How To Become An Actor

Thinking about starting an acting career but have no prior experience? Jump start your odds of getting in front of the camera.

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By Christian Massa • Feb 20, 2022

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

If you want to become an actor, there is nothing stopping you. Sure, experience is helpful when getting into any field, but experience isn't everything. Actors need to have confidence, charisma and the willingness to learn, among many other characteristics.

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Here are the 10 best tips for becoming an actor, even if you have no prior experience.

Invest in learning the craft

While acting classes can be expensive, they are well-worth the price for novice actors. Acting classes teach you the basics and the instructors will educate you on things you can't learn anywhere else.

Resist the urge to move

If you're from a small town, you might have a hard time finding auditions. However, before you make the move to a huge city such as the Big Apple or Los Angeles, you should consider trying to build your reputation in a smaller area. These big acting cities are filled with other hopefuls just like you. If you move there with no experience and no resume, it's possible you could get lost among the masses.

Pay for a good headshot

Acting has a lot to do with visual appeal. Therefore, if you send off your acting resume without a professional headshot, you may not hear back very often. It's worth the price to pay a professional photographer so that you have some headshots to use moving forward. Importantly, when you work with a photographer (or any other professional), be sure that you are mindful of potential scams. Some photographers, agents and others may try to rope you into a long-term agreement. Or refer you to a friend of theirs for a substantial fee. Keep your eyes open for anything that doesn't seem legitimate!

Contact local acting theaters

Odds are, there's at least one small theater in your hometown. By working with the actors and other professionals involved in the theater's operations, you'll build connections that can last for a lifetime. These people have likely learned a few things along the course of their careers. And, they'd be happy to help you achieve your acting goals and dreams.

Do your research

With the benefit of the internet, it's easier than ever to learn about virtually any topic in which you are interested. Take the time to do some in-depth research on the process of becoming an actor, using social media effectively and filmmaking in general. You'll be amazed at what you can learn simply from reading and researching.

Related: Five most popular careers for a voice-over artist

Don't forget about related, non-acting experience

Of course, having any acting experience is one of the most important things to highlight on your resume. However, there are many other related parts of the industry that can help to improve your standing. Writing, directing, lighting and anything else involved with a project can improve your chances.

Seek help with your resume

You won't always get to talk to the casting directors or hiring professionals involved with an acting project. In fact, you'll many times only have one chance to catch their attention, and this is through your resume. As they search for the right actor, they will be skimming through potentially thousands of different resumes. If yours doesn't stand out from the crowd, is filled with typos, has a low quality headshot or is just flat-out boring, the hiring team will move on to the next applicant without a second thought. For this reason, be sure to have someone closely proofread your resume.

Work with an agent

You don't have to join a huge agency that represents many different actors right off the bat. You may instead decide to work with a small to medium-sized agent. This will ensure that you are given ample attention and are not just treated as another number amongst many other aspiring actors. As time goes by, you may decide to switch agents for a variety of reasons. However, early on, your agent will be a guiding light for you. Make sure you work with one who has your best interests in mind.

Watch a lot of other actors perform

Stephen King, the incredibly prolific author, is quoted as saying, "if you want to become a writer, you must read a lot and write a lot." This is true of acting as well. If you want to become an actor, you need to devote all of your free time to studying acting and acting yourself. Watch how actors deliver lines in plays, movies and TV shows. Ensure that you watch different types of media so that you can experience various emotions and deliveries. There are many tips and tricks that you can learn in order to become an actor. But if you don't watch a lot of other actors and seek out the opportunity to improve your acting skills, you are wasting your time.

Sign up for online casting call websites

Websites such as Backstage, Actors Access and others allow you to submit yourself for suitable roles. These online resources can be excellent ways to find roles that you otherwise might not hear about. There are new projects constantly popping up all across the country. Be sure to keep your eyes and ears open. But beware of potential scams. There are plenty of websites that will just try to collect your information and take your money. This is, unfortunately, a very regular occurrence.

Becoming an actor is not easy. Many people try for their entire lives to become actors and only end up with small roles that never lead to big breaks. The world of acting is cruel and you will likely face a ton of heartbreak on your way toward achieving your goal. So, if you're getting into acting for fame or money, it's probably best if you pursue another career. However, as I stated at the beginning, if you want to become an actor, even if you have no formal training or experience, don't take no for an answer. Follow the ten tips I've listed above and before you know it, you'll be well on your way.

Related: This Celebrity Talent Manager Is Offering a 12-Step Online Course ...

Christian Massa

CEO of Purple Media

Christian Massa is a filmmaker, actor and entrepreneur. He's the founder of PurpleMedia, a media company specializing in helping people in the entertainment industry share their stories with the world.

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