5 Things You Need to Know Before Starting Your Acting Career

When you’re first starting as an actor, everything is new, fresh, and hard. Sometimes the struggle to make headway with your career can feel overwhelming. You might not get called back for a role despite acing it. You might have trouble finding opportunities that fit your look. The whole process can feel unfair. The truth is, show business isn’t always fair. You might get passed over on a part because someone else knew the right people. But, the good news is that these decisions aren’t personal. This is a business. Sometimes you get hired, and sometimes you don’t. As an actor, it’s essential to find ways to manage rejection because it’s going to happen throughout your career.

Here are five tips to help you as you begin your career.

1. Know Your Strengths as an Actor

In acting school, you likely learned how to play a variety of parts. You stretched your artistic skills so you could grow as an actor. Now that you’re entering the workforce, your approach needs to change. Don’t audition for everything. The real world isn’t like acting school where everyone tries everything. Casting directors are looking to focus in quickly on the look they want. If you don’t fit the part, you’re wasting your time and theirs. Therefore, you must know your strengths as an actor. First, determine what roles and types of work fit your abilities and your look. Be honest with yourself. You may want to play villain, but if you look like the girl-next-door, then focus on those types of roles for now.

If you struggle knowing what your type is, talk with trusted friends and professionals about what parts they can see you perform. Next, tailor your headshot to capture your look. Then, audition for roles that fit you.

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2. Acting is Hard, Especially the First Year

While you know intellectually that this business is hard, it’s different when you experience it. This business is going to challenge you and your resolve. Many people struggle to get those first few chances. However, people who persist do eventually make progress, and people who give up fail. Start identifying strategies that will help you stay motivated and help you persist even when it’s hard, whether it’s certain mantras, motivational statements, or keeping a journal. Find what works for you.

3. Focus on What You Can Do and Put in the Work

One of the easiest ways to sabotage yourself and your self-confidence is to spend time comparing yourself to other actors. Don’t do it. You can’t control if someone performs at the audition better than you or if their look is exactly what the director wanted.

What You Can Control is:

  • Doing your personal best at every single audition.
  • Applying consistently for opportunities that fit your look and talents.
  • Continuously training and studying.
  • Building your network.
  • Treating this as your career, not a hobby, and doing something to advance your business every day.

Natural ability will only help you to a point. People who take the time to practice and put in the hours of hard work will succeed.

4. Casting Directors are Your Allies

While the auditioning process can be intense, casting directors want you to succeed. It makes their job easier when you do well at an audition. The more they can find talented actors to audition for roles, the happier the director will be. As a result, the director will be more likely to use that casting director. When you’ve shown yourself as capable and reliable, casting directors will be more likely to contact you.

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5. Always Be Prepared, Professional, and Cooperative

How you represent yourself matters. You could be the best, but if you treat other people poorly or are difficult on set, you won’t get work. There are too many other qualified actors for directors to waste their time on an actor who makes everyone miserable. So, instead, treat people with kindness, no matter who they are. Show up to auditions and jobs fully prepared. Be professional at all times. Remember, this business isn’t always fair. But, if you do the work and show yourself to be reliable and easy to work with, directors and casting directors will notice. This professionalism can help give you an advantage and help you secure more work in the future.