How To Become Actor

How To Become Actor

Are you passionate about acting? Do you dream of seeing yourself in movies or on stage, dazzling audiences with your unique talents? If so, you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we will guide you through everything you need to know to become a successful actor, from the initial steps to the ultimate goal of landing your dream roles.

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of how to become an actor, it’s important to set realistic expectations. While it’s true that some lucky individuals catch their big break at a young age or without any prior experience, the average actor’s journey is a bit more complicated. It includes navigating the competitive world of auditions, marketing yourself effectively, and working on honing your skills at all levels.

One of the first steps in becoming an actor is to educate yourself about the industry and the different routes you can take. There are many areas within the field, such as film, theater, television, and commercial acting, each with its own set of pros and cons. By understanding what each area entails and what type of roles you’re looking to pursue, you can better focus your efforts and decide which path is the best fit for you.

Another important aspect of becoming an actor is to gather the necessary materials and training before you start your search for roles. This includes creating a portfolio or resume that showcases your past experiences and skills, attending acting classes or workshops to improve your craft, and participating in events such as summer camps or showcases that allow you to network and introduce yourself to industry professionals.

It’s also important to be realistic about the timeline of becoming a successful actor. While some individuals may achieve success relatively quickly, for others, it can take months or even years of hard work and persistence. Rejections and disappointments are a common part of the process, but it’s essential to stay motivated and continue working on your craft, always striving to improve and grow.

Finally, one of the most important pieces of advice we can give you is to never give up on your dreams. Pursuing a career in acting is not an easy path, but with dedication, hard work, and a little bit of luck, you can achieve your goals. So, if you’re ready to take the first step, join us on this exciting journey as we explore the world of acting and guide you towards a successful career!

How to Become an Actor: Step-by-Step Guide to Pursuing a Career in Acting

Although becoming an actor may seem like a dream, it is indeed possible with the right steps and guidance. If you have a passion for performing and are willing to put in the work, you can pursue a successful career in acting. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you get started:

Step 1: Build a strong foundation

You can start by joining your school or community theater group, where you can learn the basics of acting and gain valuable experience. Taking acting classes or workshops is also a great way to develop your skills and learn from experienced actors or mentors.

Step 2: Get educated

If you want to pursue a professional acting career, attending a college or conservatory program can be beneficial. Many colleges offer theater or performing arts programs that cover a wide range of acting techniques and provide opportunities to showcase your talent.

Step 3: Gain experience

Participating in school or community theater productions, as well as auditioning for local theater companies or student films, can help you gain more experience and add credits to your resume. You can also explore unpaid roles or internships to further build your acting portfolio.

Step 4: Find an agent

Having an agent can significantly help in finding auditions and securing acting roles. Research and reach out to reputable talent agencies or casting directors who might be interested in representing you. It is essential to have a professional headshot and resume to submit and showcase your skills and experience.

Step 5: Audition frequently

Acting is a competitive industry, so be prepared to audition frequently. Research upcoming auditions and casting calls, and make sure to deliver your best performance. It is important to prepare monologues or scripts in advance and practice them thoroughly.

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Step 6: Network and market yourself

Building connections with other actors, directors, and industry professionals is crucial. Attend industry events, join acting groups or unions, and use social media to connect with others in the industry. Creating a personal website or online portfolio can also help showcase your work and attract potential opportunities.

Step 7: Stay persistent and adaptable

Acting can be a challenging and competitive field, so it’s important to stay persistent and never give up. Be open to different types of acting jobs, such as commercials, voiceover work, or even background roles, as they can provide valuable experience and exposure. Keep honing your skills and always be willing to learn and evolve as an actor.

Remember, the path to becoming an actor is not always straightforward, and it may take time and effort to achieve your goals. But with dedication, hard work, and a love for the craft, you can pursue a rewarding career in acting.

Develop Your Acting Skills

When it comes to pursuing a career in acting, developing your acting skills is crucial. Whether you’re just starting out or already have some experience, there are always ways to improve and grow as an actor.

One of the first steps you should take is to focus on your craft. Take acting classes or enroll in a drama school to gain valuable knowledge and guidance from experienced professionals. These courses will teach you everything from vocal techniques to dramatic interpretation, and help you polish your skills.

Getting involved in the industry is also important. Attend auditions, join local theater groups, and volunteer for acting opportunities. These experiences will not only give you practical experience but also help you build relationships with other actors, directors, and technicians in the industry.

Creating a strong professional network is vital for actors. Attend industry events, join acting unions, and consider getting an agent. A good agent can help you navigate the industry, find auditions, and book roles. They can also provide valuable advice on further developing your acting skills and advancing your career.

Another aspect to consider is the financial side of the profession. Acting can be a challenging career financially, especially in the early stages. Therefore, it’s important to manage your finances wisely and be prepared for moments when the work may not be as consistent as you’d like.

Furthermore, taking care of your physical appearance is essential. Invest in good headshots that represent your personality and casting range. Keep your hair styled and maintained, as your appearance can sometimes make a big difference when it comes to casting decisions.

Lastly, don’t limit yourself to just one avenue of acting. Consider exploring other mediums such as screen acting, voice acting, or musical theater. Each requires a unique set of skills, and diversifying your abilities can open up more opportunities for you.

In summary, becoming a successful actor involves continuous learning, staying motivated, building relationships, and exploring different opportunities. With perseverance, dedication, and a focus on developing your acting skills, you can increase your chances of achieving your acting goals.

Get Formal Education or Training

In the world of acting, having a solid foundation of knowledge and skills can greatly increase your chances of success. While not all actors have formal education or training, pursuing a degree or attending acting classes can provide invaluable resources and help you refine your talents.

One route to consider is attending a university or college that offers acting programs. Many institutions in America have majors or degrees in acting where you can learn everything from basic acting techniques to more advanced practices. By immersing yourself in a well-rounded curriculum, you can develop relationships with fellow actors, crew members, and industry professionals, providing you with unique opportunities to showcase your talents.

If attending a traditional university is not your preferred route, there are also non-traditional and amateur acting programs available. These programs may lack the formal structure of a degree program, but they can still provide valuable knowledge and training.

Another option is to seek out acting classes or workshops offered by reputable acting schools or organizations. These courses can provide focused instruction on specific acting techniques or areas of expertise, such as stage acting, voice acting, or on-camera acting. By enrolling in these classes, you can continue to refine your skills and stay up-to-date with industry practices.

Knowing whether to pursue a formal degree or attend acting classes can be a personal decision based on your goals, resources, and overall preferences. There are pros and cons to both routes, and what works for one person may not work for another. It’s important to weigh the options, do your research, and make the best choice for yourself.

When navigating the education and training options, consider submitting audition tapes or attending casting calls to gain valuable experience and exposure. Whether you choose a typical university program or a non-traditional acting avenue, it’s important to take every opportunity to showcase your talents and build your professional reputation.

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No matter which route you choose, developing your acting skills is an ongoing process. The acting industry is constantly evolving, and staying up-to-date with the latest techniques and trends is crucial for your success.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 4% growth in acting jobs between 2019 and 2029, which means the demand for actors is expected to increase. By pursuing formal education or training, you can position yourself for success and increase your chances of landing roles in TV shows, movies, and theater productions.

Gain Experience through Theater, Film, and Television

One of the most effective ways to gain experience as an actor is by getting involved in the theater, film, and television industries. By participating in these mediums, you can learn valuable skills, make connections, and showcase your talent to potential casting directors.

Here are some steps you can take to gain experience:

  • Join a local theater group or amateur dramatics society. These organizations often welcome actors of all ages and skill levels, providing an opportunity to perform in front of a live audience and learn from more experienced actors.
  • Sign up for acting classes or workshops. Many acting schools and performing arts centers offer courses for beginners and advanced actors alike. These classes can help you develop your skills, learn new techniques, and network with fellow actors and industry professionals.
  • Look for opportunities in your local theater scene. Find out where auditions are being held and submit your headshot, resume, and any other required materials. Even if you don’t land a role, the audition process can be a valuable learning experience.
  • Consider joining an actors’ union. Actors’ unions such as the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) or Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) provide resources, support, and opportunities for union members. Joining a union can also give you access to higher-paying jobs and protect your rights as an actor.
  • Explore opportunities in the television industry. Look for casting calls for commercials, TV shows, and other television productions. Auditioning for television roles can be a great way to gain exposure and potentially land a recurring role.
  • Consider pursuing a degree in theater or acting. Many colleges and universities offer degree programs in theater or acting. These programs provide comprehensive training and often include opportunities to perform in productions.
  • Attend industry events and networking opportunities. Look for acting conventions, workshops, and conferences where you can meet casting directors, agents, and other industry professionals. Building relationships and making connections can be crucial for securing acting gigs.
  • Consider creating your own opportunities. If you are passionate about a specific project or have a unique idea, you can take the initiative to write, produce, and star in your own production. With technology and social media, it’s easier than ever to create and distribute your own work.

Remember, gaining experience as an actor is an ongoing process. Even established actors continue to seek out opportunities to hone their craft and expand their repertoire. By staying proactive and continuously seeking out new experiences, you will increase your chances of success in the acting industry.

Build Your Professional Network and Create an Acting Portfolio

Building a strong professional network and creating a compelling acting portfolio are crucial steps in pursuing a successful career in acting. These essential tools will help you showcase your talent and experience, connect with industry professionals, and increase your chances of landing auditions and roles.

1. Networking

Networking is all about forming connections and relationships within the acting industry. Here are some effective ways to build your network:

  • Attend acting workshops, seminars, and industry events to meet fellow actors, casting directors, agents, and other industry professionals.
  • Join local theater groups or amateur dramatics societies to collaborate with like-minded individuals and gain valuable experience.
  • Volunteer or work as a production assistant on film sets or theater productions to network with directors, producers, and technicians.
  • Seek out mentorship opportunities with experienced actors who can provide guidance and resources to help you navigate the industry.
  • Utilize online platforms like social media, industry forums, and online communities to connect with industry professionals and discover new opportunities.

2. Acting Portfolio

Your acting portfolio is your professional showcase, so it’s important to create a well-rounded and impressive portfolio. Here’s how:

  • Include a headshot that accurately represents your appearance and personality.
  • Create a resume that highlights your acting experience, training, education, and any special skills.
  • Compile a showreel or demo reel that showcases your acting abilities. Include scenes from your previous work or self-taped auditions.
  • Collect reviews or testimonials from directors, casting agents, and fellow actors that highlight your strengths and talents.
  • Consider creating a website or online portfolio where you can showcase your work and make it easily accessible for industry professionals.

Remember, your acting portfolio should be regularly updated and refined as you gain more experience and discover new opportunities.

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Overall Tips

Here are some overall tips to keep in mind as you build your professional network and create your acting portfolio:

  • Stay active and engaged in the acting community by attending workshops, auditions, and industry events.
  • Continue learning and improving your skills through acting classes or workshops.
  • Explore different areas of acting, such as stage acting, film acting, voice acting, or musical theater, to expand your opportunities.
  • Seek mentorship or guidance from experienced actors or industry professionals.
  • Keep a healthy mindset and be prepared for rejections. Every successful actor has faced numerous rejections, so don’t let them discourage you.
  • Apply to reputable acting schools or universities to further develop your skills and gain a degree in acting.
  • Take charge of your career by actively seeking auditions and networking opportunities.

By following these steps and strategies, you can build a strong network within the acting industry and create an impressive acting portfolio that will help you stand out from the thousands of aspiring actors. Remember to stay dedicated, keep learning, and never lose sight of your passion for acting.

Top Careers for Theatre Majors

If you’ve always had a passion for acting, pursuing a degree in theatre can provide you with the necessary skills and knowledge to turn your talent into a successful career. While many graduates dream of becoming a famous actor or actress, the reality is that the entertainment industry can be competitive and difficult to break into. Luckily, there are a wide range of career options available for theatre majors, providing opportunities to work behind the scenes or in related fields. Here are some top careers for theatre majors:

  • Actor or Actress: Becoming a professional actor or actress is the ultimate goal for many theatre majors. While it can be a challenging and competitive path, pursuing a career as an actor can be incredibly rewarding. From stage productions to film and television, actors have the opportunity to bring characters to life and connect with audiences.
  • Theatre Director: If you have a strong vision and enjoy guiding others, a career as a theatre director may be for you. Directors are responsible for overseeing all aspects of a production, from casting to rehearsals to final performances. They work closely with actors, crew members, and other creative professionals to bring a show to life.
  • Sound Engineer: A career in sound engineering can be a valuable option for theatre majors with technical skills. Sound engineers are responsible for ensuring that the audio elements of a production, such as music, sound effects, and dialogue, are clear and balanced. They work closely with directors and performers to create the desired auditory experience for the audience.
  • Theatre Educator: If you have a passion for teaching and sharing your love of theatre with others, a career as a theatre educator could be a rewarding choice. Theatre educators work in schools or community programs, teaching students about acting techniques, theatre history, and stagecraft. They help students develop their talents and build confidence in their abilities.
  • Stage Manager: Stage managers are responsible for coordinating all aspects of a production behind the scenes. They ensure that everything runs smoothly, from scheduling rehearsals to coordinating with the technical crew. Stage managers are organized, detail-oriented, and excellent communicators.
  • Costume Designer: If you love fashion and have a knack for design, a career as a costume designer could be a great fit. Costume designers work closely with directors and actors to create outfits that enhance the characters and bring the production to life. They consider factors such as historical accuracy, style, and the overall vision of the show.

These are just a few examples of the many career paths available for theatre majors. Whether you choose to pursue a career in front of the camera or behind the scenes, it’s important to be prepared for the challenges and rejections that may come your way. Building strong relationships, honing your craft, and staying dedicated to your goals can increase your chances of success in the theatre industry.


What qualifications do I need to start a career in acting?

While formal qualifications are not always necessary, it is recommended to have a strong foundation in acting techniques. Taking acting classes, participating in theater productions, and obtaining a degree in theater or performing arts can provide valuable knowledge and experience.

How can I get started in acting if I have no experience?

Starting with acting classes and workshops is a great way to gain basic skills and confidence. Building a strong portfolio by participating in local theater productions, student films, or independent projects can also help you gain experience and showcase your talent.

What steps can I take to become a professional actor?

Becoming a professional actor requires dedication and perseverance. Some steps you can take include getting an agent to help you find auditions, networking with industry professionals, consistently improving your acting skills, and being open to taking on different types of roles to gain experience.

Is it necessary to move to a big city like Hollywood to pursue an acting career?

While moving to a big city with a thriving film and theater industry can increase your chances of getting more opportunities, it is not absolutely necessary. Many actors start their careers in smaller markets and then gradually move to bigger cities once they have built up their resume and connections.

What are some common challenges actors face in their careers?

Acting can be a highly competitive industry, and actors often face challenges such as rejection, inconsistent work, and financial instability. Maintaining a positive mindset, staying persistent, and constantly improving your craft are important in overcoming these challenges.

Dave Pennells

By Dave Pennells

Dave Pennells, MS, has contributed his expertise as a career consultant and training specialist across various fields for over 15 years. At City University of Seattle, he offers personal career counseling and conducts workshops focused on practical job search techniques, resume creation, and interview skills. With a Master of Science in Counseling, Pennells specializes in career consulting, conducting career assessments, guiding career transitions, and providing outplacement services. Her professional experience spans multiple sectors, including banking, retail, airlines, non-profit organizations, and the aerospace industry. Additionally, since 2001, he has been actively involved with the Career Development Association of Australia.