Acting and Acting Workshops
People move into acting in various ways so there isn’t one simple route to becoming an actor nowadays. In most cases, if you wish to work professionally as an actor, you will need an Equity (the union that covers the performing arts) card - many productions will only employ actors who have membership here. But, bear in mind that the only way to get an Equity card in many cases is to already have experience/a job in a relevant field.
Let’s take a look at how you can help yourself get started in acting.
- Join amateur productions - the more experience you have of acting, the better your chances of breaking into the industry.
- Get training - some actors go to specific stage, drama and acting schools for long-term courses (which often give them Equity membership as an added bonus) whilst others will simply take the odd acting course here and there.
- Get an agent - agents can give you an ‘in’ to all kinds of acting jobs from TV to radio, theatre and films. Check out agents and put together a CV/portfolio to try and get accepted on their books - remember the more experience you have here the more likely they are to take you on. If you have no previous experience then your chances of getting an agent at this point are slim.
- Get to know people - sometimes the easiest way to break into acting is to know people who are already doing the job. Friends can recommend friends here and knowing production staff may also help.
- Take whatever jobs you can get - don’t hold out for the first big job as it may never come along! Take any job you can get (especially if it gets you an Equity card) and remember that many big names started small and got their lucky break later.
- Think about getting work as an extra - not every extra will make it as a fully fledged actor but if you can get extra work then you may find that it leads to greater things. At the very least you can build up a network of contacts and (in certain cases) you will qualify for membership of Equity!
- Look for open auditions - although many auditions are based on an ‘invite-only’ basis some will work on an open basis where anyone can attend. So, keep an eye out for open auditions in stage and drama magazines and in the press.
Acting workshops can be a great way of learning about working as an actor and giving you some invaluable experience. Many of the top drama and stage schools, for example, will offer workshops here and these can give you a good introduction to how a full-time course would work and also some useful experience in acting techniques.
At the very least, attending acting workshops gives you something to put on your CV and shows that you are taking yourself seriously in terms of breaking into the profession. Many aspiring actors will use workshops to help them gain skills and experience to help make them look a better prospect.