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Breaking into Acting

What You Can Do Now to Get Started

By

Literally thousands of people – young, old, and in between – are looking for ways of breaking into acting right now. Waiting for a promised returned phone call. Waiting for a friend on the inside to help. Waiting for the perfect moment to get started.

You don’t need to wait. Start doing the things that you and no one else can do to get your acting career under way now.

1. Treat It Like a Job

Commit now to invest at least one hour a day in your acting career. This is work. Remember, it’s called “show business” not “show fun.”

You’ll be amazed how much you accomplish with a relatively small amount of daily time invested. And with that commitment, you immediately take yourself out of the ranks of “wanna be’s” and join the ranks of “gonna be’s.”

  • Read a book
  • Subscribe to a trade paper
  • Take a friend who acts to lunch
  • Scan the websites of all local theaters
  • Talk to the theater department head at a local college

Do something! Take yourself seriously and others will, too. With one hour a day of consistent effort, you are already ahead of the pack.

2. Set Goals

Make the best use of your daily effort by determining your goals. Do you want to star on Broadway? Do you want to make a living acting where you are now? Are you happy with supporting roles in community productions?

Be realistic. There are no bad goals, but aim for a mark you can hit.

Write your goals down and keep them in view. Put them on a card by your bed. Tape them to your mirror. Share them with a trusted friend. They aren’t wishes, they’re goals, and goals are something you work toward seriously and consistently.

3. Make a Career Plan

With your ultimate goals in mind, start working backwards to determine the steps you must take to get where you want to go.

  • Be specific.
  • Create a realistic timeline.
  • Establish “mile markers,” or short-term goals, you can check off along the way.

The power of a plan is that it focuses your efforts. It will make every minute of your daily work count. The most successful actors I know have plans for their careers.

Plans can change, so be flexible, but be consistent. As you begin to accomplish your goals you’ll find your plan needs adjusting. Don’t worry. You’re in charge of the plan, not the other way around.

4. Acquire Skills and Tools

Your goal-based plan will quickly reveal what you need to succeed. For example, as you plan to begin auditioning at open calls locally, you need to know about auditioning. If you don’t know about it, get a book on the subject (yes, there are books on auditioning). There’s even a Dummies guide to breaking into acting!

Never fear what you don’t know. When I first wanted to get into writing for theater, I checked out a book of scripts from the library because I had never seen a script. The show resulting from that effort took top honors in a scriptwriting competition and received a full production.

5. Get Beyond Your Comfort Zone

If the steps above are to be of any help, they must lead you to real interaction with the theater community in your area. If at this point that’s high school or college, fine; community theater, fine; or commercial theater . . . you get the idea.

Attend theater productions. Meet people in your local theater scene. Volunteer when a theater needs it.

    Remember:
  • This is a job, treat it like one
  • Know where you’re going
  • Plan how to get there
  • Work daily toward it

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