Top 10 Tips for Getting Your Acting Career off the Ground

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Oct 2, 2018

Oct 2, 2018 • by Rebecca Smith

Acting is a serious and competitive job that doesn't only rely on your acting talent. Besides being a talented actor, you need to be able to be:

  • Charismatic with directors
  • A marketer of your own brand
  • A stylist for yourself
  • A driven performer
  • A cheerleader and self-motivator (do you know how many times you'll get rejected and have to keep going with a smile on your face?)

One in a million people become famous actors. Do you want to be one of the lucky ones with a successful acting career?

If you're still driven to become an actor knowing how difficult it is, you're already well-suited for such a competitive industry. Keep that momentum going with these 10 acting tips.

1. Take an Acting Class

Acting is your craft: improving your technique, style, and talent will only serve to help your career. Just as chefs go to cooking classes and doctors go to medical school, actors go to acting classes.

Focus on a particular area of acting to really hone your skills: improv, comedy, drama, musical, etc.

2. Audition, Audition, Audition

Part of acting is getting rejected. The key to having a successful acting career is to continue to audition, to get back up and try again as many times as it takes.

Famous actors will tell you about their struggles where they went to multiple auditions each and every day getting nothing each time. But they kept trying and the hard work pays off.

3. Do as Many Gigs as Possible

Along the same lines as the previous tip, you should take as many parts and do as many shows/gigs as possible. Even if it's low budget, community theater, or just starring in your friend's YouTube video.

Any acting work will give you practice and experience you wouldn't get otherwise.

It's also a way to gain exposure. You never know who's going to see you in your play, or what agent is going to attend the acting workshop you're at, or who's going to watch your YouTube video.

Jack Nicholson, one of the most famous actors of our time, wasn't "discovered" until after he'd done multiple low budget films, plays, and shows. Nicholson is definitely a great actor to look up to for career tips, advice, and managing family and a career: check it out!

4. Take Care of Yourself

Going to an audition is like going to an interview. You want to look clean, healthy, and ready to work. Showing up in sweats with unwashed hair and unbrushed teeth won't do you any favors.

5. Prepare an Amazing Reel

If the audition is like an interview, then a reel is like a resume. Your reel is a video of all your best acting clips.

Compiling a reel that shows your range, your different roles, and your acting abilities is crucial for showing directors, casting people, and agents what you can do. A reel can mean the difference between getting the part and losing it to someone else.

That's also why it's so important to do as many gigs as possible. This will give you a ton of clips for your reel and give you variety within those clips as well.

6. Network

Networking isn't just a buzzword that businessmen like to use at meetings: it's a key part of finding jobs, no matter what industry you're in.

Acting as a career is equal parts having talent and knowing the right people. Don't worry: you don't have to be the son of a famous director or the niece of a producer to break into the industry.

But you do have to get your name out there, talk to people within the industry. This could mean going to acting workshops/forums, community meet-ups, bonding with your directors, send letters or call agents/casting directors, etc.

7. Build Up an Audience

You don't have to be a star in a TV show or the lead in a feature film to build up an audience. TV shows and movies are now starring people who have followings on YouTube, Vine, and Instagram almost as much as they're starring "regular" actors.

Studios admit that they look at potential actors' social media followings and audiences when considering people for roles.

Consider starting an Instagram, a YouTube channel, a blog, or a website in order to gain followers. This will also give you a space to practice your acting skills and improve your comfort in front of a camera.

8. Build Your Acting Knowledge

There are other ways to hone your acting skills besides through acting classes and taking roles. You can:

  • Watch classic films
  • Learn about big-name directors, agents, and producers
  • Practice monologues at home
  • Practice line memorization skills
  • Work on your audition skills
  • Read books on acting

Acting is like any other talent: it requires skill and dedication. Do whatever you can to improve yourself. This will definitely help get you roles.

9. Market Yourself

As an actor, you're basically your own boss. You are building and creating your own "you" brand that needs to be properly marketed in order to get roles.

Craft an awesome reel and send it out to agents and casting directors to market your skills. Set up a website to showcase your talents and share it on social media platforms.

Do whatever you can to get your name out there and recognized. Brand recognition is so important, even if that brand is you!

10. Don't Give Up!

We saved the most important tip for last: don't give up on your dream. You'll face countless setbacks, a myriad of rejections, and a ton of criticisms. Don't let these things stop you from pursuing your dream.

Harrison Ford didn't land his first major role until he was 33. Alan Rickman, the famous Severus Snape in the Harry Potter franchise, didn't even start acting until his 40s.

If you keep trying, you can make something happen.

Make Your Dream Acting Career a Reality

A lot of us dream about becoming a famous movie star when we're kids. Turning a passion for performing into an acting career is difficult, but not impossible. Follow these 10 tips to get your career off the ground.

Need more help planning your career path? Check out our article on career planning.