Thanks for taking the time to read my latest article. This article is PRIMARILY for actors based in the United Kingdom, which is my area, but I will do something like it for New Yorkers in the future and actors in Los Angeles too. We’ll soon have some great interviews coming up, so keep watching.
These are 10 practical steps that you can do to advance your career. It presumes no knowledge, but is written in response to a recent email from Jeanine in London. It is written for actors that HAVEN’T already been to a 3 year conservatory acting course or haven’t considered some of these steps.
STEP ONE: Get good photos and an excellent resume. Don’t scrimp: bad photos and hand written CV’s make an appalling impression.
STEP TWO: Get yourself onto Casting Call Pro. It is a great way for people to find you; there are LOADS of jobs (paid and unpaid); and it allows you to stay connected, join a community and put yourself ‘in the loop’.
STEP THREE: Subscribe to PCR. It’s expensive but well worth it. It stands for Production and Casting Report and has grown from a list of acting jobs into a well structured organisation. Again, if you don’t have an agent, this is the way to get yourself into the ‘loop’.
FOUR: Join the Actors Centre – This is for experienced actors and they have a criteria for joining, but it has excellent training opportunities with top professionals. There are also some public classes for non-members. It’s worth checking out The Actors Centre website.
FIVE: Work for experience, do profit-share shows, do shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. These jobs are advertised all over in PCR, in Casting Call Pro and by reading The Stage.
SIX: Join the Union. Equity will protect you if things go wrong and they campaign for the rights of British actors, it’s best to join when you can. It’s not a closed shop like it used to be, so it has lost some of its power, but I would still say that the Actors’ Union is an important organisation to have on your side.
SEVEN: Read plays, go to the theatre, attend workshops.
EIGHT: When you do a show, send your resume and photograph to an agent with the publicity material and a very short letter (to the point) inviting them to come and see it and chat with you afterwards. An agent won’t make your career, but they will help. Agents are exceptionally busy and have the pick of the bunch, so you may need to invite them several times to different shows. If you have an incredible success, invite an agent.
NINE: If you haven’t been to drama school, many conservatories will now accept mature entrants, although their not famous for their attitude towards mature students. A friend of mine went to E15, but they were so used to teaching younger students, he sometimes felt it quite patronising.
TEN: Keep attending acting classes. In no other profession do they consider their training over after an initial couple of years of general study. Stay in tip top condition by taking acting classes and acting masterclasses across the UK.
You will notice that most of these steps involve cost. Yes, that’s right, you’re going to have to make an investment into your career as an actor.