The comprehensive and practical guide to becoming a successful, working actor or actress in todays busy industry.
Written by renowned Acting Coach Justin Nelson (B.F.A)
"For any actor, the first audition for a role can be an amazing experience. It can be quite confronting and it can generate some nervous moments. It is my wish to give out information to all young actors so that once they roll up onto the to set they feel confident, at ease and well prepared. Acting in all of its forms is a wonderful medium. In my 35 years of acting I have never for one day been bored or uninspired with my job. I trust you'll find this eBook about the wonderful world of acting, informative, inspiring and practical."
Justin Nelson (B.F.A)
- A Picture tells a Thousand Stories
A good actor through proper character development, can translate a myriad of emotions, feelings giving the viewer a complete polished performance that pushes all the right buttons.
- Acting is Reacting
Through correct tutoring the student can translate to their audience on a variety of levels. Obviously there is no substitute for experience, however if the student is well armed with the right arsenal before they audition then they will achieve results in a more effortless way.
- Tips and Tricks
Whether you want to become an actress or an actor, everybody needs guidance when embarking on a new career. If the guidance comes from seasoned professionals then half your work is already done.
This "How to Become an Actor" eBook reveals some top classic tips and tricks of the trade giving the reader some valuable insights into the world of acting. Learn from one of the best acting tutors on the planet.
- Who can Become an Actor?
People of any age, sex, race can become actors. There are no limits. You can embark on an acting career at age 50 or 5 if you want to.
You don't have to look pretty, you don't have to look cool but as long as you're willing to learn the proper techniques of acting, you WILL excel in your field.
- Becoming a Working Actor
Through proper training one can become a successful working actor. It is a common goal for most. The "How To Become An Actor" eBook shows valuable insights into how to achieve this, as well as teaching one how to grow personally with their acting career.
The topics covered in this eBook are as follows;
- What character traits does an actor have?
- So how do I become an Actor?
- You must learn how to act
- The director is God
- Agents and Managers the truth
- What does a Manager exactly do?
- The first Audition for a role
- Feeling good about yourself
- Nerves vs Confidence
- Coping with criticism
- Developing your own style
- Learning to breathe
- So how do I get a hold of my nerves and myself?
- Showing up
- My Life in Acting School
- Keep Learning
- Pro Tips and Tricks
- Memorize your lines and much, much more!
Buy "How To Become An Actor" NOW for only $7.99 and receive 2 complimentary ebooks for free.
"A Cinematic History Lesson"
"Getting Your Start In Theatre, Television and Movies
Strictly for a limited time only!
So, you want to be in motion pictures?
Or television? Or theater? Or any visual arts medium?
This is the dream of many. It all looks so glamorous up on stage or screen. The money seems to be ample, the work plentiful as new stations and networks pop up every year.
The truth is that the performing arts is not only hard work, its also hard to find. Theres a lot of competition from people with the same dream you have. Much of it can be knowing the right person, securing the important contact, even being related to someone in the business. But much of the success achieved is by being in the right place at the right time. Some of that you dont have any control over. Other aspects of it you do, and it is here where this booklet concentrates on pointing you in the right direction so that if you have the desire to work hard at the craft, you can work your way up to the level you dream about.
Acting is a tough profession. The finished product may look easy up on the screen, but thats the deceptive brilliance of the actor or actress. It takes an immense amount of work to play a role and have it look so natural you think its easy to bring off. There are hours and hours of rehearsals, take after take of scene shots, a lot of standing around and waiting in short, anything but what most people think. Its also not a question of hopping aboard an airplane and flying out to Hollywood, walking into a studio and checking the auditions list to see what parts you can try out for that day. Acting is an art and theres much to be learned and experience to be had first! Acting isnt the only way to make money in the performing arts. If you manage to become a contestant on a game show, you can earn a few dollars. If you can write, you might be interested in screenwriting. Good scripts are hard to come by. Producers and actors are always on the lookout for wellwritten, interesting scripts with mass appeal. Performing arts is a people business. It also has a great future. In the United States, 98% of households have a television while nearly 100% have a radio. In a typical week, nine out of ten citizens are exposed to radio and television. The television is on for an average of 7 hours per day; the radio 2 hours per day! With this type of demand, there will always be a need for performers and new material which should be a source of inspiration for you.
This booklet will be a primer for some of the opportunities that exist in the performing arts business. Reading this information will give you a head start into making a dent in this career path. If you have the desire, you can make the effort. Wanting to do something badly enough means youre halfway to accomplishing your task. Thats the great thing about America dreams can come true if youre willing to work for them!
The Acting Bug
From the first time you went into a movie theater or watched a television show, you immediately identified with someone in the film or production. Perhaps you thought, Yes! I can do that, too! This idea may have left you soon thereafter or perhaps the concept has grown larger in your mind to even visualizing yourself walking up on stage to collect that acting Oscar!
This active thought process has occurred courtesy of being bitten by the acting bug. It happens to most everyone at some time or the other. You look up at the big screen and think I can do that! Perhaps you can. Theres only one way to know for sure and thats to try it. You may be in the middle of another career, though, and you should think twice about pursuing this dream. Is your present career one that you can come back to in case it takes too long to make it? Will you be able to find other work to sustain you while you are learning the trade and moving up the ladder of potential? Will you remain focused with your eye on the prize? Will you take direction well?
Acting is a job everybody thinks they can do, but many discover that only a few have the patience and the talent to see it through. Do you have this patience? The talent can be developed. But it is the willingness to take whatever parts come up for a while to eventually put yourself in the position of being in the right place at the right time.
If youre prepared to give acting the time and effort required, then youre ready to move on to the next step theater! This is your best chance of building up some acting credits and learning the job. There are plenty of local, regional, community, dinner and summer stock theaters where you can try to land a part or two. Often, if you are good enough, you will start to hear about parts available and shows that are opening and looking for people to try out.
Acting is primarily done by union workers. There are several organizations you can belong to that will place you in the union, abiding by their guidelines. The most prominent of these is Actors Equity, a labor union of actors, singers and dancers of the professional theater. Most just call it Equity. It is affiliated with the Associated Actors and Artists of America which is a segment of the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations.
Equity has two primary objectives:
1. To protect the interests of its members by establishing a specific condition of employment that is outlined in a standard contract for each type of work to be performed; and
2. To promote the theater as a cultural and recreational institution. Equity is based in New York City and has about 40,000 members. This is the theater based organization. Their phone number is (212) 8698530. The Associated Actors and Artists of America phone number is (212) 8690358.
This is not the only trade organization. The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) was formed in 1935 for the film actors. This union can be contacted at (213) 4654600. The other organization of significance is the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), an outgrowth of the American Federation of Radio Artists. Founded in 1952, AFTRA can be reached at (212) 5320800.
Joining these organizations is not totally necessary, although it helps. And you cant join until youve secured your first acting job. Since you will go into your first production without being a member because of having had no experience, the production will request a waiver from Equity to hire you, if you read well and secure a part. Equity will then be in touch to ask if you want to become a member. Its designed to keep the competition limited to union members. Since you can still get a job without union membership, though, if youre good enough, its not a must that you join. However, in the long run, it may be best. Equity members learn about new parts opening up very quickly and the productions know that the person who has Equity membership has experience. The production will also have to work within Equitys contractual guidelines as to salary, length of rehearsal, number of performances per week (usually no
Since most commercial theaters, most regional and dinner theaters and many summer stock theaters are union houses, membership will open up many doors to you vs. nonmembership. Since your goal is to act and accumulate work, performances and credits, joining should be a part of your new career path.
Learning the Craft in Theater
There isnt a better way to learn how to act than to well, act! The ideal starting places are in live theater.
Open up the Friday weekend entertainment section of your newspaper. Look at the number of shows running as live theater in your area. There may be two or three. Or, if you live in a populated area, there might be twelve, fifteen or more productions going on at any one time. Thats quite a lot of theater and potential parts you can play. Do you have a specific talent? Singing? Dancing? Or acting? The more versatile you are, the better your chances of consistent work.
Why theater? Why not just try out for a film role?
For one, film roles arent advertised. There might be a chance to be an extra, a walkon or to play some small role in a film or television production, but there is a better chance of landing a bigger role and thus creating both an improved credit for yourself plus get some more useful work for furthering your career.
Local theater operations are everywhere. Some pay little or nothing and youll work to accumulate the experience. Many of the productions and rehearsals are at night, so you can keep (or find) a day job. You are learning your trade and, early on, money may not be plentiful in it. There are other theater operations which do have a budget for their actors. Initially, youll find those highly competitive (since there is money in it) and not having any experience will not assist you here. Some producers and directors like to know youve paid your dues, so to speak.
The local newspaper will generally list any auditions that are being held in the Entertainment section of your newspaper. Usually its Friday where the listing of auditions is marked. Read each carefully to see what type of actors are being sought. Often there will be a specific indication as to gender and age, and whether singing or dancing is required for the role.
You dont have to wait for the paper! Get a listing of all the theaters and go around to each of them, preferably in the early evening when things are happening. Usually, there is someone responsible there for a production that may be going on. Ask about future tryouts and then stay and watch the show. You can learn a lot about acting from seeing how other actors perform. Watch the nuances and subtleties of their performances. As you understand your craft better, you will be able to appreciate more the quality of individual efforts.
The theater director will be able to tell you the approximate time of tryouts for the next production to be rehearsed. Once you know that, get a copy of the play. Read it cover to cover. Then read it again. Try and determine which part you have an affinity for and read only those sections. Then list your second or third favorite role. While most people will want to read for the lead parts, only a few get them. Its best to understand some of the backup roles, too, so you can move right into those and have a head start understanding the importance of that role in the overall production.
If its your very first play, you might choose to read for one of the lesser parts. Youll have a better chance of getting that role and you can learn about the entire process of acting and theater just by being a part of a production.
This is not the place to be if you have any inhibitions about speaking in public. At any time. At any place. In front of a lot of people. You will have to forget who you are momentarily. Step outside yourself and let the role take over your movements and voice. Become the part! Its easier to forget about all the people who are out there at least initially. Later, youll learn how to play to the crowd especially in a comedy. But for now, think only about the role and that it isnt necessarily you up on the stage emotingits the part youre playing! Tryouts are generally a zoo! There are quite a few people reading for only a few parts. The director may know some of the people and may already have cast them or discarded them in his or her mind. The director will not know you, so this has its pluses. You will not initially be discarded from any role simply because you are an unknown quantity. You may be an excellent actor, so youll have the chance to show yourself. Make it count! First impressions are everything in the acting profession when it comes to casting.
If youre now familiar with the work, you wont be thrown by what the director tells you to do. Everyone may be reading the same part, but when the director reaches you, you receive a different assignment. Part of this is to gauge your response. Are you flexible? Did you expect to read only for the lead? Would you settle for another part if youre good enough? All of these thoughts are going through the directors head. Theyve all occurred to you already because you came prepared. You are not thrown by this change of tactics. You simply turn to the passage requested and take over the role youre reading. Put some enthusiasm into it! Be the part for all its worth! Even if its just the servant role with only four lines in the whole play, act as if its the plum part in the show. This kind of teamwork attitude is going to go a long way towards helping you secure other parts, perhaps in this same theater. You will get a reputation as a teamplayer and you may even receive calls to have you come to a theater to read since you would be beneficial to the overall production.
Dont look for an immediate reaction after reading the part. The director probably wont give you one. You will be thanked and asked to stay or thanked and asked to call back in the morning or two days from now when casting is set. Being asked to stay likely means the director was initially impressed and wants to hear you again. Study the book while youre waiting. Talk to others about their past credits. Start to make friends!
If you dont get a role first time out, dont worry about it. Rejection is part of the business and youll need to dig in and work harder at it. Keep trying out! It may be that you werent right for any of the parts in one play, but equally popular in the next one. Sometimes the director is seeking a specific look for a role and this may eliminate you no matter how well you read.
Dont try to read too much into a directors choices. Simply go on to the next tryout and keep practicing your lines in front of the mirror. Practice! Practice! Practice! This is how youll improve your chances of being selected for a role.
We told you this was hard work!
Being chosen for a part is a high point, though. The first one is like a breakthrough, although you cant be complacent about tryouts. You have to approach each one as if it was your first audition and do everything you can to make a favorable impression, even if it isnt a first one.
Live theater is the ideal way to learn how to act. Theres no room for lazy performances that you can reshoot like film or television. Here it is first time, only time and theres no better way to improve as an actor than through live theater. For some, its the only way they make their living and they love it! Nigel Hawthorne, the British theater actor who was nominated for Best Actor 1994 for his performance of the title character in The Madness of King George is near 70 but had never acted in anything but live theater until this film role. And this film was the adaptation of the stage play in which Hawthorne played the same part. A marvelous actor, he decided long ago to stay plying his craft on the stage rather than on screen.
You may decide that, too. You can make a living going from theater to theater after paying parts. Its a nomadic profession, but those who love it would not change places with anyone. There are touring companies that play in a city for a night or two or perhaps a whole week, before packing it up and taking it on the road once again. These are the barnstormers, taking the show on the road for as long as it can still find an audience.
Still got the acting bug?
When you land your first role, never miss a rehearsal if you can and come to them even when your part (especially if its small) is not being rehearsed that night. Observe all the various components of the theater. Watch the set being built. If youre handy with your hands, you might be able to get some additional work as a set builder. There are plenty of other tasks going on. Lighting, sound, props, costumes, makeupthese are all an essential part of the production. You may find an affinity for some of these other tasks which may bring you some paying work even faster than acting. There are jobs for technicians in the theater. The more you know, the better informed youll be should you choose to explore areas other than acting in your theater career.
The stage manager is the directors assistant and is generally responsible for all of the backstage activities from cueing the lights and sound effects to warning actors and actresses to get to their assigned positions. Its a fulltime job on the set and one which requires an understanding of all the essential elements of a production. It may be something youd like if you find acting isnt your thing.
Opening nights are exciting for all as the hours of rehearsals are over and its time to entertain! All of your practice has meant to prepare you for your time on stage and when the curtain goes up, all of the work will seem worth it. When you see and hear the audience respond to the work being performed, it will be well worth the time you spent nurturing your role.
Congratulations! Youve finished your first production, maybe even earned a few dollars and joined Equity while doing it. Its time to march on to the next rehearsal. You may have heard some of the other actors talking about a new play and when tryouts were happening. Its a close knit group of people who tend to keep each other informed about upcoming opportunities. Once youre in this little circle, theres a chance of staying up on the best paying and prominent productions going on in your area or elsewhere.
Do you need an agent?
Like joining Actors Equity, not necessarily. It helps, but for initial work its not necessary. For theater, it may not be necessary to work at a local and regional level. After youve built up a lot of credits, youll have something of interest to offer an agent. The agent can then have a better idea of where to place you and where to look for places! An agent can provide a lot of assistance in getting you auditions you wouldnt have heard of otherwise. There is an ear to the ground aptitude that the best agents have and they will try to get you the best possible job which you never would have been able to obtain yourself. Their incentive is that they will get a small percentage of your fee.
If youre looking for an agent, put together an acting resume. List your essential background credits where youve acted (or stage managed or did lights, etc.), your union affiliation(s), your personal information such as age, height, weight, etc. List any special abilities you might have such as dancing, singing, writing, languages, etc.
Get a series of photographs done and attach the best of those to your resume. Check with your local union office which maintains a list of recommended agents for you to contact. An agent cant hurt and might even help.
What the agent cant do is act for you. You have to create the opportunities, too, by turning in your best effort night after night in even the smallest of roles. Youre not likely to start at the top in film or television, either, even though you may be an accomplished theater performer. Thats O.K.! This profession is a one step, building block process that will eventually trace you a path to the top. Patience!