Are You Ready?
Working alongside casting directors and acting agencies has opened my eyes to numerous mistakes that naive actors often make in their search for representation.
As you’d expect it’s an over-crowded market, with thousands of artists yearning to be noticed by the agents, who, let’s face it, are only interested in getting talent on their books who will land regular roles and earn them money.
To make the grade, you’ll need to be shrewd, and of course, extremely talented. Take a step back and look at your achievements thus far. Are you really ready to take the plunge and get an agent?
It pays to make friends. We all want to be universally adored, so ensure you’re a lovely human primarily, and an actor secondarily. Never be that person who brazenly introduces themselves to strangers with the line “Hi, I’m an actor”. The last thing you need is a negative reputation before you’ve even got your career off the ground.
Why am I patronising you about something so simple? How is this useful on your quest to become the next Al Pacino? Simply because you never know whose bum you’ll need to kiss along the way.
Imagine the scenario. Your brother’s girlfriend’s cousin’s gardener is filming an advert to promote his business and requires someone to play the part of ‘Satisfied Hedge Owner #1’. Who are they going to approach? The local wannabe with a 20-strong entourage (who, fair enough, played a dead body on Silent Witness in 2002), or their employer’s cousin’s boyfriend’s sister who invited them to the pub after the final performance of the school pantomime a few years ago?
Ask yourself: Who do I know? Who’s putting on a play? Who can get me work experience at a TV station? Who runs after-school drama clubs that I can help out?
It’s common sense, yet I’ve repeated it countless times to countless young actors. Even if you despise someone, just pretend you like them. You’re an actor for Pete’s sake!
Experience – From The Ground Up
If you’re reading this it’s probably safe to assume you are a drama student, or perhaps a motivated amateur. To become a jobbing actor, a wide blanket of experience is vital.
Do anything and everything – it’ll help you somewhere down the line. Whilst studying drama at school, you’ll have taken part in plays and musicals, alongside shows external to academia, which is fantastic, but the net is far vaster than that.
Keep your ears to the ground. You’ll have friends with video cameras, friends in bands, friends who present on student radio. Muscle your way in. Become the go-to person when someone needs an actor.
The key to eventually attaining professional experience is to dabble in every medium possible early on. Volunteer to be in student films, music videos, podcasts, village revues, animations – and do it while you’re young, with fewer financial burdens.
If there’s something you haven’t yet done, then make it your priority.
In Part 2: The importance of education and training.
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