The Complete Guide On How To Become An Actor In 2023 (Even If You Have No Experience)
I am going to walk you through the step-by-step process every actor should follow, in 2023 and beyond, to give you the best chance of establishing yourself as a working actor in film, tv, theatre or musical theatre, even if you have no experience.
If you want to become an actor this ultimate guide is for you.
If you think you’re already sure, you’ve dipped your toes in the water and want to really know how to start taking your career seriously then this ultimate guide is for you too.
The number one question I receive by email and DM is “I’m just getting started, do you have any advice for me on how to become an actor”. That is such a long and broad question, one I answer with the same basic principals over and over again.
There is so much conflicting and outdated advice out there, conventional and unconventional wisdom, (as well as a host of dubious and questionable businesses willing to cash in on your uncertainty) so I decided to create this ultimate guide to once and for all answer the question:
How do I become an actor, even if I have no experience?
Every actor’s path is going to be slightly different to the next, no two careers are the same. Of course there are examples of actors who had no formal training, didn’t act when they were younger, didn’t follow any clear career path at all.
They are the exceptions, not the rule.
From your first exposure to acting that gets you hooked, to deciding to commit to the vocation.
From the basic skills and knowledge you need to start with, where and how to actually live while you break through, to the vital marketing materials and industry connections you will need to gather to set you up.
From your first real audition to your first real acting experience to your first real paycheck (and where to find the next one.)
For 90% of working actors in the world this guide sets out the complete fundamental, and most advisable, stages of success.
- Phase 1 – No Experience, No Training, No Idea
- Phase 2 – Become An Actor
- 3. Get The Skills – All of the fundamental training you need and where the best places are to learn
- 4. Get The Knowledge – Beyond the fundamental acting training, this is the business and creative knowledge you need to master too
- 5. Get Set Up – Now that you have the skills and knowledge, all you need are the right tools to start putting yourself out there
- Phase 3 – Become A Professional
- 6. Get Auditions – The first step to going from training and preparation to actually acting in the real world; how and where to get auditions and what to watch out for
- 7. Get Experience – Getting loads of auditions is one thing, but there are plenty of other ways to gain valuable experience actually practicing your craft
- 8. Get Paid – Now that you have experience, how do you transition to actually getting paid for it; the true threshold of being a professional actor
- 9. Get Established – Now you’ve made some money it’s time to start building your profile so you can establish yourself as a visible and credible actor
- 10. Next Steps – Whether you’re a complete newbie or have some experience under your belt you now have the tools to take your career to the next level
Phase 1 – No Experience, No Training, No Idea
This is where everybody starts at some point; when you have no experience acting, no training and no real idea how to go about getting either.
At this stage your biggest questions should be – do I actually like acting? Do I enjoy it, do I love it? Might I be willing to spend the rest of my life in pursuit of that thrill with all the associated ups and downs. Or would I be better off focusing on some other area of my life for a career, and keep acting as a really fun hobby.
Let’s figure it out.
1. Get A Taste
The very first thing you need to do is get a taste for it. This is crucial.
Acting can be the most fun and rewarding career in the world
It’s important that the root of why you want to be an actor is because you love it.
The only way to find out if you actually enjoy doing it is by giving it a go. There are a few main ways you can dip your toes in the water:
Am Dram: Get involved with your local amateur dramatics group. There are Am Dram societies and local groups in every major city and pretty much anywhere there is a community center or village hall. You might not get massive parts right away but this is usually a very approachable way to get a taste for acting.
Amateur Work: Student films are a great way to get experience in acting for screen. Check out your local university to see if they do a film or media course and reach out to them to see if they need any actors to help them with their projects. There are a few things to watch out for with student films; like insurance, licenses and contracts but that’s the subject of another post and not really a huge worry for you at this stage.
Extra & Supernumerary Work: Sign up with an extras agency like Mad Dog 2020, Ray Knight and The Casting Collective for background work on TV and film productions.
Be aware that most of these agencies will charge some sort of “book fee” to join (as well as take a commission from anything you earn). This practice is widely condemned but unfortunately it is usual for extras agencies. A proper ‘theatrical’ agency or personal management agency will never charge fees of any kind except fair commission on booked work but with background artists (extras) this is common practice. The best agencies will only deduct this fee from the first paid job you do which means you should pay nothing up front.
This initial exploration will help you understand if this truly is your place, your environment and most importantly, answer the question of do you actually enjoy acting.
2. Get Clear
So now you’re starting to think, “I could really do this!” Before you make that decision to commit life and soul to becoming an actor and dive head first into it, it’s time for some real talk.
You need to get really clear on what being an actor actually looks like on a day-to-day basis. Then you need to fully commit to it, making it the sole focus of your life for at least five years before you either recommit or take a different path in your life.
In and out of stage-doors, rocking up on sets with a team of people around you, playing to a thousand pairs of eyes or pouring your soul through the lens of a camera, touring around from city to city, maybe even getting a little bit of fame and some seriously well paid work…
It all sounds really bloody cool, and it can be. But if that’s ALL you’re into it for then it will get very tiring very fast and if you’re not fully committed there are 100 other people who look just like you, waiting to instantly take your place at every step.
It takes 10-20 years to become an overnight success so before you commit, you need to understand exactly what perseverance looks like, because that’s truly what you’re signing up for.
Here are the real, objective pro’s and con’s of life as a working actor. You can’t have one without the other.
- Creative Expression – this has to be the greatest advantage of being an actor, that you get to express yourself to the highest form of creativity as your vocation.
- Share your passion and talent – Hopefully the thing you have the most passion for and greatest talent for is the thing you get to share with the world.
- Possibility of very high pay – Of course a-list celebs earn the big bucks but even if you make it into the top portion of your industry you have the potential to earn very large sums of money over very short time periods.
- Variety – For the most part no two days are quite the same. Even on a long running show the nature of live performance brings something a little bit different every time. Anything beats the 9-5 drone march through commuter traffic and rush hour tubes.
- Travel – Unless you work in west end theatre or a long running soap, worldwide travel is par for the course. I have lived in 13 cities over 5 countries for a month or more at a time in the last 3 years alone.
- Fame – Not for everybody, but fame and influence, at lesser and greater levels, does have advantages and often gets you special treatment in many scenarios. It’s not by any means guaranteed but it would be a lie to pretend it didn’t have positives.
- Surround yourself with incredible, talented people. – Your colleagues will be equally some of the most creatively fulfilled, passionate and talented people in the world and it is an honour to be included among their peers.
- Expensive – It can be expensive to get in and get yourself setup with high costs of training, head shots, travel to auditions and a general bias towards living in the biggest, most expensive cities. This is why it can feel like working class actors are priced out.
- Extremely competitive – There are around 70,000 members of Spotlight, 50,000 members of Equity and about 4000 new graduates every year. There are far, far more actors than there is work.
- Financial insecurity – Only 2% of all actors are in work at any given time and 70% of actors in the UK earn below the poverty line! Only 5 out of every hundred actors earns their whole income from acting alone and only 2 out of every hundred earns what is considered a “comfortable income”. 2009 Career By Numbers
- Job Insecurity – Even the longest acting jobs are only one or two year contracts and those also tend to be the lowest paid discipline. The highest paid work tends to also be the shortest; commercials, TV and film where you could earn a whole years income in two weeks or less but then not work again for months or even a year or more.
- Anti-Social Work Schedules – Because our industry provides entertainment for every other industry we tend to work the complete opposite schedules to most. Prepare to have most of your day times free but never have an evening to yourself. Weekends? Forget the word. And if you want to book a holiday, be prepared to get booked on a job and have to cancel or lose out on an amazing opportunity nine times out of ten. It is very difficult to hold onto friends or a relationship outside the industry because our work-life balances are completely at odds all the time.
- Rejection – The average person will have 6 job interviews in their life and only change job around 3 times their whole career. You however will get told “no” in every way imaginable 9 times out of 10 if you’re lucky, more often than not for something nothing to do with your talent or ability. You’re not tall enough, not short enough, not skinny enough, not big enough, too good looking, too boyish, too girly, not famous enough but most often just that you’re “not quite what we were looking for” if they even tell you at all! Constant rejection is a fact, but life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react. Which is why it’s so important that you don’t seek your only fulfillment and self-worth from your auditions and acting jobs you get.
- Privacy Struggle – If you do get a bit of success and start to make a name for yourself, maybe even start to build a fanbase or get a little famous then you’ll be in a constant struggle to hold on to your privacy, with audience and fans expecting more and more from you and press using any excuse to invade your personal life.
- Mental Instability – All of the above combined creates a perfect storm of instability for your mental well being. If you don’t make time for wellness, it will make time for you. Just like you would go to the gym to train your body you need to practice mental wellness to build up a resilience to the stresses of work as well as gain the tools to help you responsibly manage the dark times in a healthy and productive way.
Now, it may look like the cons outweigh the pros, but acting is an extremely rewarding career. To stand a chance of reaping those rewards, then you have to have the passion, the discipline and commitment to weather the very real negatives.
Phase 2 – Become An Actor
3. Get The Skills
If you’re serious, then the next step is to get baseline training and learn the actual skills required to act. There are plenty of examples of actors who never formally trained but they will have gained their skills from somewhere; whether by taking classes, on the job, or just by learning from getting it wrong a lot. There is no one perfect way to learn the craft but some sort of baseline training or skill-learning, formal or informal, is necessary. Research your options and choose the best one for you. The most popular places to train as an actor are:
- Drama Schools & Conservatoires – “Accredited” drama schools and conservatoires are seen as the pinnacle of acting training. These are highly prestigious institutions with a long history of the highest standards of practice and usually an alumni roster to back that up. Mostly these courses are accredited by a university and so you will leave with a BA or MA depending on the course. These are usually the most expensive but also the most well supported by government funding in terms of facilities and fees. In 2005 research revealed that it was twice as hard to get into drama school as it is to get in to Oxford or Cambridge. Accredited drama schools hold the highest level of prestige but not necessarily the “best” training or indeed any guarantee of success. Previously the industry body DramaUK maintained a list of high caliber member drama schools but that organisation dissolved and a new organisation the Federation of Drama Schools was formed but several high profile drama schools refused to join, which means there is currently no unified and comprehensive list.
- Vocational College – Unaccredited drama schools are a very popular choice because the competition for places is a lot lower than for the big-name drama schools. Vocational colleges also have the freedom to programme training that they individually feel should be taught and are not shackled to traditional and outdated accreditation systems. Vocational colleges also tend to employ currently working professionals, as opposed to education professionals or academics more common at traditional drama schools, who have their finger on the pulse of what is going on in the industry right now. Training at the more well established vocational colleges is generally considered more progressive, modern and relevant however some of these schools face criticism because they are unregulated and standards of training vary widely from school to school. They also tend to be just as expensive as drama schools but receive almost no funding support from government bodies.
- University Drama Degree – If you don’t manage to get in to drama school, and you can’t afford a vocational college course, or you just want to stay closer to home instead of moving to London to train, with all the associated costs, then a university drama degree might be a good option. You will come away with the same degree as most of the conservatoire schools but remember that the piece of paper itself is not really worth anything in the real world. Whilst there are some pretty well thought-of university drama or acting degree courses there are two crucial parts missing from most university courses and those are the caliber of the teaching staff; usually the highest caliber of staff will gravitate to the conservatoires but more definitively, you will be missing the “credibility” of training at one of the big drama schools gives you; the “name”. This means that agents and casting directors are far less likely to attend your public performances, all but guaranteed if your university doesn’t also make sure to programme a showcase in London at the end of the year. You are far less likely to secure representation immediately from the highest caliber of agents or be seen by the highest caliber of casting directors if you didn’t go to one of the big name drama schools. This of course in itself doesn’t mean you can’t be just as successful after you graduate. To help you compare the best university acting degrees, each year the Guardian releases statistics comparing the best universities for Drama & Dance courses, you can find out more here.
- Part Time, Foundation & Short Courses – If the thought of two or three years in full time vocational education fills you with dread, or you just have neither the desire nor the means to afford it then there are plenty of part time and foundation courses very highly regarded, often delivered by some of the most prestigious institutions themselves which could be the best of both worlds. These courses range from broad, one-year, foundation acting courses at places like Central and ArtsEd to Easter & Summer Courses like these ones and even short weekend, or week long courses in specialist areas like screen work and comedy. Arguably a much more cost effective way to gain the skills required to be an actor you can pick and choose the most appropriate skills that you think you need and research the single best short intensive course on just that area. This means that you can combine study based learning with actual practical industry experience giving you a much more holistic approach to your learning. Be careful of flashy marketing tactics here though, especially when considering a course or programme from an unrecognised establishment. Make sure you reach out to the acting community and search for reviews or ask for feedback before parting with your hard earned cash for a course that might be all sizzle and no steak.
As an actor the learning should never stop. You need to be constantly enhancing and refining your skillset. Beyond your baseline training as an actor you should also consider taking regular classes or workshops in topics like:
- Audition Technique
- Cold Reading
- On Camera Technique
- Singing Lessons
- Casting Workshops
And don’t forget the power of ‘Special Skills’. These are things that aren’t exclusively related to acting but they could help land you a particular role in the future or get you some work in a niche area with less competition. Skills like:
- Accents and dialects
- Stage combat
- Musical instruments
- Vocal range
- Juggling / Clowning etc.
4. Get The Knowledge
Formal education and training is one thing, but there is so much more to acting than knowing your stage left from your stage right. That means you have to be a bit of a sponge…
- Creative Knowledge: Soak up as many Films, Series, Plays, Theatre, Musicals as well as books, poetry & art as you can to not only feed your artist’s soul but also give you a bredth of creative context as an actor. This will keep you connected and rooted in your fundemental creative expression especially when times are tough and you’ve been working 17 days straight at your temp-job. But it will also make you a better actor; better able to articulate yourself and add context to your thoughts and actiosn in auditions and rehearsals, as well as just making for more interesting conversation at the pub!
- Business Knowledge: Seek out mentors and colleagues with more experience than you and discover how the industry really works, how small businesses work and what it really means to be an actor day-to-day. Join facebook groups like The Hustle with 50,000+ other performers and get your finger on the pulse of whats going on in the world of actors right now.
- Contacts Knowledge: A critical area within business knowledge that deserves a mention of its own. Start to build up your knowledge of the different types of industry contacts there are, agents and casting directors and far far beyond. Begin to learn who is who and start to foster real relationships with other creatives at your level and find out how you can addd value to your own network. It’s not what you know; it’s not who you know; it’s how well they know you.
5. Get Set Up
5.1 – Go Where The Work Is
There is a delicate balance to be struck here. Whilst it is undeniable that 80% of the UK acting industry exists in and around London so do 80% or more of your competition. The big question you need to ask yourself is; am I located in the best place for me right now at this stage of my career and am I willing to move somewhere else if not? It would be a lie to say that location doesn’t matter, but the world doesn’t entirely revolve around London.
London is the biggest pond, but moving there from the get-go means you are guaranteed to be a very, very small fish; and that pond is expensive to swim in. On the other hand the worst scenario you could be in is to be a little fish in a little pond, meaning there is very little work being cast near you and very little work in production near you either.
Other major cities in the UK that might be closer to your home and also much cheaper to live and work from include Manchester, Leeds, Bristol, Edinburgh & Cardiff. Just remember that a large proportion of the work being produced in these cities will still usually get cast out of London the one big exception being the large amount of TV productions moving up north where Manchester is becoming a major hub, for TV production particularly.
Moving to London is a big step; it provides you with endless opportunities but also comes with endless competition. It puts you at the heart of the best facilities, among the highest caliber creatives and production teams but also comes with the highest price tag.
5.2 – Build A Network
Isolation; a feeling of being alone, is one of the top reasons why actors give up their careers and leave London.
Can you imagine the logic of that?
One of the most densely populated cities in the world and the second or third biggest creative hub on earth, yet actors feel alone? This is because they failed to build a network, a support group of close friends and casual acquaintances.
Building a network of creative friends for yourself will help keep you up to speed with what’s going on in the industry at the moment, what shows are being cast, what classes and workshops are good to check out, what social activities is everybody going to. But building a network for yourself is also important as a support system for you when times get tough, so you have friends and colleagues to turn to, to talk to, to share with.
Building a network can be done online and in the real world and is best when combined. Start by joining some of the big facebook groups for actors.
The biggest and best groups in the UK are The Hustle (my own group of 50,000+ performers), and ActOnThis – The TV Actors Network run by Ross Grant. These groups share everything from original content with agents and casting directors to temp job opportunities to auditions and castings and most importantly support advice. Join these groups and start to connect with others doing the same as you.
After connecting with your industry online the next step is to start making friendships in the real world. Start by just going for coffee with friends you make online just to hang out, get to know each other and connect IRL. You can also go to in-person meetups. There are two big meetups hosted by Ross Grant from Act On This in Manchester and London.
5.3 – Get A Temp Job
A vital and often overlooked area of getting setup as an actor is what the hell do you do for money?
It’s not sexy to talk about temp jobs so there’s no info out there about it, but we all have to pay our bills right?
I’ve gone ahead and written an in-depth post comparing sixteen of the most popular types of temp jobs for actors against each other in terms of flexibility, rates of pay, regularity of shifts, difficulty of the work and ease of getting hired for you to decide what the perfect temp job for you is. I’ve even created a handy calculator for you to plug in your preferences and have it spit out some recommendations.
5.4 – Get Your Marketing Materials
In order to start getting acting jobs you need to submit for auditions. In order to submit for auditions you need material to send. And here is the exact process to set yourself up with the best marketing material for you.
Clarify Your Castability
The biggest stumbling blog you will face to seeing success quickly is diving straight into your headshots without having the first clue about what your casting type actually is. Most actors actually believe that being “versatile” in their skill set means they should also look “versatile” in their marketing. That is the biggest career trap as an actor. At best you will be lucky with the photographer you pick and fall into a pretty average headshot. At worst you will pour hundreds of pounds down the drain hoping for a pretty photograph of your face that stands you no chance of getting called in. Hope is not a marketing strategy. Let’s define castability once and for all.
Refine Your Personal Brand
As an extension of your castability, which is based purely on two dimensional appearance, your personal brand as an actor explores who you are as a person and how you enhance and accentuate those aspect of who you are through the characters you play and the work that you do.
Aside from “What you look like” (your castability) there are 4 other areas of your personal brand as an actor; “Who you are”, “What you do”, “What you communicate” and “What you contribute”.
Refining your personal brand allows you to discover, and communicate a brand that demands respect and commands attention, is memorable and unmistakably you through your headshots, showreel, social media, the work you do, letters you write and every time you walk into a room.
Produce Your Perfect Headshots
Your headshots are the most important marketing asset you have as an actor. Every single job you ever get will have been as a result of someone seeing your headshot at some point along the casting process. So please don’t just pick a photographer you think will make you look sexy and cross your fingers.
It goes without saying that your headshots should accurately represent what you actually look like when you walk into a room but beyond that your headshots should clearly suggest the four key areas of your casting type; your age range, gender identity, ethnic or cultural origin and occupations.
Craft The Ideal Showreel
Your showreel should be an advertisement for your castability, not just a load of scenes where you think you look cool. Your first showreel will probably be all bespoke footage as you won’t have any broadcast credits under your belt. But how do you know what scenes to shoot?
You just have to shoot scenes that represent your castability from above, easy.
Three scenes, of no more than 45 seconds in length each, for a total of 2 minutes 20 seconds or less (the perfect length for social media). Open with your best scene as your primary castability traits and for the love of god; leave out the montage.
While I’m at it; here are the seven worst mistakes you can make in your showreel.
Now that you have your core marketing materials ready to rock it’s time to move on the Phase 3: Becoming A Professional
Phase 3 – Become A Professional
So you have your marketing materials, you’ve done your training and soaked up as much knowledge about the industry as you can. Now it’s time to start actually getting some work. The first step to becoming a professional is to start getting some auditions.
6. Get Auditions
Auditions are the lifeblood of the jobbing actor. Besides being one of the only routes to acting work auditioning itself is a skill that needs practice and refining.
There are three main ways to get auditions:
Get On Social Media
Social media and in particular Facebook Groups, Instagram & Twitter is a great way to start seeing auditions and castings for the more easily attainable work. People who casting smaller scale productions usually don’t have the budget to cast through the more official channels so they use social media as an easy way to freely promote a casting opportunity.
More and more legit casting directors are starting to use Social Media for their casting breakdowns as a way to be more inclusive and less elitist or also to source unusual or niche actors for highly specific roles.
Get On The Casting Websites
Casting websites are the main source of auditions for 80% of actors at the outset of their careers. There are hundreds and hundreds of auditions a day published on these sites. Some of which are free to submit for but most of which require some sort of membership fee to be a part of. The main ones are: The Spotlight Link & Mandy (formerly Casting Call Pro) however you will also be able to find auditions, either for more beginner level productions or just less volume on StarNow, Backstage Castings, The Stage Castings, Dramanic and the Casting Networks Billboard. In a future article I will be comparing all of these casting websites against each other but in brief: if you qualify to register for Spotlight then that is the number one site but if you don’t qualify, or if you want to cast your net a little wider, my suggestion would be to sign up for at least Mandy too.
You’ll know you’re clear of this phase when you are getting yourself three or four auditions a month regardless of whether you are landing the jobs or not.
7. Get Experience
Here is where we ask ourselves a very important question: “Should I work for free to build up my CV?”
This is a very contentious debate and a very controversial topic. My answer, in brief:
Yes, but on certain conditions.
Experience – Working for free allows you to gain actual, on-the-job experience much quicker than if you only worked on paying jobs.
CV – Working for free allows you to build up a body of projects much quicker than if you only worked on paying jobs.
Creative Expression – Saying yes to projects for no money allows you to do more creative work than if you only said yes when you were paid meaning you don’t have to go so long from temp job to temp job with no outlet.
Bigger Parts – Saying yes to working for free usually results in you getting cast in larger roles at the outset of your career than you would if it was a paying production because there is less competition for the jobs.
Networking – 6 out of every 10 film festival nominations each year come from first-time feature directors. Where do you think those directors are getting their experience? On low/no pay productions for a few years before their big break. Working for free allows you to begin building your network of creatives who will become the next generation of directors, producers, writers that you will want to work with again.
Affordability – The biggest negative of working for free is that you have to be able to afford it. You have to still be able to pay the bills while you take time off your temp job. Not only that but often working for free means you will actually incur expenses like travel and food costs which often mean you end up losing money doing a job.
Getting Stuck – Saying yes to working for free can lead you down a rabbit hole of always working for free, if you don’t learn when to say no, what projects to say no to, and when to pull yourself out of the no-pay spiral you can find yourself going for years never getting paid in a field you love.
It Can Be Illegal – Despite popular misconceptions, you actually don’t have the right to volunteer your own services to a production that should in principle be governed by the National Minimum Wage Act. Even if you say yes to working for free, even if you sign a contract saying you agree to work for free, if the HMRC decides that you should have been classed as a “worker” then the production company is liable to pay you Minimum Wage and hefty fines even if you don’t take a case against them.
No Pay Often Means No Contract – Just because you are not being paid for your work, or being compensated in some way other than money in the bank, does not mean there should be no contract. This is probably the single biggest mistake actors make when working for free. Contracts can cover you for things like; working hours, working conditions, agreements & health and safety, getting your footage back in a reasonable time, expenses, dignity at work and producers insurance in case there is an accident. As well as covering the commercial rights and ownership over the footage and its future use.
It is O.K. to work for free, as long as:
You Can Afford It – If working for free is going to be a marketing and promotional exercise that you choose to pursue as your own business then make sure you set aside some cash savings to prop yourself up while you do it. Don’t go into debt for the sake of someone else’s production.
It Is Fair To All Participants – Are the actors the only ones not being paid? Is the director, producer, DOP, sound crew getting paid? If so, that’s exploitation and bad budgeting. Use this template letter from Equity and report the audition brief or production to them for investigation.
You Sign A Contract – Always, always, every single time, with no exceptions, sign a contract between you the artist, and the production company. Especially if there is to be no compensation. Use the Equity Student Film Agreement as a basic template to make sure you cover all your rights and the responsibilities of the production team.
If It’s Profit-Share, The Books Are Open To You – If you agree to work on a profit-share basis, and have signed a contract to that effect, bearing in mind that there is likely to be no profits, you should make sure the producers have an “open book” policy so that at any time you can ask to see the financials of the productions’ profits and losses. If the producer doesn’t want to agree a full open books for everyone you can still negotiate an open book for just yourself. This will allow you to see exactly where the money is being spent and should show you that everyone is being compensated fairly, if you’re only working for a share of the profits but your producer’s salary is included in the running costs, is that fair? You can read more about how Open Books works here.
The Project Moves Your Career Forward – Don’t just take any job that comes along because you’ve been offered a part in it. This is fine the first couple of times to whet your appetite but saying yes to free work over and over again, especially the same type of job, is a sure-fire way to stagnate your progression. If you’re going to work for free the project should be your perfect casting type (or very close), a piece that interests you and you’ll find it fun to work on, and there should be some elements of career progression or pushing your own boundaries involved; for example, working in a new field, working in a new way (like improv or comedy if you usually do serious drama), connecting with an exciting creative etc, or working on a piece that you already love, like your favourite play.
After you’ve had your first few jobs for experience only, it’s time to start getting more and more selective about the free work you do and eventually, within a year or two maximum I would suggest, start saying no to unpaid work altogether. It’s the only way to push yourself into the next stage.
8. Get Paid
Once you’ve paid your dues with the no-pay jobs, you can stop gaining experience and start getting professional work.
When to say no to unpaid work
Pay scales – How does rates of pay work across the industry.
Equity & Union Rates
Always get a contract. What should a basic contract have
9. Get Established
9.1 – Get More Visible
What Is Visibility
3 most common ways to build visibility:
- Get an agent
- Get a Showreel
- Get on Social Media
9.2 – Get More Credible
What is credibility
3 most common ways to build credibility
- Get more credible training
- Get a more credible agent
- Get more credible connections (network, contacts, people you’ve worked with, move up the ladder)
10. Next Steps
So, no matter what stage you find yourself in right now, you now have the secret map to level up. If you’re a complete newbie, the most important thing you can do is to dip your toe in the water, see if that dream has any legs. If you’ve already figured that out, well then, get ye to school! Once you have your baseline training, then it’s time to sort out your marketing and who you are. Then get out there, attend auditions, and start ACTING.