October 24, 2023
5 min read
Cress Warnell

An easy to follow guide to launching your acting career

Have you dreamed of stepping into the spotlight and captivating audiences with your acting talent?

If you've ever wondered how to become a professional actor, this guide is a great place to start. This definitive guide will equip you with all the knowledge and insights you could need to embark on a rewarding career in acting.

An actor is a skilled performer who brings characters and stories to life, through interpretation and portrayal. Actors inhabit the world of a script, immersing themselves in emotions, actions, and motivations of their characters, and deliver captivating performances that resonate with audiences.

Overview of a Career in Acting

Becoming a full time actor can be a dynamic and fulfilling career, providing opportunities for personal and artistic growth. As an actor, you may find yourself on-stage or on-screen, entertaining and inspiring others through a variety of mediums such as theatre, television, film, or even voice acting for animations or video games.

Acting careers can span a wide range of genres and roles, from dramatic to comedic, and from leading characters to supporting ones. Your journey as an actor will most likely be varied and ever-changing, allowing you to tackle challenging and diverse projects, keeping your creative juices flowing.

Importance of Skills, Experience, and Training

While talent is undoubtedly important, as an aspiring actor you should understand the significance of skills, experience, and training. Developing fundamental acting techniques, honing your craft through practice and experience, and seeking professional training can greatly improve your chances of success in the often highly competitive field of acting.

Building a versatile skill set, including (but not limited to):

  • voice control
  • improvisation
  • stage presence
  • emotional range
  • the ability to take direction

will enable you to tackle a wide array of acting challenges and portray characters with depth and authenticity.

Furthermore, gaining practical experience through auditions, community theatre productions, school plays, or short films can help you refine your skills, expand your network, and showcase your talent to industry professionals.

To truly master the craft, aspiring actors may choose to pursue formal training, such as enrolling in acting schools, workshops, or degree programs. These educational opportunities provide structured learning environments, guidance from experienced instructors, and the chance to collaborate with like-minded individuals, aiding in your personal growth and development as an actor.

So, if you're ready to unlock your potential and pursue a career on the stage or screen, follow our comprehensive guide on how to become an actor and take your first steps towards making your acting dreams come true!

Exploring Different Acting Genres: Theatre, Film, Television, and Voice-Over

Acting offers a diverse range of opportunities across various genres. From the traditional and timeless world of theatre to the captivating and immersive world of film and television, each genre presents unique challenges and rewards. Additionally, the voice-over industry has gained significant popularity, providing actors with a chance to showcase their talents through animation, commercials, and audiobooks.

Differences and Similarities Between Stage and Screen Acting

While both stage and screen acting require actors to embody different characters and tell compelling stories, there are notable differences between the two. Stage acting involves projecting emotions to a live audience, whereas screen acting demands a more subtle and nuanced approach to convey emotions through the lens of a camera. Despite these differences, strong acting skills and the ability to connect with the audience remain crucial for success in both mediums.

Overview of the Job Market: Opportunities and Challenges

The acting industry is highly competitive, with numerous aspiring actors vying for limited opportunities. However, with the rise of streaming platforms and the expansion of international markets, the demand for actors has also increased. It is necessary most actors to have a comprehensive understanding of the job market and the various challenges that actors face, such as fierce competition, rejection, and the need for constant self-promotion.

Developing Essential Acting Skills

Acting is a craft that requires a unique set of skills. To become a successful actor, it is essential to continually develop and improve these skills. In this section, we will explore various areas where you can focus your efforts to master the art of acting.

Acting Techniques

One of the foundations of acting is understanding different acting techniques. There are several popular ones, including Stanislavski's method, Method Acting, and the Meisner Technique. Each acting technique offers a unique approach to portraying characters realistically and immersing oneself in their emotions. By studying and practicing these techniques, you can expand your range and deepen your acting abilities.

Improving Vocal and Speech Skills

A great actor needs to have excellent vocal and speech skills. This involves developing clarity, diction, intonation, and projection. By practicing vocal exercises and working with vocal and acting coaches, you can enhance your ability to communicate effectively on stage and screen. Remember, the way you deliver your lines can significantly impact how the audience perceives and connects with your character.

Enhancing Physicality and Body Language

Physicality and body language play a crucial role in acting. It is essential to be aware of your body and how it can express emotions and tell a story. By studying movement, posture, gestures, and facial expressions, you can bring more depth and authenticity to your performances. Experiment with different physical techniques and explore how your body can convey meaning and enhance the characters you portray.

Emotional Expression and Character Development

Acting is about creating believable and compelling characters. To achieve this, you must develop your emotional expression and master the art of character development. Understanding human emotions and being able to tap into your own emotions can help you create rich and nuanced performances. Dive deep into the psyche of your characters, their backgrounds, motivations, and relationships to bring them to life on stage or in front of the camera.

By focusing on these essential acting skills, you can continually refine your craft and become a versatile and captivating actor. Remember, acting is a journey of learning and growth, so never stop challenging yourself to expand your horizons and push your limits.

Getting Started: Education and Training

When it comes to pursuing a career as casting director or an actor, education and training play a crucial role in honing your skills and preparing you for the competitive industry. Here are some key steps to help you get started.

Choosing the Right Acting School or Training Program

The first step in your journey to becoming an actor is to find a reputable acting school or training program that aligns with your goals and aspirations. Take the time to research different options, considering factors such as the school's curriculum, faculty, industry connections, and alumni success. Look for schools that offer practical training, diverse acting techniques, and opportunities for performance.

Importance of a Well-Rounded Education in Theatre and Performing Arts

While formal education is not a prerequisite for success in the acting industry, pursuing a well-rounded education in theatre and performing arts can provide a solid foundation for your career. Consider enrolling in a degree program that offers courses in acting, voice and speech, movement, improvisation, stagecraft, and more. A comprehensive education will help you develop a broader understanding of the craft and equip you with versatile skills that can be applied to various roles and genres.

Gaining Experience Through Community Theatre or Local Productions

Getting involved in community theatre or local productions is an excellent way to gain practical acting experience and build your acting portfolio. Seek opportunities to audition for community theatre groups, local productions, or student films. These experiences will not only help you sharpen your acting skills but also provide a platform to network with other theatre enthusiasts and industry professionals.

Joining Acting Workshops, Classes, and Courses

Continuing education is vital for actors looking to refine their craft and stay updated with industry trends. Consider joining acting workshops, classes, and courses to expand your skillset and learn new techniques. These opportunities can provide valuable insights, mentorship, and a chance to collaborate with other aspiring actors.

Remember, becoming an actor is a journey that requires dedication, passion, and perseverance. By investing in your education and training, you're equipping yourself with the necessary tools to thrive in this competitive industry.

Build Your Acting Portfolio

Creating a strong acting portfolio is crucial for aspiring actors looking to succeed in the industry. A portfolio or showreel allows you to showcase your talent and abilities to casting directors, agents, and other industry professionals. Here are some key factors to consider when building your acting portfolio.

Importance of a Portfolio or Showreel

A well-crafted portfolio or showreel is often the first impression you make on casting directors. It provides them with a visual representation of your skills, range, and versatility as an actor. A strong portfolio can greatly increase your chances of being called for auditions and landing roles.

Selecting and Preparing Monologues, Scenes, and Audition Materials

When building your portfolio, it's important to carefully select and prepare monologues, scenes, and audition materials that highlight your strengths and showcase your acting abilities. Choose pieces that allow you to display a range of emotions, characters, and genres.

Showcasing Range and Versatility

One of the main goals of your portfolio is to demonstrate your range and versatility as an actor. Include a variety of monologues and scenes that showcase your ability to portray different characters and emotions. This will help casting directors gauge your potential to fit various roles.

Collaborating with Film Students or Amateur Filmmakers for Reel Footage

In addition to traditional monologues and scenes, it can be beneficial to collaborate with film students or amateur filmmakers to create reel footage for your portfolio. This can provide a more realistic representation of your acting abilities and give you an edge over other actors.

Building a strong acting portfolio is a continuous process that requires time, effort, and dedication. Regularly update and refine your portfolio as you gain more experience and improve your skills. Remember, a well-crafted portfolio can greatly increase your chances of success in the acting industry.

Finding Acting Agents and Representation

Once you have developed your essential acting skills and built a solid portfolio, the next step in becoming an actor is to find an acting coach, agents and representation. Acting agents play a crucial role in helping actors secure auditions and land roles in the industry. Here are some important steps to follow.

Understanding the Role of Acting Agents

Acting agents act as a bridge between actors and casting directors. They have connections in the industry and can significantly improve your chances of getting auditions for roles that match your skills and experience. Agents also negotiate contracts, help manage your career, and provide guidance along the way.

Researching and Networking to Find Agents

It is important to research and identify reputable acting agencies that specialize in your desired type of acting, such as film, television, theater, or voice-over. Look for agencies that have a good reputation and a record of representing successful actors.

Networking is also crucial in the acting industry. Attend industry events, workshops, and seminars to meet professionals and make connections. Building relationships with casting directors, actors, and other industry professionals can help you gain valuable insights and recommendations for reputable acting agents.

Preparing and Submitting Headshots, Resumes, and Demo Reels

Once you have identified potential acting agents, it's time to prepare your submission materials. This your marketing materials typically includes a professional headshot, an acting resume that highlights your training, experience, and skills, and a demo reel showcasing your acting abilities.

Your headshot should accurately represent your appearance and personality, while your acting resume should be concise and well-organized. Include details about your acting training, previous roles, relevant skills, and any notable achievements.

Your demo reel should be a compilation of your best acting work, demonstrating a range of emotions and characters. Make sure it is edited professionally and showcases your talent effectively in a short amount of time.

Getting Auditions and Joining Casting Platforms

Acting agents will submit your materials to casting directors on your behalf, increasing your chances of securing auditions. They have inside knowledge of casting opportunities and can help you get noticed for suitable roles.

In addition to relying solely on acting agents, you can also explore casting platforms and websites where casting notices are posted. Joining these platforms allows you to directly submit your materials for specific roles, giving you more control over your audition opportunities.

Remember, finding acting agents and representation can be a competitive process. Stay persistent, continue honing your craft, and take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. Good luck on your journey to becoming an actor!

Auditioning Tips and Tricks

Preparing for auditions can be nerve-wracking, but with the right tips and tricks, you can confidently showcase your acting skills. Here are some essential strategies to help you excel in auditions.

Researching the Role and Production

Before attending an audition, it is crucial to thoroughly research the role you are auditioning for as well as the production. Understanding the character's background, motivations, and relationships will help you bring depth and authenticity to your performance. Additionally, familiarise yourself with the play, film, or TV show your musical theater audition for, as this will enable you to align your performance with the overall tone and style of the production.

Selecting and Presenting Audition Materials

Choose audition materials that showcase your range and strengths as an actor. Consider selecting monologues or scenes that allow you to demonstrate your ability to portray different emotions and characters. It is essential to practice and memorise your audition materials thoroughly. Confidence and preparation are key to delivering a compelling performance that stands out to casting directors.

Overcoming Stage Fright and Performance Anxiety

Stage fright and performance anxiety are common challenges that actors face during auditions. To overcome these hurdles, adopt relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises and visualisation. It is also helpful to practice your audition in front of friends or in acting classes to build your confidence. Remember to embrace the nerves as they can fuel your performance, making it more authentic and engaging.

Techniques for Nailing Cold Readings and Improvisation

Cold readings and improvisation are often required in auditions. To excel in these situations, focus on active listening and being present in the moment. React and respond to the given circumstances in a genuine and spontaneous manner. Trust your instincts and embrace the unexpected, as it can lead to unique and memorable performances.

Crafting Your Acting Resume

Creating an Effective Acting Resume: Format and Content

When it comes to crafting your acting resume, format and content play a crucial role in making a strong impression on casting directors and agents. A well-structured and professional-looking resume can significantly increase your chances of getting noticed in the competitive acting industry.

Highlighting Training, Education, and Experience

Your acting resume should begin with a section dedicated to your training, education, and experience. List any acting classes, workshops, or courses you have taken, as well as any degrees or certifications you have attained. Include the name of the institution or the acting class or school, the date of completion, and any major achievements or awards.

Listing Relevant Skills, Special Talents, and Certifications

In addition to your training and education, your resume should showcase your relevant skills, special talents, and certifications. Highlight any specific acting techniques you have mastered, such as improvisation, voice training, or stage combat. Mention any unique talents or skills that set you apart from other actors, such as singing, dancing, or playing a musical instrument. If you have obtained any certifications related to acting or performance, include them as well.

Including Professional Headshots and Contact Information

A professional headshot is an essential component of your acting resume. It gives casting directors and agents a visual representation of your appearance and allows them to envision you in different roles. Include a high-quality headshot that reflects your personality and showcases your versatility as an actor.

Along with your headshot, be sure to include your contact information on your resume. Provide your full name, phone number, email address, and any relevant social media handles. This will allow industry professionals to easily reach out to you for auditions or further discussions.

Remember, your acting resume should be concise, easy to read, and tailored to each specific audition or role. Take the time to regularly update and refine your resume to ensure it accurately reflects your current skills, experience, and goals as an actor.

Importance of Persistence and Perseverance

Being an actor is not an easy path. It requires immense dedication and perseverance. In this section, we will explore the importance of persistence and perseverance in building a successful acting career.

Understanding the Long-Term Nature of an Acting Career

Becoming an actor is not an overnight process. It takes time and a lot of hard work to establish yourself in the film industry. It's important to understand that success may not come right away, but with persistence, you can achieve your goals.

Acting is a marathon, not a sprint. It's about constantly honing your skills, building connections, and seizing opportunities. By staying committed and persistent, you increase your chances of long-term success in this competitive industry.

Overcoming Rejection and Fostering Resilience

Rejection is a common part of an actor's journey. You will face auditions where you don't get the role, casting directors who don't see your potential, and countless disappointments along the way. However, it's important to remember that rejection doesn't define your worth as an actor.

Being persistent means bouncing back from rejection. It's about learning from each experience and using it as fuel to improve yourself. Building resilience will enable you to keep going despite setbacks, ultimately leading you closer to your goals.

Developing a Strong Work Ethic and Dedication

To succeed as an actor in show business, having a strong work ethic is crucial. This means putting in the hours, continuously training, and always striving to improve. Acting requires discipline and dedication, as there will be times when you need to push past your comfort zone.

By developing a strong work ethic, you differentiate yourself from the competition. It shows casting directors and agents that you are reliable, committed, and passionate about your craft. In an industry where hard work is valued, persistence and dedication can set you apart.

The Role of Networking and Building Relationships in the Industry

Networking and building relationships are vital in the acting industry. Being persistent in your networking efforts can lead to invaluable opportunities and connections. Attend industry events, join acting organizations, and engage with fellow actors, directors, and producers.

Building genuine relationships allows you to learn from others, gain insights into the industry, and potentially open doors for future roles. It's through these connections that opportunities often arise, reinforcing the importance of persistence in building your acting career.

Acting as a career

After exploring the various aspects of becoming an actor, it's clear that pursuing a career in acting requires passion, dedication, and hard work. In this journey, it's important to remember the following key points and steps:

  • Understand the acting industry and its demands.
  • Develop essential acting skills through training and practice.
  • Invest in education and training opportunities to enhance your abilities.
  • Build a strong acting portfolio showcasing your talent and versatility.
  • Seek representation through acting agents to open doors and opportunities.
  • Master auditioning techniques and strategies to stand out from the competition.
  • Create a compelling acting resume that highlights your experiences and achievements.
  • Embrace persistence and perseverance as vital traits for success in the industry.

Remember, the road to becoming an actor can be challenging, but the rewards are truly fulfilling. The acting industry offers a platform to express yourself creatively, connect with diverse audiences, and bring stories to life. Be encouraged and motivated to pursue your dreams, knowing that with determination and continuous effort, you can carve your path in this dynamic profession.

As you embark on this exciting journey, always keep in mind that success in acting is subjective. Celebrate every step you take, whether big or small, and stay true to yourself. Your uniqueness and authenticity are what will set you apart and make you a memorable actor.

Finally, embrace the ups and downs of the acting profession. Cherish the moments of triumph, learn from the setbacks, and grow as an artist. Being an actor is about more than just fame and recognition; it's about the joy of self-expression and the ability to touch lives through your craft.

So go forth, aspiring actor, and let your talent shine. Break a leg!

Become an Actor

Embarking on a career in acting can be both exciting and challenging. Here are a few important steps to help you on your journey to becoming an actor:

  • Discover your passion: Acting requires immense dedication and a true love for the craft. Take some time to assess your passion for acting and understand if this is the path you truly want to pursue.
  • Develop your skills: Join acting classes or workshops to enhance your acting skills. These courses can teach you various techniques, such as improvisation, character development, voice modulation, and stage presence.
  • Build your resume: Participate in local theater productions, community events, or student films to gain practical experience and start building your acting resume. Every opportunity can add value to your portfolio, so be open to different projects.
  • Network: Attend industry events, join acting groups, and connect with fellow actors, directors, and casting agents. Networking plays a crucial role in the acting industry and can help you discover new opportunities and connections.
  • Get an agent: Once you have a strong foundation and some experience, consider getting an agent who can represent you and help you secure auditions for professional gigs. An agent can also provide valuable guidance and support throughout your acting career.
  • Audition: Audition for various roles and projects to showcase your skills. Practice your monologues, prepare your acting portfolio, and take every audition as a learning experience, regardless of the outcome.
  • Never stop learning: Acting is a continuous learning process. Stay dedicated to your craft by attending workshops, watching performances, and staying updated on industry trends.
  • Persevere and stay resilient: Rejection is a common part of the acting industry. Learn to handle criticism positively and keep moving forward. Perseverance and resilience are key qualities that can help you overcome challenges and achieve success.


Building experience is an integral part of becoming a successful actor. Whether you are just starting your journey or looking to progress your career, gaining hands-on experience will help you refine your craft and open doors to exciting opportunities.

Training: Pursuing formal education or attending acting classes is a great way to learn and improve your skills as an actor. Acting schools and workshops provide a structured environment where you can receive valuable guidance and feedback from experienced professionals.

Career: As you gain experience in the acting industry, the opportunities for building your career will start to present themselves. Start by auditioning for local theater productions, student films, or community projects. These avenues can serve as valuable stepping stones towards bigger roles and professional relationships.

Skills: Continuously honing your acting skills is crucial for success. This includes not only performing on stage or in front of the camera but also developing skills such as voice control, physical expressiveness, improvisation, and script analysis. The more versatile and adaptable you are as an actor, the greater your chances of landing the desired roles.

Job: As an actor, your job is to immerse yourself in various roles, bringing characters to life and captivating audiences. Seeking auditions, submitting your portfolio and headshots, networking with industry professionals, and maintaining a strong online presence are all essential components of securing acting jobs. Persistence, resilience, and a strong dedication to your craft are key in this competitive field.

Last thoughts

Understanding the significance of bodies in the acting industry is paramount for anyone aspiring to become an actor. The power of your physical presence on stage should never be underestimated, as it contributes significantly to the magic and authenticity of a performance. Embrace the opportunities that the acting industry offers, and remember that your body, in all its unique glory, can become a powerful instrument in captivating audiences and inspiring fellow performers.

Cress Warnell

Cress is a skilled copywriter who transforms ideas into captivating content. With a passion for words and a keen eye for detail, she crafts compelling copy for Summer Schools, helping students explore their options in education.

Contact us

Thank you for visiting Summer Schools!

We value your feedback and are always here to help with any questions or concerns you may have. Please use the following template to help us better understand your enquiry:

Our mission is to help connect curious students with world class summer school programmes.

We aim to respond to all inquiries within 24 hours. If you require an urgent response, please don't hesitate to email us at: rob@oxfordsummercourses.com
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.