CASTING DIRECTOR BLOG

10 Ways to Get Your First Acting Jobs

12 Aug 2016, Posted by Nicci in Casting Tips

I often hear the plaintive sobs of actors at the start of their career that’s usually goes something like… “That’s all well and good, but how do I break into the industry. I’m not on Spotlight. I don’t have an agent, it’s a conspiracy…”

HOW DO I GET MY FIRST ACTING JOB???

Firstly bear in mind there is no conspiracy theory: they really did land on the moon, there are no aliens in Area 51, Elvis and Margaret Thatcher did not have a love child and oh yes most importantly…

Nobody is conspiring to keep you out of the industry.

The first challenge of the industry is getting in the industry. This applies all across the board in film and TV, and we will give some other examples generally in another blog, but today we will look at some strategies for getting yourself started as an actor.

 

1. Act!

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To paraphrase Basil Fawlty this might sound like “stating the bleedin’ obvious“, but to be an actor you need to act. It has to become like breathing and eating.

Take. Every. Opportunity. To. Act.

It bears repeating!

Take. Every. Opportunity. To. Act.

Not only will this allow you to perfect your art, but it will help you network and also it will give you something for a showreel.

This is the most important rule. Everything else is just detail.

 

2. Weebles wobble…

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But they don’t fall down! If you are younger than 30 this will probably mean nothing to you. Let me explain.

When I was growing up there was an egg-shaped toy that if you pushed it over it would just right itself. The Weeble is the perfect metaphor for what an actor must be.

You can wobble, but you can’t fall down. You have to get back up again. There will be MANY MANY MANY rejections. After each one you have to pull yourself together and live to fight another day and to do that you have to be hungry. You have to want it. You will have to be resilient. You will have to work HARD. You have to channel the Weeble. You will have to earn EVERY role.

 

3. Build Relationships

Take every opportunity to build strong and deep relationships with other creatives. And not just the obvious ones like directors and producers but also other actors, It’s not a competition. Even if two actors are going for the same part, you just need to be the best YOU can be and hope that everything else on the CD and director or producer’s list is aligned. Then hope that the Gods of casting smile down on you.

Building relationships with other actors means that you can recommend each other and have a support network. Being an actor is the best crap job in the world or is it the crappest best job in the world – either way having a safety net who REALLY understand your situation is vital and something that even the most supportive friends and family have no frame of reference for.

 

4. Practice

If you can’t act then practice. Work with your actor chums that you have build relationships with (see 3 above) on scenes to hone your craft. Video it on your phone, critique, adjust then rinse and repeat.

 

5. The University of Life

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Life is an education. Always approach EVERY situation as an opportunity to learn. Dissect it. Log it. Recall it. Your life’s journey’s and experiences will help you be a better actor. Your performance will then always be informed by real life. Be an emotional magpie. Create a diary (paper or even something like Evernote). Think like an actor. Become an actor.

 

6. Be a Class Act

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There are some great classes out there, go forth and Google. Classes enable you to keep trying out new techniques that may or may not work for you, but why worry remember… In Classes Nobody Can Hear You Fail. What you got to lose?

You will also work with different actors which is always a plus and again there are opportunities to build relationships.

 

7. Educating Actor

The internet is great, but also make sure you read real books. There are also some great books that can help your education process I will blog with a list of these sometime soon, but make sure you know Stanislavski from “Stan’s Lav Key” and Meisner from Miserly

Another opportunity to learn is by reading film and TV scripts. There are many dodgy transcripts of film and TV scripts online, but you should ignore these. Invest some money in the “reel deal” at Script City – it will be a revelation!

 

8. Actor For Hire

When you are confident that you have read and practiced and have channeled said Weeble and attended classes then why not contact film schools and see if there looking for actors for any of their films. Sometimes there are just not enough actors to populate the filmmakers focussed on the practical and technical side of filmmaking

 

9. Networking

Part of the building relationships tip really, but you should attend networking events where ever you can. I know many very confident actors who can get on stage in front of hundreds of people and not be phased, but put them in a room of 10 people as themselves and they are knackered.

It can be daunting when you don’t know anybody and they are all talking in their little cliques or groups, but this is a perfect example of putting your acting talents to use. Pretend to be confident and “Fake it until you Make it.” Act like a confident person would.

As I said in a previous blog keep your ear to the ground and get in the middle of projects – Be Part of The Solution Not Part of The Problem.

 

10. Marketing

We will explore making a showreel in a future blog post, but you do need to try and find ways to let the world how bloody great you are. Why not start to blog about what you are up to, try to build up a following use it as a platform for your showreel. Self-promote. Tweet. Facebook. Instagram whatever spread the word.

But bear in mind make sure it is QUALITY. The interwebs doesn’t need to see what you have had for your dinner or to see you slag off your BFF’s ex.

 

A Final Thought

You could marry a sugar daddy and get him to fund a $10m feature film starring you. Maybe not so useful if you are an overweight 53 year old ex builder called Barry. Possibly more applicable if you are a young ingenue.

In fact strike this. This is a rubbish idea. It’s Friday afternoon and I’m obviously past my best. See my other post… Respect yourself!

This is like Rule 1. VITAL.

 

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  • Bill Blackwood

    Brilliant blog. Great advice as always! Thank you!!

    Reply
    • Nicci

      Pleasure thanks for stopping by Bill. Please send on any casting related topics you’d like to get out there 🙂

      Reply
  • Chloe

    Love this!! Thanks Nicci x

    Reply
    • Nicci

      Aww Thanks Chloe! x

      Reply
  • peter owen

    Fantastic post Nicci I’ve fallen so many times I’ve lost count but keep getting back up still jobbing after all these years I’ve had some great jobs but could have had some really great jobs but who knows what tomorrow may bring x one day x

    Reply
  • Gisell Cullinane

    Great advice nicci x

    Reply
    • Nicci

      Thanks Gisell x

      Reply
  • Bill Blackwood

    Nicci you mention more on reading real books for Education. You may have seen it or even know it well but the book I return to repeatedly is The Power of the Actor by Ivana Chubbuck. Very powerful stuff and makes me as an actor more real in what I do. Building Character at its best for me together with Meisner work and regular classes.

    Reply
    • Nicci

      Hey Bill, Good Choice! Yes I know that book indeed and she is the go-to girl in Hollywood.

      Reply
  • Tilly

    Couldn’t have put it better

    Reply
    • Nicci

      Great minds think alike! 🙂

      Reply
  • Christos Liberos

    Hi Nicci
    thank you so so much for your honesty and for your generosity! This is massively helpful! Thank you!

    Reply
    • Nicci

      Thanks Christos, glad it hit a note for you. In an industry full of bs, I like to keep it real 🙂

      Reply
  • Mark

    Always good stuff Nicci. You just have to cultivate the hide of a rhino and realise the only time you fail is when you give up.

    Reply
  • Pontus

    Great blog!

    Reply
    • Nicci

      Cheers 🙂 x

      Reply
  • Jonathan Taylor

    Hi. As a ‘newbie’ to your website (I picked up the link through the BANners Facebook group) thank you for your enlightening advice, put across in this plain-speaking and entertaining blog. I really enjoyed reading it. If I may take the opportunity to ask you for some additional advice, though, please? What tips would you give for finding a credible acting agent? There seem to be just so many agencies out there…! For my personal requirements, I’d be most interested in commercials and voice-over work – but any and all advice would be gratefully received. Thanks again.

    Reply
    • Nicci

      Thanks Jonathan I have it on my list to do a blog about finding and working with agents, so maybe I’ll bump it up a few weeks if I have chance.x

      Reply
  • Jamie Bannerman

    Amazing Nikki, also love your friendly castings thank you x

    Reply
  • Mark Prescott

    Thanks Nicci. It was a nicely put approach too! Mark.

    Reply
  • Miranda Colmans

    Thanks Nicci – this is so positive and encouraging, looking forward to the next one!

    Reply
    • Nicci

      Thanks Miranda. x

      Reply
  • Isobella Hubbard

    Fantastically written and very helpful info!! Thanks Nicci! Let’s weeble on 🙂

    Reply
    • Nicci

      Thanks Isobella! Every Actor Weeble who has made it needs a Weeble actor’s trailer in their contract, that and a personal trainer, and only blue smarties and a personal hairdresser and……..

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAcDcD8SIf8

      Reply
  • John Foulger

    Hello Nicci,
    Excellent working advice and some nice giggles . Hope you have recovered from our last meeting ( hahahaha ). Thank you

    Reply
    • Nicci

      Thanks John. Glad it made you smile. x

      Reply
  • Anonymous

    Thanks Nicci,

    I’ll be weebling it from here on out!

    Amanda (from Cannes 2016) xx

    Reply

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