How Do I Become An Actor?2010-09-03
How Do I Become An Actor?
One question all aspiring actors eventually have to ask themselves is: How Do I Become an Actor? The truth is there are many avenues to becoming an actor, each individual actor carving out his or her own path depending on their own strengths as a performer. Below, we will outline the most common routes to break into show business, thereby answering that complex question of how do I become an actor? You may be surprised to learn that there are several avenues to establishing yourself as a paid performer, some admittedly easier than others, but all of them equally valid and equally as likely to help you land the career of your dreams. So let’s explore the various answers to that befuddling question of how do I become an actor?
Perhaps the most ‘classic’ route to becoming an actor is the simplest: study it. Many of the world’s finest actors spent years studying acting in their formative years, performing everything from Shakespeare and Chaucer to performance pieces and improvisation popular in little black box theaters. Once you have acquired sufficient training (this can include everything from acting in school plays to earning a Master’s in Fine Arts or even a PhD in playwriting), you can begin to work your way into theatrical productions where you can do everything from acting and writing to directing and lighting. Many of Hollywood’s top actors started off working stagecraft jobs, such as Tom Hanks who once thought he would spend his life building sets and painting backgrounds. We all know how that worked out, don’t we?
Another common route is to begin by modeling, not just on the runway, but in catalogs, commercials and even live events. A great deal of Hollywood’s most recognizable names started off as models, including Michelle Pfieffer, Rene Russo and even Matt Damon. Currently, Spanish supermodel Jon Kortajarena won a lot of notice for his performance in A Single Man opposite Colin Firth. You can expect to see him in many more film roles in the future.
Another thing you can do to have a career as an actor is to simply go out on auditions and see what type of roles you are able to land. Some people simply have a natural capacity to perform and can land roles without much training or professional experience. It isn’t unheard of for people with little to no experience to land roles that launch big careers, especially for young children. After all, everybody has to start somewhere . . .
If you are someone with a special or unique skill, it may help give you an edge to land roles that lead to a career in acting. For example, many producers look specifically for singers, dancers, acrobats, athletes, martial arts experts, etc. when casting certain roles. The performer’s unique skill is more important than their acting ability and producers will be eager to sign someone who can contribute to their project. Don’t forget that Jennifer Lopez got her start as a backup dancer. If you have something else that no one else does, use it to sell yourself! This is especially true of international and foreign productions such as Bollywood films which love to cast foreigners as background artists and dancers in nearly every project shot overseas.
Another somewhat common route to becoming an actor is to be funny! And by that we mean you spend time doing stand-up comedy or improv at your local comedy club. You can even do it at local colleges and high schools that sometimes pay comedians to perform for students. You don’t necessarily have to be at Second City in Chicago to build your comedy and improve credentials. It also helps if you can write comedy material: look at Tina Fey! She spent years working as the head writer on Saturday Night Live, ultimately being rewarded with her own series (30 Rock) on NBC for which she now has multiple Emmys. Not bad for a comedy nerd with glasses!