It is no secret that the acting industry, be it for theatre, cinema or television, is highly competitive requiring on both hard work and being the in the right place at the right time. Needless to say, finding acting opportunities in this dense industry makes for full-time employment in itself.
Here are a few tips for you to best anticipate this critical step to becoming an actor.
First, preparing for rejection is key – cold but true. A lot of acting job searching goes through hearing a lot of “nos” audition after audition. Just remember that an ordeal is only one when you choose to see it that way.
Even though this may get frustrating at times, it is, unfortunately, part of the career you have embarked on. Do you really believe Mila Kunis just fell on set and broke into comedy acting overnight? Many actors caught their first real break right when they were about to give up. So take it all in stride, keep a good sense of humour and a positive attitude. These experiences will just make a better actor out of you for that big opportunity.
Get background information and stay informed. You cannot claim to be part of an industry if you don’t know the slightest things about it. A lot of it comes from acting school and common knowledge amongst industry members but do seek out good resources on acting in the UK to keep yourself updated. Build a network, we will discuss this at greater length further down.
Keep your creativity flowing and produce work. Don’t be afraid of feedback and ring in friends and family for edits and comments. After some good hard truth-telling, at which point you will learn to not stomp out of the room, ask them to help you promote your work. They are your first support network and will be rooting for you, well maybe exclude those that don’t sincerely encourage you.
British actors in period costume act out a scene. (Source: Unsplash).
Save up, earn pocket money through a part time job. The rise to stardom or a solid career is costly so make sure you have your priorities straight. If you choose to train with a private acting coach for example, factor that into your budget. Headshots and showreels all cost money and are essential to finding acting jobs in the UK. Just bear in mind these investments are steps to making your dream into a reality.
Socialise! This may come across as a strange piece of advice for finding extra work but relationships in this industry are key. Build a reputation and a good visibility, you never know where the next acting job might come from. Nobody has never gotten anywhere alone so make sure you surround yourself with the right people.
Meet people that will understand your lifestyle, its ups, and downs, through platforms like Tweet Up and events you will find in social media communities. Choose your fellow creatives wisely and remember that it is the five people we spend the most time with that influence us the most.
Join an amateur drama group, a great way of building a network but also of giving your creativity and acting skills an outlet. This community of thespians will help you stay confident and keep your chin up when faced with a bad audition day or a dry spell at work. Choose people with a positive personality who will support you and vice versa – pulling each other up towards the top.
“Keep the day job”, the wisest words ever said to an actor a the of his career. No matter how talented and hardworking you are, there will be times where money will become critical. So finding the right kind of extra work for financial support is a priority, say a flexible contract job that could work with your true passion.
In the UK and around the world actors often accumulate a series of odd jobs. Try to think about what your ideal schedule would look like if you were to get a part, you would have to rehearse and fit in extra work around your hours. Many aspiring actors go for evening time work in restaurants, venues, and bars, but say you get cast in a play, out goes your stable job. Or have you thought of voice over work and even becoming an extra for a production company?
Nothing screams “background actors wanted” like a film set, try your chance at being an extra on a show or for movies. Please note that becoming an extra anywhere is not the best way to build a successful acting career. But that said, extra acting work means you will keep your finances afloat and that is a significant contribution towards pursuing acting as a career. Take a ride to schmooze-ville because a good relationship with casting managers in charge of extra performers means they will get into the habit of thinking of you as soon as a big production looms ahead.
Read more about finding jobs for actors.
Musical talent will set you apart in an audition. (Source: Unsplash).
Want to give your undivided attention to other actors looking to pursue a career in a feature film or theatre drama? You can choose to become an acting coach for extra work or full-time employment. Be it voice management, singing, dancing or improvising techniques there are so many aspects you can focus on to help someone become an actor.
Bear in mind it is best to have a qualification in actor coaching if you want to embark on this path. There are specific diplomas that focus on drama education. Obviously, if you already have a diploma from a prestigious drama school in London or elsewhere in the UK this will make you more attractive to prospective students.
Experience is key so even if you have to start with unpaid work at community theatres, do it! You will learn something from each private acting lesson. Your benevolence and commitment to push your students to their achieve their best potential will make the difference.
Can you approach each student as a jewel in the rough waiting to be polished and revealed in it the limelight? This line of mentorship will make a huge difference with your clients, never underestimate the power of word of mouth and its digital equivalent, online reviews. Set up a website that shows off your expertise and testimonials from previous students or a profile on a platform which will put you directly in touch with prospective students looking for private acting lessons in the UK.
Exercise your critical mind, every time you witness a performance try to think of what you would have done differently or better. From which changes could have benefited the performance? Get used to putting you acting coach cap on.
Much like drama itself and finding jobs in the acting industry, a good coach builds his expertise on experience and perseverance. Finally, the industry is always evolving so stay up to date on the latest techniques and methods. Decided whether it is judicious to incorporate them into your tutorship.
Practice makes perfect so make sure you regularly attend acting auditions so to build a presence and stay aware of castings. Make them varied, explore commercial open casting calls, open auditions, try different styles be it comedy, dramatic work, even horror films.
The more experienced you will become the better you will be at reading between the lines and anticipating the casting process. Learn to listen to feedback and process it constructively. Even though auditions aren’t always the most rewarding experience they should become a healthy habit if you are looking to find work as an actor.
Need to overcome audition nerves or nail that monologue? Are you finding it hard to get over a particularly sour experience? Head to an auditioning workshop and get those jitters out of the way of your acting career blossoming!
Sign up for trusted casting call websites like Backstage, bear in mind there is a fee. A great majority of acting jobs in the UK will appear on these virtual billboards. If you are looking for more theatre-oriented opportunities The Stage is the place to go.
If you are feeling a bit more adventurous a less conventional way is to slip your way into a drama school and have a look at their casting notices for small extra acting jobs. But sssshhhh you did NOT hear it from us. Even better, get access to their online internal auditions portal, which you may still have access to if you are a recent graduate. Otherwise, it’s time to put that network to good use!
Depending on whether you are pursuing film or theatre acting, your audition formats will be very different. Theatre castings will need you to almost over perform, project your lines and get physical. You will be expected to know your material even though you may carry notes and script with you. Make sure to appear confident about the work you are performing as casting directors easily pick up on hesitations and unclear understanding.
Taped auditions for film or TV won’t require as powerhouse projection as a theatre for example. Aim for a regular conversation voice level. Memorise your lines and do your best to keep facing the camera as the camera is solely focused on you and will pick up on every single detail or hint of expression.
Nothing beats musical theatre auditions where big is never big enough. Get into your best Broadway zone, warm up your singing voice and bring your best dancing shoes along. Often performed in groups, this is the entertainment industry at its loudest and busiest you’ll be expected to knock your performance out of the park and stand out.
Having a talent agent by your side will definitely help with getting into audition appointments. Securing an agent is the best investment in your future as a professional actor, once you have found the right person he or she will grow to be your best advocate. An acting agent’s network usually stretches far beyond yours or in new directions than you would not have looked to.
Finding out about a good acting agent is either done through applications or word of mouth. So do ask your network or invite them to your next showcase, see how important it is to be in the know?! Once you get one just make sure he casts a wide net to get you acting work and keep updated with his activity regularly. Try not to pester, just make sure you come to mind, there is a fine line!
Having a website will greatly improve your visibility as a professional actor. (Source: Unsplash)
How do you expect any Spielberg and his filmmaker friends to discover your talent if you don’t show them? Make it easy for them to find you! First simple easy step: make your email signature point back to your website and social media pages, this will make your work accessible in one click when you contact casting directors. Making their life easier grows your chances of getting the call.
Don’t have a big enough footprint online yet? This is the year you work on your digital presence. Sign up for creative databases like Mandy (www.mandy.com) and create an attractive portfolio page.
You can also build your own website at little cost from a basic template. Include a blog section and begin with publishing a monthly article on an aspect of acting that you relate to, the reasons that made you want to learn acting, your struggle with finding acting jobs, audition preparation tactics, anything that inspires you and you think others would find useful. The best that can happen is that others begin to comment and engage in a dialogue, again you never know where a job in acting might come from.
Finally share your work on social media (provided you have the rights to do so) Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo and Instagram are the most appropriate. Regularity is the rule of thumb so publish news and projects you have been working on, even if they are not finished. Make sure to prominently display your headshot, make it look professional, and pin your showreel at the top of your profile.
Stick to it! Perseverance and nothing less – ask yourself every day what did I do to make it happen today? It’s all about transforming a dream into reality.