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How to Become an Actor: The Business of Acting

Wanna learn how to become an actor? You've got to remember that acting is first and foremost a business. Just follow this simple and practical advice and you'll book job after job. Let's get down to business!

Acting is a Business First

I know, you love the lights, the camera, the action. But don't romanticize what we're doing here: You're a business first and an artist second.

The secret is the right mindset: The powers that be will see you as a product. Something to sell and make money from. And you should think this way too. This is true of theatre, TV, film, voice acting, commercials, and any other medium you'll work in.

How to Become an Actor

You are an entrepreneur with a product to sell. You're selling you. Your face, your body, your voice, your acting skills, your singing skills, etc. All working actors understand this concept.

This may seem dark and dreary, but it's actually a good thing. Why? Because you realize that it's not personal. It's business. (That's important to remember when you're dealing with rejection.)

Marketing Your Business

Now that we've identified the product (you), it's time to market that product. How do you get your name out there? How can you get hired? How to become an actor who's working?

Here are a few ways to get your name out there:

  • Headshot and Resumé. An actor's 8x10 calling card. It needs to look as professional as possible because it's going to cross the desk of directors, producers, agents, managers, etc.

    Nothing to put on your resumé? Try to become a movie extra, or volunteer at your local community theatre. (Theatres love volunteers!)

  • Use your Type. Directors use type-casting to better fill acting roles. Figure out your type (frat boy, valley girl, office professional) and tailor your approach.

  • On the Web. Sites like ReelAct.com will host your online information. Hosting photos, your resumé, even your demo reel. The best part? It's free!

  • Networking. One of the best skills you can develop is tuning into what's happening around you, and trying to get involved. What's more, surrounding yourself with positive, successful role models is essential. True entrepreneurs are experts at networking.

And please realize, this isn't the recipe for how to become famous.

The Audition is the Work

Actors often say to me, "I can't find acting work. It's so frustrating!" Here's the answer:

I had a professor in college who told me that until you get hired, the audition is the acting work. If you don't enjoy marching into that audition and strutting your stuff, why do you want to be an actor?

Use your auditions to hone your craft. Until you get hired, your monologues are your acting work. And enjoy it. That's how to become an actor.

Be Patient

Don't you hate it when someone tells you to be patient? Me too. But it's true.

Life is funny. Things happen by chance, luck, happen-stance, and divine intervention. You must be patient and wait.

But that doesn't mean you can rest on your laurels. I'm about to share with you the #1 tip on how to become an actor:

Constant and reapeated exposure. Get your arse in front of casting directors, agents, producers, and other powers that be, and they'll begin to recognize you. People do business only with those that they know, like, and respect. That's how to get into acting.

You need to have a good, solid audition every time. Stay positive. Build your business. And I promise, you'll be telling others how to become an actor!

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