How to Become an Actor: A Complete Guide to Starting Your Acting Career

Becoming an actor is a dream for many people, but it can be a challenging and competitive industry to break into. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of actors is projected to grow 3 percent from 2019 to 2029, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations. This means that while there may be opportunities available, there are also many talented individuals vying for those roles. However, with passion, dedication, and hard work, anyone can pursue their dream of becoming an actor. In this guide, we will provide you with all the essential information and steps needed to help you start your acting career. From developing your acting skills to networking and auditioning, we’ve got you covered.


Acting is a career that many people dream of pursuing. It offers the opportunity to step into different characters, explore new emotions, and tell stories that have the power to move audiences. However, becoming an actor requires hard work, dedication, and a willingness to take risks. In this guide, we will provide you with all the information you need to start your journey as an actor. From developing your acting skills and building your resume to networking and auditioning for roles, we’ll cover everything you need to know to succeed in this competitive industry. Whether you’re just starting out or looking to take your career to the next level, this guide will give you the tools and insights you need to achieve your goals. So let’s dive in and explore the exciting world of acting together!

Step 1: Develop Your Acting Skills

Take Acting Classes

One of the most important steps to becoming an actor is taking acting classes. Whether you’re a beginner or seasoned performer, enrolling in acting classes can help you develop your skills and improve your craft.

Acting classes can be found at a variety of institutions, including drama schools, community centers, and private studios. Drama schools offer more formal training programs that typically last anywhere from one to four years and culminate in a degree or diploma. Private studios and community centers, on the other hand, may offer shorter courses or workshops that focus on specific areas of performance.

When choosing an acting class, it’s important to consider the expertise of the instructor. Look for teachers who have experience working professionally in the industry and who have a teaching style that resonates with you. You may also want to consider the size of the class, as smaller groups can often allow for more personalized attention and feedback.

Acting classes can cover a range of topics, including improvisation, scene work, script analysis, and voice and movement training. Some classes may also focus on specific genres, such as comedy or drama. No matter what area of performance you’re interested in, there’s likely an acting class that can help you improve your skills.

In addition to honing your craft, taking acting classes can also provide valuable networking opportunities. You’ll be able to connect with other actors and potentially even find collaborators for future projects.

Overall, enrolling in acting classes is a crucial step towards becoming an actor. It allows you to develop your skills, gain confidence, and make connections within the industry. So, if you’re serious about pursuing a career in acting, don’t hesitate to sign up for a class today!

Practice Improvisation

Practice Improvisation

Improvisation is a crucial skill for actors to have as it allows them to be quick on their feet and react in the moment. It’s essentially the ability to create a scene or character on the spot without a script or any prior planning. Improv skills can help you in auditions, rehearsals, and even in your everyday life.

One way to practice improvisation is through scene work with a partner or group. Choose a scenario or situation and act it out without any prepared dialogue. This will help you develop your spontaneity and listening skills as you’ll need to react to your partner’s actions and words. Keep the scene going, even if it gets awkward or uncomfortable, and eventually, you may stumble upon a hilarious or poignant moment that you wouldn’t have discovered otherwise.

Another way to practice improv is through games and exercises. One popular game is “Yes, and…” where one person starts a sentence with “yes, and” and the other person must continue the story by adding another sentence beginning with “yes, and.” This exercise encourages active listening and collaboration while also creating a fun and creative environment.

It’s important to remember that improvisation isn’t about being funny or clever all the time. Sometimes the best improv moments come from just being present in the moment and reacting truthfully to what’s happening around you. Don’t be afraid to take risks and make mistakes – they can often lead to unexpected and exciting results.

Overall, practicing improvisation can help you become a more versatile and skilled actor. It allows you to think on your feet, collaborate with others, and find new ways to approach your craft. So go ahead, embrace the spontaneity, and see where it takes you!

Develop Voice Control

Voice control is an essential skill for actors to master, as it can greatly enhance their performances and ensure they are heard clearly. Developing voice control requires a combination of breathing techniques and vocal warm-ups.

Breathing techniques are crucial for building voice control. Deep breathing exercises can help actors regulate their breathing, allowing them to sustain longer lines and project their voice more effectively. Actors can also practice diaphragmatic breathing, which involves expanding the diaphragm while inhaling and contracting it while exhaling. This technique can help improve vocal resonance and projection.

Vocal warm-ups are another important aspect of developing voice control. These exercises prepare the voice for performance by warming up the muscles and increasing blood flow. Some examples of vocal warm-ups include lip trills, tongue twisters, and humming exercises. Lip trills involve blowing air through closed lips while making a vibrating sound, while tongue twisters challenge actors to enunciate difficult phrases in rapid succession. Humming exercises involve producing a buzzing sound with the lips closed, which can help improve resonance and clarity.

Overall, developing voice control is vital for actors looking to improve their performances and make a lasting impression on audiences. By mastering breathing techniques and vocal warm-ups, actors can strengthen their voices and project with confidence, ensuring that their performances are heard loud and clear.

Step 2: Build Your Acting Resume

Create a Professional Acting Resume

Create a Professional Acting Resume

Your acting resume is the first impression you make on casting directors, agents, and producers. It’s important to create a professional-looking resume that showcases your experience, skills, and training in the best possible light. Here are some tips to help you create an effective acting resume:


The format of your resume should be clear, concise, and easy to read. Use a standard font like Times New Roman or Arial and keep the font size between 10 and 12 points. Your name should be at the top of the page in bold and slightly larger font than the rest of the text.


The content of your resume should include the following sections:

Contact Information

Include your phone number, email address, and website (if applicable).

Physical Characteristics

List your height, weight, hair color, and eye color.


List your acting experience in reverse chronological order (starting with the most recent). Include the production title, role, theater/company, director, and dates.


List any education or training relevant to acting (e.g., drama school, workshops, etc.).

Special Skills

List any special skills you have that may be relevant to acting (e.g., singing, dancing, accents, sports, etc.).


When listing your experience, focus on roles that are relevant to the type of acting work you are seeking. If you don’t have a lot of experience, consider including student productions or community theater work.

Try to quantify your experience where possible. For example, instead of saying “Lead Role,” say “Lead Role in a Production with a Cast of 20.”

Additional Tips

  • Keep your resume to one page if possible.
  • Tailor your resume to each audition or job application.
  • Have someone else proofread your resume for errors before submitting it.

Creating a professional acting resume takes time and effort, but it’s worth it to make a great first impression. By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to landing your dream acting gig.

Get a High-Quality Headshot

A high-quality headshot is one of the most important tools an actor has to market themselves in the entertainment industry. It’s essential to have a headshot that represents your unique look and personality, while also showcasing your professionalism. Here are some tips on how to get a headshot that will make you stand out from the crowd.

Hire a Professional Photographer

While it may be tempting to take your own headshot or have a friend do it, investing in a professional photographer is the way to go. A professional photographer knows how to capture your best angles and lighting, and they have the right equipment to produce high-quality images. Look for a photographer who specializes in headshots and has experience working with actors.

Dress for Success

Your wardrobe choice for your headshot can make all the difference. Choose clothing that represents your personal style while still being professional. Avoid busy patterns or logos that could distract from your face. Solid colors work well, especially darker shades like black or navy. Remember, it’s all about highlighting your features, not your clothes.

Prepare for Your Shoot

Before your headshot session, make sure you’re ready to present your best self. Get plenty of rest so that you’re looking fresh and alert. Drink water and avoid alcohol or salty foods to reduce bloating. If you wear makeup, keep it natural and avoid heavy contouring. For men, consider getting a fresh haircut a few days before your shoot.

A high-quality headshot can open doors in the acting world, so it’s worth taking the time and effort to get it right. By hiring a professional photographer, dressing for success, and preparing for your shoot, you’ll be well on your way to getting a headshot that showcases your unique talent and potential.

Create an Acting Reel

Creating an acting reel is a crucial part of building your acting career. Your acting reel is essentially your visual resume that showcases your range, style, and abilities to casting directors, agents, and other industry professionals.

To create an impactful acting reel, you need high-quality footage that showcases your talent and skillset. This is where having a professional videographer or filmmaker can make a huge difference. They will help you shoot and edit your footage to create a polished and professional-looking video.

When it comes to selecting the right footage for your reel, you want to choose scenes that highlight your strengths as an actor. These can include dramatic monologues, comedic sketches, or even snippets from films or TV shows you have starred in. You want to show your range, but also make sure the clips flow well together and create a cohesive story.

Editing is also a crucial aspect of creating your reel. You want to make sure the pacing is appropriate and the transitions between scenes are smooth. Be mindful of the music you choose too, make sure it complements the tone of your reel.

It’s important to keep your reel updated with fresh footage as you continue to gain experience. As you land bigger roles or work on more high-profile projects, be sure to add these to your reel.

In summary, creating an acting reel is an essential part of any actor’s career. It is important to have high-quality footage that showcases your range, select the right scenes, and ensure your editing is professional and visually appealing. With a great reel, you can grab the attention of industry professionals and take your career to the next level.

Build Your Credits

Build Your Credits

Your acting credits are an essential part of your acting resume. They provide evidence that you have experience in the industry and can help you stand out from other actors. If you’re just starting as an actor, it may seem challenging to get credits, but there are still a few ways to build them.

Community Theater

Community theater is an excellent place to start building your acting credits. Most community theaters hold open auditions, which means anyone can try out for a role. These theaters also tend to produce a wide range of shows, from classic plays to contemporary comedies, so you can find a production that fits your strengths.

Working in community theater allows you to gain valuable experience in a supportive environment. You’ll get to work with other actors and directors, learn how to rehearse effectively, and develop your stage presence. Plus, many community theaters are non-profit organizations, which means they rely on volunteers to help with everything from set design to marketing. By volunteering your time, you can demonstrate your commitment to the craft and build connections within the industry.

Student Films

Another way to build your acting credits is by working on student films. Many film schools and colleges produce short films as part of their curriculum, and they often need actors to bring their stories to life. Working on a student film can give you experience in front of the camera, which is essential if you want to pursue a career in film or television.

Student films are also a great opportunity to network with young filmmakers who may become big names in the future. You never know who you might meet on a film set, so make sure to be friendly and professional at all times. If you impress the director, they may recommend you for future projects or even write a role specifically for you.

In summary, building your acting credits takes time and effort, but it’s an essential step in your acting career. Look for opportunities to work in community theater or on student films, and don’t be afraid to volunteer your time to gain experience. The more credits you have on your resume, the better your chances of landing your next role.

Step 3: Network and Market Yourself

Join Acting Organizations

Join Acting Organizations

Joining acting organizations can be a great way to build your career as an actor. These organizations offer a variety of benefits, including membership, access to networking events, and more.

Acting Organizations

There are many different types of acting organizations that you can join, depending on your interests and goals. Some organizations focus on specific areas of the industry, such as film or theater, while others offer a more general approach. Here are some examples:

  • Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA): This is the largest union for actors in the United States. Membership offers access to benefits such as health insurance, retirement benefits, and more.

  • Actors’ Equity Association (AEA): This union represents actors who work in theater productions. Members receive benefits such as minimum wage protection, health insurance, and more.

  • The International Thespian Society (ITS): This is a high school honor society that recognizes students who excel in theater. Membership offers access to scholarships, competitions, and more.


Becoming a member of an acting organization can offer many benefits. In addition to the benefits mentioned above, membership can also provide access to exclusive workshops, training programs, and other resources. Many organizations also offer mentorship programs, which can be a great way to learn from experienced professionals in the industry.

Networking Events

Acting organizations offer many opportunities to network with other professionals in the industry. This can include events such as meet-and-greets, mixers, and conferences. Networking can be a great way to meet casting directors, agents, and other professionals who can help you advance your career.

In conclusion, joining acting organizations can be a valuable step in building your career as an actor. With benefits such as membership, access to networking events, and more, these organizations can provide you with the resources and connections you need to succeed.

Utilize Social Media

Utilize Social Media

Social media has become an indispensable tool for actors to promote themselves and their work. By building a strong online presence, actors can increase their visibility, connect with industry professionals, and showcase their talent to a wider audience.

One of the first steps in utilizing social media is creating an actors website that serves as a central hub for all of your online content. This website should include your headshot, resume, reel, and any other relevant information about your career. It should also be optimized for search engines so that it appears at the top of search results when casting directors or producers are looking for talent.

Branding is another important aspect of social media marketing for actors. Your personal brand should reflect your unique talents, personality, and goals as an actor. This can be achieved by consistently posting content that aligns with your brand on social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

In addition to branding, social media can also be used to network with other actors, directors, and producers. Follow industry professionals on social media and engage with their content by liking, commenting, and sharing. You can also join acting groups on Facebook or LinkedIn and attend virtual events to make connections in the industry.

Overall, social media is a powerful tool for actors to build their careers and reach new audiences. By creating an actors website, building a personal brand, and networking with industry professionals online, you can take your acting career to the next level.

Attend Industry Events

Attending industry events can be a great way to meet other actors, filmmakers, and casting directors. These events provide an opportunity to network and make connections that can lead to future work opportunities. Here are some examples of industry events you should consider attending:

Film Festivals

Film festivals are a great place to see the latest independent films, meet fellow filmmakers and actors, and attend panel discussions and workshops. They often feature screenings of short and feature-length films, Q&A sessions with directors and actors, and parties and receptions where you can mingle with other people in the film industry.

One of the most well-known film festivals is Sundance, which takes place annually in Park City, Utah. Other popular film festivals include South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas, and the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

Casting Director Workshops

Casting director workshops are another way to get your foot in the door in the acting industry. These workshops provide an opportunity to perform in front of casting directors and receive feedback on your audition. They also offer a chance to network with other actors and potentially meet agents and managers.

It’s important to note that there has been controversy surrounding casting director workshops in recent years. Some have criticized them as “pay-to-play” schemes, where actors pay for the opportunity to perform in front of casting directors. Others argue that they are a valuable tool for actors trying to get noticed in a competitive industry.

Industry Conferences and Events

Industry conferences and events can provide a wealth of information about the business side of the entertainment industry. These events often feature speakers who are experts in their field, as well as panel discussions and workshops on topics such as financing, distribution, and marketing.

One example of an industry conference is the Produced By Conference, which is hosted by the Producers Guild of America. This event features panels and discussions on topics such as producing for television and streaming platforms, financing independent films, and creating content for emerging platforms.

In conclusion, attending industry events can be a valuable way to network, gain knowledge, and take your acting career to the next level. Whether you attend film festivals, casting director workshops, or industry conferences, make sure to come prepared with plenty of business cards and a positive attitude. You never know who you might meet or what opportunities may arise!

Step 4: Audition for Acting Roles

Find Auditions and Casting Calls

Find Auditions and Casting Calls

One of the most crucial steps in becoming an actor is finding auditions and casting calls. There are many resources available for actors to discover these opportunities, but it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Here are some tips on how to find auditions and casting calls:

Online Resources

The internet has made it much easier to find auditions and casting calls. Websites like Backstage, Actors Access, and Casting Networks provide a vast database of opportunities for actors of all levels. These sites allow actors to create profiles, upload their headshots and resumes, and submit themselves for roles that match their skills and experience.

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are also useful resources for finding auditions. Many casting directors and production companies post casting calls on their social media pages, so make sure to follow them to stay updated on new opportunities.


Having an agent is one of the best ways to find auditions and casting calls. Agents have access to exclusive audition opportunities that may not be available to the general public. They also have established relationships with casting directors, which can give actors a competitive edge.

To get an agent, actors should research reputable agencies that represent their type and level of experience. They can then submit their headshot, resume, and demo reel to those agencies. If an agent is interested, they will invite the actor for an interview, and if all goes well, sign them to their roster.


Networking is another effective way to find auditions and casting calls. Attend industry events such as film festivals, workshops, and screenings, and make connections with other actors, producers, and directors. Joining acting organizations such as SAG-AFTRA or Actors Equity can also provide opportunities to network with other professionals in the industry.

In conclusion, finding auditions and casting calls is essential to kickstarting an acting career, and the internet, agents, and networking are all great resources to use. By utilizing these resources, actors can increase their chances of landing auditions and booking roles.

Prepare Your Audition Materials

Prepare Your Audition Materials

Preparing your audition materials is a crucial step towards a successful acting career. As an aspiring actor, you need to showcase your talent and impress casting directors with your skills. This requires you to prepare thoroughly for your auditions and create impressive audition materials.


A monologue is a solo performance by an actor that showcases their acting skills. It is an important part of most auditions, and therefore, choosing the right monologue is critical. The monologue should be relevant to the role you are auditioning for, and should also showcase your range as an actor.

When choosing a monologue, it is essential to read the full script to understand the character’s backstory, motivations, and emotions. This will help you bring depth and authenticity to your performance. Practice your monologue several times, focusing on delivering the lines naturally and convincingly. You can also try experimenting with different tones and delivery styles to see what works best for you.

Cold Reading

Cold reading is the practice of reading a script without preparation. It is a common audition technique used by casting directors to test an actor’s ability to quickly analyze and interpret a script. To ace this part of your audition, it is essential to stay calm and focused.

Start by taking a few deep breaths to relax your nerves. Read the script carefully, paying attention to the characters’ actions, emotions, and relationships. Think about the tone of the scene and what the character might be feeling. Then, deliver the lines with confidence and conviction.

Scene Work

Scene work involves performing a scripted scene with another actor. Similar to monologues, scene work requires you to understand the character’s backstory, motivations, and emotions. It is essential to listen to your scene partner, react authentically, and create chemistry between the characters.

To prepare for scene work, practice with a fellow actor or a friend. Read the full script together, and discuss the characters’ relationships and objectives. Pay attention to your partner’s cues and react naturally to their lines. Remember, scene work is a team effort, so be respectful, supportive, and collaborative.

In conclusion, preparing your audition materials is essential for any aspiring actor. Whether it’s a monologue, cold reading, or scene work, it is crucial to put in the time and effort to showcase your talent and impress casting directors. By choosing the right material, practicing regularly, and staying focused, you can increase your chances of success.

Ace the Audition

Ace the Audition

Auditioning for acting roles can be nerve-wracking, but with proper preparation and confidence, you can nail the audition and land your dream role. Here are some tips to help you ace your next audition:


Preparation is key when it comes to auditions. Make sure you have thoroughly read the script and understand your character’s motivations and emotions. Practice your lines until you feel comfortable with them, but also be prepared to take direction from the casting director or producer. Consider working with an acting coach to help you prepare for auditions and provide constructive feedback.


Confidence is essential when auditioning. Remember that the casting directors want to see you succeed and find the right person for the role. Stand up straight, make eye contact, and speak clearly and confidently. Wear an outfit that makes you feel comfortable and confident, but also fits the character you are auditioning for.

Audition Tips

Here are some additional audition tips to keep in mind:

  • Arrive early so you have time to get settled and mentally prepare.
  • Bring a headshot and resume to leave with the casting directors.
  • Be polite and friendly to everyone you meet, from the receptionist to the casting director.
  • Stay focused and present during the audition, even if you make a mistake.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions or clarify directions.
  • Follow up with a thank-you note or email after the audition.

By following these audition tips, preparing thoroughly, and exuding confidence, you can give yourself the best chance of acing the audition and landing your next acting role. Good luck!


After following the steps outlined in this guide, you should have a solid foundation for starting your acting career. Remember that becoming an actor is a journey, and success may not come overnight. It takes hard work, dedication, and persistence to make it in the competitive world of acting.

One important thing to keep in mind is to always hone your craft. Continuously work on improving your acting skills, whether through classes, workshops, or practicing on your own. Keeping yourself motivated and inspired is crucial to staying committed to your goals.

Networking and marketing yourself is also a key aspect of being an actor. Building relationships with other actors, industry professionals, and potential employers can lead to opportunities and help you get your foot in the door. Utilizing social media and attending industry events can also help you increase your visibility and grow your network.

Finally, remember that rejection is a part of the process. Auditioning for roles can be tough, but don’t let it discourage you. Keep pushing forward and learning from each experience.

Overall, becoming an actor requires hard work, perseverance, and a passion for the craft. With the right mindset and dedication, you can achieve your goals and turn your dreams into reality. Good luck on your journey!
Acting is not an easy career path to follow, but it can be incredibly rewarding. To become a successful actor, you need to develop your skills, build your resume, network with others in the industry, and audition for roles consistently. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can increase your chances of success and achieve your dreams of becoming an actor.

Remember that success in acting requires hard work, dedication, and perseverance. You may face rejection and disappointment along the way, but don’t let that discourage you. Every successful actor has faced their fair share of challenges, but they have also learned from them and used them as stepping stones to achieve their goals.

So go out there, take action, and make your dream of becoming an actor a reality. With the right mindset, attitude, and willingness to learn, anything is possible. Good luck on your journey!

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