How to start an acting career? My personal experience coupled with what I got out of a recent conversation with best-selling author Brian O’Neil (Acting As A Business: Strategies For Success), allowed me to produce this list of things you can do to facilitate your acting career start. Many questions come from young people who are frustrated by the fact that they live in a small town and can’t seem to find any opportunities to act in their area. I hope you find this list helpful.
1. Look up casting offices in your area.
2. Look up talent agencies in your area.
3. Check your Regional Theatre Directory for their policy on auditioning and for information about local and upcoming projects.
4. Universities with film departments: Film students are required to produce a certain number of film projects each year and for those projects they are always looking for actors!
5. Find advertising agencies that have clients who shoot on-camera commercials and commercial print ads.
6. See if there is a SAG, AFTRA or Equity office in your area and see if they have a list of reputable talent agents in the area.
7 . Through your local courthouse or cultural affairs office, look up your regional theatre directory.
8. Check the arts & culture section of your local newspaper for theatres, shows, plays and events in your area. Take note of the venues where they take place and contact them for the information you desire.
9. Contact local photographers to see if they have contacts for ad agencies, other actors, casting directors, agencies. Agencies and Casting directors often refer actors to certain headshot photographers.
10. Look up you state’s film commission. Usually state film commissions have a list of upcoming film projects to be shot in that state.
11. See if there are any special editions of magazines and/or newspapers that have to do with theatre, film or acting in your area.
12. Pick up a copy of the Hollywood Reporter. Sometimes you will find a list of film projects that will be shot in different areas of the country.
13. Try to find a list of Equity and Non-Equity theatres in your area. Go there and they should be able to give you a wealth of information about where you can go to get started, teachers, schools, etc.
14. Look up acting schools, acting teachers and acting coaches in your area.
15. Look up casting offices that cast for extras, even if they are in a big city like New York or L.A. and sign up with them. Make sure they have your headshot and résumé and cover letter. But tell them where you are and where you live. If you are not in the big cities where lots of film and extra work is being shot, you’ll want to tell them to call you when there is work to be had in an area you can easily get to.
16. Remember that when building your résumé, the more theatre work you have on your résumé from reputable theatres, the more attention you will get from casting directors and agents.
17. Lastly, you could also go and take classes with casting directors or agents if you can find them. That is a great opportunity not only to meet casting directors and agents, but also to spend time them.