Acting Career Advice: The Business of Acting

Posted on 28 June 2016



Acting is an industry and, like any industry, you need more than just an understanding of your craft to succeed. To become a successful professional actor, you have to understand the business side of the industry – how to get work, how to present yourself, how to keep on moving onwards and upwards.

The greatest actors in the world would not have the careers that they do if they didn’t understand that acting is a business. If you are determined to become a professional actor (and you do need to be determined if you want to make it!) then you need to learn the business skills to back up your acting chops. Fail to do that, and your career will never get off the ground.


Marketing yourself as an actor

Getting yourself noticed is something all aspiring actors are desperate for, but how do you do it? Understanding how to market yourself will mean that your talent doesn’t go unnoticed. After all, it doesn’t matter how good you are if nobody ever sees it.

There are a number of basic ways you can market yourself as actor, but the important thing is to show yourself off in the best possible way and make sure that the right people see it. Learn who the gatekeepers of the industry are, what they are looking for and how to get yourself in front of them and your chances of success will be infinitely increased.

Make sure you have all the fundamentals covered, like a professional acting CV, good quality head shots and an acting show reel if at all possible. These are essential tools of the trade. Without them you are unlikely to be taken seriously as a professional and it will be virtually impossible for you to get work.


Getting an agent

Although not every actor has an agent, most do and with good reason. A good agent will understand the industry much better than you do and will already have loads of useful connections with casting directors and other industry gatekeepers. Your agent is a major asset, both as an advocate for your talent and as a career advisor helping to steer you to success.

Finding representation can seem impossible, but the trick is to do your research. Find out which agents represent actors looking for the kind of work you are interested in, then send them your CV, headshots and a one-page covering letter.

When you meet a potential agent, make sure they’re right for you before signing on the dotted line. The wrong agent can do more harm than good, so make sure you know the right questions to ask to weed out the good from the bad.


Understanding auditions

Being offered an audition doesn’t mean you’ve made it and success isn’t just about turning up and giving a good reading. You need to understand how to handle an audition when you get there and what you are really aiming to get out of it.

If you want to be a professional, then you have to know how to behave professionally at auditions. Remember, this is your business, so treat it as such. Don’t take feedback or rejection personally and realise that you will probably have to spend at least 80% of your time auditioning in order to spend 20% of it actually acting.

It’s also important to understand that, even though you won’t get every audition you go for, if you make a good impression the casting director will remember you. That means next time they have a role you could be a good fit for, they may just jump you to the head of the queue.


Never stop learning

No matter how good you were in your school plays or at your local theatre group, nobody is just a naturally brilliant actor. In any other career you would be expected to constantly learn and develop new skills to stay up-to-date with the competition – acting is no different. You have to work at improving your acting skills and your knowledge of the industry.

How do you do this? Take classes. Go to workshops. Attend networking events. Continuously push yourself to get better. It takes that level of commitment to succeed. Don’t think you can just sit around applying for additions and think your big break will just come along somehow – it won’t. Learning to become an actor is a lifelong commitment – the moment you think you have it all figured out is when you stop progressing and allow everyone else to overtake you.


Make persistence your superpower

“A lot of folks got the wrong idea about how I got my breaks. I’m sure they thought I tough-guyed my way up to the studio boss and bullied myself into a part. No way. I worked hard and if you work hard you get the goodies.” – Steve McQueen

Having the right attitude is half the battle. It’s not enough to have a vague aspiration to be an actor, you need to be prepared to work at it, keep working at it and then work at it some more. Again, this is a business, so you will have to do some work – it’s not all swanning around, sipping chardonnay in your trailer between takes. If you’re not prepared to put in the hard graft then acting really isn’t for you. It’s not an easy profession, whatever people might tell you!

Making it as an actor means spending hundreds of hours sending out CVs, going to auditions, standing around waiting, and constantly doing everything you can to practice and improve your craft. If you’re not prepared for that level of effort you really are looking at the wrong career!


Learn the business of acting

The Brian Timoney Actors’ Studio stands out from many other acting courses for a number of reasons, but perhaps most fundamentally because we are 100% focused on turning our students into working professional actors. As well as offering unrivalled tuition in the secrets of method acting, we also have a heavy emphasis on the business of acting. That means we give you all the acting career advice and guidance you need, so that when you leave our course you can go straight out and start working professionally.

Our year-long Ultimate Acting Programme is the best course around for aspiring professional actors, so, if you are ready to turn your acting dreams into a reality, you need look no further. Places on the course are decided by audition and competition is fierce as we only take 16 students at a time. The next round of auditions take place on 27th July 2016 and the application deadline is 20th July, so don’t delay, get that application in now!

To find out more, please take a look around the rest of the website and, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


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