Realizing the dream of being a professional actor is a thrilling feeling, but it takes some serious work to achieve. The more guidance you have along the way, the better chances you’ll have of landing desirable roles, while experiencing less struggle along the way. There’s no single route to success for those trying to get into acting, but by adhering to best practices and conducting research on the industry, you can make your own path clearer.
Getting into Character
If you’re going to find success in becoming an actor, you need to learn how to present yourself as an actor. Ideally, you should have some experience in theater and some prior acting experience. But even if you’re a beginner, your natural talents can be coached and you can find yourself getting noticed if you fit the look.
Before you go out looking for jobs or signing up for open casting calls, spruce up your appearance and get some professional headshots you can send out to agencies and casting directors. This will be one of the primary ways you will earn TV auditions.
Know the Differences Between Acting in Theater and Acting on Television
You can expect to carry over a lot of the skills you may have learned in previous theater experience for TV acting, but there are some important differences you should be prepared for. Notably, there’s no live audience when shooting a TV show (unless you happen to get cast in an old-school sitcom). Instead, you’ll have to get used to shooting scenes out of order and acting with no audience feedback. Not to mention, you may be asked to shoot multiple takes and be prepared to either act the exact same multiple times in a row or slightly adjust your acting on the fly.
Generally, you can also expect performances to require more nuance compared to theater acting, which tends to be more on the dramatic side.
In terms of feedback, you may never really get much feedback from the director, which can make some actors feel a bit anxious. Since directors are very busy and often work on tight schedules, you’ll rarely get feedback unless there’s something to change. So if you don’t hear anything, you can assume you’re doing fine.
Nailing the Audition
When you get called in for an audition, the last thing you want to do is wing it. There’s a place for improv in the entertainment industry, but this isn’t it. Be sure to study which type of show you are auditioning for by watching some episodes to get a solid feel for the tone. If you’re auditioning for a pilot, you’ll likely be given some instructions on the tone they will be looking for.
Take the time to memorize the lines you’re given and to nail down any accents you may be asked to imitate for the role. Be sure to also be prepared for your slate, which is industry language for your personal introduction during an audition. You’ll be asked to give your name, height, and representation (either freelance or agency).
From here, the success of your audition will depend on how well you’ve prepared, how confident you feel, and whether or not you match what the TV casting directors are looking for.
Most often, it will take quite a few auditions to land a serious role. But if you stick with it and work hard to refine your skills, you can expect to find success somewhere down the road.