realistic goals, as long as they see you keep working on your talent, they'll give you more attention and help than they give to the lazy ones. Set aside your pride, youu're not an actor living in the clouds, you're a working professional actor respecting descent acting opportunities. Success is on the way!
A few tipsFor example, you should always continue your acting performance until the director shouts «cut». The director decides everything, if you miss a line, you must continue until he decides to stop you. You should not stop a take by yourself, except for a major reason. You should never fix your eyes on the camera unless it's necessary for the play.
One crucial thing to remember is the mark! It's like half the job is done already. Make sure to stand at the right place and be ready. Focus on helping other actors as well as the crew with whom you’re working. A famous celebrity will have much more liberty off and on set than you but as we often hear, you are somebody only between «action!» and «cut!». Even when you’re not available , always reply «maybe» when asked for a acting. Don't say «no».
Camera lens 101First of all, you'll learn with time how to work with the lens but usually you just forget its existence . Images are composed in depth but not in width. On a 3 shot, the lens should be in the center of the gap, not you. Let's say you find it hard to hit the mark, simply imagine a «web» from lining up 2 spots at the end position you need to hit. Ladies? Worry about your look? Straight-on shoulders look bad compared to ones angled toward the lens. :)
Vocal tips for actorsRemember the importance of the pronunciation. You don't need to increase the volume but create the intensity through the enunciation and pace. When the camera tracks you, move slowly but talk fast. When someone asks you to tone it all down, try to reduce only the volume but don't change your gestures.
Don’t speak louder when you speak with an accent, sometimes we tend to but it's wrong. Just know that when people can hear you without using a mic, you're probably too loud.(Studio audience) If you play with a movie star never project louder either on series or regulars. Also, keep in mind that when speaking at low levels, everything else seems louder. Be careful about noises and sounds around you e.g. footsteps, dishes, newspapers and even breathing.
Acting for the cameraThe best and main acting asset you have is yourself. After all, you got that role so use your look and personality a lot. Learn your lines by heart. Usually you should have the necessary rehearsal time to create the character they need. If not, ask them to change your lines. You need to find a way to communicate negative thoughts in a positive way. Have something to do after the shots. Keep yourself ready and alert :) It may sound cliche but really remember to act like when you're alone in a single shot. Use your inner voice to guide yourself continually with instructions.
The editorTry to make the editor's job easier by keeping your acting work linear so that when he'll need to, he'll know where to cut for your best acting performance. Most editors like to cut on movements so remember that before an important acting take. Keep in mind the company you’re acting for and adjust your thoughts to it. While speaking, look at the other actors because the editor will look at you blink to cut.
Acting reactionsWhen you’re the listening character, react while the speaking character acts. The reactions must be there before you speak. There's a better result when you inhale before your line. Keep in mind that the camera will not follow the fast movements so you must be careful about that. On a multicam studio, the red light means the cam is on so you have to keep your reaction on stand-by until the camera sampled it.
On a final note, remember that you need both talent and mastered acting techniques to become a believable actor. Have an organized schedule and be sure of what you want for a career. At the same time, keep things simple. Take it one day at a time, be present at each acting opportunity and remember that your career is a process.
How to get an AgentMany acting agencies like the Creative Artists Agency, CAA, the William Morris Agency, WMA etc are mostly solicited because of their high status. In reality, you need to find someone interested in boosting your acting career. Start by looking for a small talent agency that will specialize in your area. Sometimes, in order to find acting jobs, many actors will have several agents for different fields. One for theatre, one for commercials and a voice-over agent etc...
The role of a New York City casting agentYou may still wonder what agents do exactly? The acting agent works for the production company and for the “NY” casting director. The agent will not work for the performers themselves. The agent's job is to provide the New York City casting director with NY actors and NY talents when the demand is high. In other words, the New York City casting directors and production companies survive in the acting business because of the agents.
You are a product. The agents look out for the most talented “products” for the boss. Simple business right? This is where the agent needs to get and negociate for the best price to get you because that determines the commission s/he'll receive. One thing with acting agents is how they’ll care about details you'd not even think of such as fees on screen credit, the bills and publicity costs.
The acting businessWhen you have an agent your chances are higher to get acting jobs because the NY casting directors feel more confident. It's just more professional in terms of representation. It will enhance your credibility. In Hollywood and NYC, the acting business is like Wall Street. The more popular you become, the more important your name is for the major New York City casting agencies. And money is there.
Agents are really playing a big part in the career of a NY actor. Interestingly, it takes the acting business people's efficiency mixed with the artistic brains of the actor to generate cash and success. Ego-boosted(?, not sure what you mean) actors don't have the negotiation skills of a pro talent agent and that's why a good agent knows the market and how to get the best quality out of a studio for its client.
NY casting callsA powerful agent will be most likely to get deals with studios. If they’re a good rep, they will not only talk about deals but get you to audition and meet the producers as well. Though they can't do miracles, they submit the actor to the NY casting contact and wait for them to call back for an acting job. But what about the money? The typical ten percent rule still applies. If they only get that amount of your paycheck, you must work for the other 90%. New York City and LA are filled with acting agents, but you need to choose only one.
They are exclusive so you can't have more than one per acting field. Keep in mind that agents are businessmen first. You may be surrounded by millions of creative ideas and see no reactions when explaining them to your representative. They don't think like you in terms of an acting career. The guy needs money to live and you're his short-term product to sell. You must always keep a long-term attitude for your acting career and simply go through the normal phases any actor has to go through.
How to find a good agentYou might see some competition between agents to get you to sign a deal, especially if you're a talented, good-looking, fresh and young actor. Be wise and take your time before you sign something. Great and viable agents are often found by word of mouth. Ask the established performers around you who's a good agent and keep a list.
Tasks to prepare yourselfYou must prepare yourself even before getting an agent. Here are some tasks you need to do on a daily basis for acting jobs:
- Become involved in NY acting communities as well as virtual ones on the internet.
- Make phone calls.
- Keep developing your acting skills and techniques.
- Make good referrals with friends in the acting biz.
- Get appointments.
- Educate yourself with good information about how to improve yourself as an actor.
- Print this article or bookmark it.
What I mean is that you need daily efforts invested in your acting career instead of making a hundred phone calls after watching “The actors studio”.
Acting jobs and the right attitudeWhen you go audition for your acting job, you're supposed to know how to prepare and what you should bring. Only sometimes, if you're not sure, ask them. What really defines actors is how well and quick they can usually impersonate the role. What about some acting audition tips now? I know I can't promise you a role on Broadway, but there's a lot of achievable work you can do to be seen there. Same for Hollywood, same for voice-over. Auditions are the stressful part of the “find myself an acting job” process. It's the most important step since you really need to be at your best! Your acting skills must be more than ready to interact with all the knowledge you've patiently taken months to get inside your brain. That all mixed together with the right attitude will bring you higher, to the next level.
Some say we artists are runnning after the wind and wasting our energy etc... Please be careful about that sort of attitude. It's really dangerous for you. Stay away from such “advice”. What it does is make you doubt about your potential and we all know you're not going to build an acting career on a foundation of doubt. Sometimes it's sadly surprising how the negative words come from people that are close to us - family, friends, co-workers etc. Don't become paranoid and anti-social to escape the negative, but always be careful. Be sure that even with the greatest acting talent, the attitude you have on a daily basis is what determines the rest of the day. Simply do your best in what you're the best at and you'll get that role!
When you think about it, the word “audition” means nothing. You must realize that hundreds of NYC acting auditions take place each month. Don't give the word audition too much importance in your mind. It's a simple process: you go somewhere, you act a little, and who knows, NY casting directors might call you back for more. That's it. The world will still exist whatever scenario happens. No matter your acting career path, remember that you made the CHOICE to become an actor and if you currently live where you can achieve your acting goals, don't hesitate. Just go for it! Work on your dreams. You may be working in a factory to pay your bills but inside, you're a future successful actor! It's true, let me go deeper on that thought. If you hold on to your acting talent, it's inside of you and no one can remove it. The only one that can is you!
Sacrifice for auditionsWhen someone is studying to be a doctor, no one questions how it will take eight years for them to make a living. You see them sitting in Starbucks day after day with a pile of books in front of them and you get it – that’s just the sacrifice it takes. It’s the same thing for an acting career. If you invest as much effort as s/he does (and it's every day, trust me) and if you have the talent, in 10 years from now, you'll probably be right where you want to be.
Robert De Niro gained 50 pounds to play boxer Jake LaMotta in Scorsese's Raging Bull. For one single movie, it's a lot of work. You see, in acting, the word “work” will never disappear. So, back to auditions, they are opportunities to grow and gain experience. An audition is like taking acting class for free. I know artists love the word “free”. Sometimes, if you get an acting job for a commercial, the NY casting team might call you back for more. You'll be noticed more and more and the pay is very good! Work on your acting skills. Audition. Then get paid.
Acting auditionsNY auditions are obviously the way for NY actors to be chosen for acting jobs in movies, TV shows as well as commercials. It's just the place and time for an actor to prove to the NY casting director that he is THE perfect performer for that NY casting call. Like any kind of job, there are a lot of resumes for a few acting jobs.
You win or you lose. However if you lose the role, you gain acting audition experience and that is a plus for your career! Auditions can be taped or not, depends of the director's choice. They are recorded for later review. You might be asked a few things during your audition like to read something and play it right away (we call it "cold reading"). They may also ask give you a script and let you prepare yourself for it.
Biggest audition mistake?What do you think is the biggest mistake actors make during auditions? It might surprise you, but it's relaxation. According to New York City casting directors, they see "a lot of awesome actors walk into the room, they get so nervous that they don't get the part. We will probably never know who, but we know we miss them". So it's important to be calm. The best way to do so is to watch auditions. You'll see amazing performers missing the role just because they are 2 years too old, not tall enough, you name it.
The best attitude to adopt while you audition is this: "This is how I would act if I was chosen. I do my best, love me or not. If not, see you at the next New York City casting call." The thing is that you need to start somewhere. De Niro was not born auditioning. It's true! Every NY actor you see on TV/cinema had to go through a first audition. All of them, no exception, have not been cast for a lot of roles even though they had the acting talent. They were stressed out, nervous, not sure of themselves, sometimes performing amazingly and sometimes very badly. Maybe you are the next Robert De Niro and you don't know it! Who knows. No one will ever know if you don't start auditioning. Don't let your future fans down. Work on your acting talent. You're responsible for it.
Get the agent's attentionThe more active you are, the more your agent will want to work for you and the sooner you'll appear on screen. Agents spot working and active talents. If any agent wants you to pay for signing with them, be wary. They may not be a real agent. The real ones will only get the commissions from your work. Not less, not more.
To get your agent's attention and acting jobs, you need to do student films, take acting classes, prepare yourself for auditions, know what's going on in the acting biz actualities and read the trade papers. If you do all of this, you'll impress your agent. Don't waste too much time and cash sending birthday cards and gifts to your agent. Keep him informed about where and when you act, that will get his attention for sure.