How To Get Into Acting
Acting is not for the weak of heart – or pocket. There are many things you need to have in your arsenal if you want to get your work out there. This is standard industry procedure and it’s usually very costly, but there are ways to make it happen, and if you’re in university, the more reason to make use of what’s at your disposal!
This is your presentation card. Every actor must have a headshot, and it’s a good idea if it’s done in somewhat professional manner. Headshots can cost somewhere in the range of £200-£600, so if you’re in university and living on cup noodles, don’t panic: it’s time to get in touch with the photography students.
They often need models to help them fill up their portfolios; and there is a huge chance that many of them want to specialize in commercial photography, in which case: bingo. You can post bulletin board reminders (if you’re old-school like that), or you can get in touch with the course administrator and ask them to send out a mass email.
Mention that you are a drama student in need of some material. It’s a quid-pro-quo situation and most would be happy to help. Though you shouldn’t expect the results to be as amazing as a working professional’s, you shouldn’t underestimate the results (especially not for it all being free).
If headshots are your business cards, show reels are your CV. You may astound a casting director with your looks, but they also want to know if you can act and won’t invite you for an audition unless they are sure.
Uni showreels follow the same basic principal as the previous point. Get in touch with film students and see if anybody offers film-editing services, however do expect to pay at least a little to have somebody compile a basic showreel.
This is time consuming and the “makers” don’t really get credited for it, so although it will be enormously cheaper than the market price, maybe offer them between £50-£80, depending on how much material you have for them to work with.
Of course, you can’t make a showreel if you don’t actually have anything to show. You can always film yourself doing a hundred different monologues, but it’s always best to just take part in projects that are not your own.
Why? Connections for one, but also because the final films will be edited (in terms of light/angles/music, etc) and will look more appealing (unless you yourself are a film-making pro). Not to mention that, depending on degree level, film students have access to superb top-of-the-class equipment.
Often they will reach out first, and your course director will contact drama students in some way. When it happens, make sure to sign up (regardless of the film. Don’t be picky!)
Make your own plays. As a drama student you will have the perfect tools for making a perfectly decent play all at your disposal, and all for free. Where else will you find a blackbox theatre, professional stage lights, props, venue and actors willing to work for free if not in uni?
Make the most of it. Don’t be lazy. Don’t wait until later, don’t say it’s all in vain. Sure, it might sound like you’ll have to arrange everything yourself, but it’s almost guaranteed that there’s somebody in your course who wants to focus on directing, somebody else who wants to work in dramatically, or set design, or anything else.
Make it a collaborative project, and use it at experience. Most of the time the professors/building tech operators will be more than happy to help you (if it doesn’t intervene with their time). So write the play, gather your team, ask your department how to go about using the facilities, hold auditions, have rehearsals, and get to it!
Inspiring Interns is a recruitment agency specialising in all the internships and graduate jobs London has to offer. Xiomara Meyer is a drama and creative writing graduate with an interest in psychology and the slightly bizarre. Samples of her prose can be found here