7 Things Every Beginning Actor Should Do

If you have ever considered acting professionally, but aren’t sure where to start, below are 7 steps you could take.

#1 Take an Acting Class

Every person who is seriously considering pursuing acting as a career should take a class in acting first. This is a good way to make sure you like performing in front of others and understand firsthand what acting is about.

#2 Get Professional Head Shots

I’ve received hundreds of submissions for the independent films I’ve made. The ones that don’t have professional headshots stand out in a negative way. It’s an absolute must to have your head-shots done by a professional photographer.

#3 Prepare a Resume

It can be hard to write a resume without any acting experience. You should start with any experience that may help a director and casting director decide if they would like to cast you. You can also list background artist work, which usually is not hard to book. Once you are farther along in your career, you will begin to book more and more involved roles. The other things that should be listed on your resume are contact information, and training in acting you have received and any special skills. Do your research and make sure you have formatted your resume correctly. You can start with a search online. A great book on this topic is Acting as a Business by Brian O’Neil. He doesn’t just talk about resumes, but he does cover them in this book.

#4 Find out Where to Self-Submit for Auditions in Your Local Area

In the Austin, Texas area, there are a number of Facebook groups, a website called http://www.shortfilmtexas.com and a handful of national websites where casting calls are posted. You can really begin finding auditions by these resources alone. If you are not in the Austin area, talk to the acting community and find out where they look up casting calls.

#5 Get Listed on IMDb, and Then Sign up for IMDb Pro

This is one of the biggest things an actor can do. You need to book a project that will list you on IMDb to get listed initially. Industry professionals go to IMDb when searching for talent or verifying the work of other professionals. If you are not listed on there or have not taken the time to sign up for IMDb pro, it’s a red flag. Either you haven’t had enough experience to get listed or you aren’t savvy enough to know that it comes across as unprofessional when you haven’t signed up and added your picture. Either way, if you are taking the time to do the other steps on this list, you should take the time to make sure your IMDb profile is looking good.

#6 Get a Demo Reel

A good rule of thumb is your demo reel should be 60 to 90 seconds long. It should not repeat any footage from the same project, each clip should have the title of that project listed on the bottom of the clip for a few seconds and it should also list your name and contact information in a slide before and after all of your clips are shown.

#7 Get a Talent Agent

This is something you should consider after completing the first six steps. There are a lot of talent agencies out there. A good place to find them is by a Google search, by word of mouth, and by looking up the talent agencies on IMDb Pro. Looking them up on IMDb pro is a great way to verify the number of actors they represent and their popularity. If they don’t have any actors listed on IMDb, they most likely will not be able to help you find any auditions past what you have already been able to find by self-submission.

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