For those who want to pursue an acting career
1. Get a Theatre/English degree/diploma/ -- schooling is paramount for this type of career. There are many educational institutions – universities, colleges or community colleges that grant degrees of diplomas in Theatre or English. Here, you will learn the theories and methods of acting, projecting yourself and your voice in different settings. Training of this kind is invaluable to potential actors as it gives the solid footing needed to build on as an actor. You may feel that you have the talent required to make it in the big time, but talent simply is not enough. It is the combination of theory (schooling) and talent that gives the extraordinary actors an edge over the ordinary. If obtaining a degree or diploma isn't possible, for whatever reason, you can sign up to take a course or two when time allows.
2. Further your education with special workshops – once you have the academic experience behind you, continuing to perfect your techniques is the next step. Voice, singing and movement are workshops usually offered that focus on specific aspects of acting. These workshops offer tips exclusively geared toward improving your skills in these areas. Large cities often have studios that offer these courses all the time and smaller areas community courses offer them sporadically. Wherever you live, in a big city of a smaller community, you should grab the opportunity to take these courses as often as possible and continue to expand your acting abilities.
3. Get to know the industry – attend as many industry-related functions as possible. This can be absolutely anything related to theatre, screen or television. Events such as television launches are excellent ways to meet the movers and shakers of the acting industry. Once you are at these events, don't stand back and just watch. Network, network, network. Again, acting is like any other industry – it helps to get to know people in the business. They can keep you abreast of an upcoming projects, films or television shows or let you know of casting calls for your particular type.
4. Participate in theatre and film festivals abroad – now, you may be thinking that this is in no way possible, but it is. If you are really serious about making it big, then you need to expand your horizons by attending events outside of the country. Once upon a time, if you were serious in your attempts to become an actor, the Canadian government offered grants for attending festivals in such locations as England, Scotland and France.
5. Get a reputable agent – once you have your headshots and portfolio in hand (a staple for any actor) you need to find someone to represent you and find some work. This is not as easy task. You need to find someone who understands your acting ability and range(s) and with whom you feel comfortable. They also need to have a proven track record. Maintaining an honest and open relationship is the only way this type of intimate relationship will work, since they will take 15% of your income for any film and television work they land as well as 10% for any theatre work.
6. Be well prepared for work—the general rule of thumb is that you will audition ten times for every one job you get short-listed for. These odds are not high. Have patience. One way to keep your cool as you play the waiting game is to keep your headshots and resume current. (see hint #8)
7. Always wear two suits of armour—one suit is the one you wear to your auditions. Whatever they say, however they react to your audition always, always thank them nicely and with a smile. Remember you don't want to burn any bridges that you may need to cross further down the line. The other suit your need to wear is one that no one can see. This suit is the one you will need to keep your confidence and ego intact. Your ego and self confidence can take quite and beating going to so many auditions and only getting one or two callbacks. Don't despair. This is the way it works. It may not be your acting, it might simply be that they are looking for a different type. Keep your internal shields up as well as your spirits.
8. Create your own projects – to fill the downtime between work projects it is always a good idea to keep yourself busy. One way to do this, and increase your resume, is to make your own projects. Sign up to perform in a local theatre production. Volunteer to MC a variety show. This way you are always practicing your skills and not losing any momentum even if it is an amateur production or for free.
9. Keep your mind, body, spirit and health positive – if you are tired, burned out or not feeling well, you are not going to give the audition you should when you most need to. Remember that internal suit of armour? Well, if your spirit isn't positive, there is no way you are going to combat the potential doubt you are feeling. Read a book purely for entertainment. Or pick up the latest acting guide on voice projection. Sign up for a yoga or meditation class. Go for a relaxing neck, back or shoulder massage. Make sure you eat well – all the food groups– and minimize alcohol intake. If you don't take care of you, it will show through your acting.
10. Have a plan B – always have another career to pay the bills. Some interviews you may have read about successful actors usually includes a stint as a server or bartender....You should have some sort of back-up job to fall back on for the times in between acting gigs.
While these helpful steps are aimed specifically at becoming an actor, most of them apply to other areas of the industry such as becoming an extra or doing voice-over work. To become an extra in film or television you need to register with an agency that does this type of casting. If you are interested in doing any voice-over work, you should consider enrolling in a radio or broadcasting course to learn the techniques of voice projection.