How do I get a job as an actor?

What qualities do I need to be a successful actor?

To be a successful actor you need a combination of things working in your favour not least the ability to act! You need:

  • Talent
  • Ambition
  • Patience
  • Ability to withstand constant rejection ? thick skin
  • Luck
  • Hard work
  • A reputable agent
  • A portfolio of your work to date ? this is your CV!
  • A good head shot
  • Experience
  • Commitment
  • An extra job skill to keep you going through 'dry' periods when you have no acting work on.
  • Time free to accept the work and prepare for roles.

Try to get as much experience as you can while at school by taking part in school plays and amateur film productions. Perhaps join a youth theatre and acting classes, etc. that run outside school hours and at weekends. Helping out back stage is also good experience.

What do I need to do to get started?

Acting is a competitive profession to break into. It's one of those things that you mainly need experience in to get a part but how do you gain experience if you don't get a part?

  • Take part in as many amateur productions as you have time for and offer to help out behind the scenes of local theatre company's. Join an amateur dramatic society, youth drama club, etc.
  • Take acting classes to increase your range and keep your skills up to date.
  • If there is no major theatre company near to you or you want to work in TV/film, you may need to consider relocating to a major city that has a film studio, etc. where you can attend auditions.
  • Ideally you need an agent with a good reputation to represent you.
    Beware agents who ask for money upfront as a genuine agent will not ask this instead they take commission on jobs once a fee has been paid by the employer.
  • You will need a good Head shot to forward to casting Directors and for you agent to keep on file. A headshot is a black and white photograph of your face, 8''x10''. It is rather like a passport photo but much more arty and professional and including your shoulders. You will need up to 50 of these as you get through them fast.
    You write your name and sometimes your agents contact information below the photo. You attach your resume to the reverse side of this.
  • You need an up to date portfolio /resume, which details all your acting experience and training, etc. This is technically your acting CV!
  • Prepare a cover letter to forward with your headshot and resume to all the casting directors and agents in your area. Update them every few months with details of your current acting projects.
  • Subscribe to the trade papers regularly, things like ''Backstage,'' ''Dramalogue,'' ''The Ross Reports'' and ''Variety,''. There are also many online publications you can read such as