Acting is incredibly important to the world of filmmaking. It’s an integral component to making a movie, it’s what brings a script to life. How to become an actor is something plenty of people ask themselves who want to become an actor but don’t know where to start.
Being a huge part of filmmaking itself, acting is what brings the movie together, it’s what the audience connects with – and allows them to follow them through their journey on the big screen.
Becoming an actor is a dream for a lot of people.
If you are new to acting, it may feel a little daunting working out how you will achieve your dream as an award winning actor and you haven’t read a line yet.
Fear not, hard work, perseverance and a little bit of luck and you can achieve that dream. There is a way that you, an actor with no experience can land a full time acting role.
This article will break down the top 10 tips to becoming an actor with no experience.
Learn how to learn
Learning lines is undoubtedly one of the key components of becoming an actor, and also the first question anyone asks you after a performance – “how did you learn all those lines?”.
The truth is, there’s no easy way to learn how to do it other than by doing it. So pick up a book of monologues and challenge yourself to memorise one, maybe two a week.
Get the text to the point at which you are completely fluent, forwards and backwards, and engrained in your muscle memory.
You will end the week having practised the art of memorisation, but you’ll also have gained new audition material so that you have an even bigger arsenal of scripts at your disposal.
You can also try this with scene work either with an acting friend or recording the other parts and speaking along.
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As an actor, it is more and more likely that you will be asked to self-tape for a role rather than auditioning in person, and this has never been more true than today when it’s harder to meet in person.
Self-tapes are a vital part of any actor’s career, and it is important that you get your self-taping down to a tee so that if one comes in, you’re confident you can deliver.
Self-tapes don’t come around every day. A quick and easy way to get practise is to find a scene or a monologue and do a mock self-tape. Set yourself a deadline to adhere to and make sure you stick to it.
You get an opportunity to practise your setup, learn lines, add performance without direction and assess how well it turned out (without the added pressure of having a job on the line at the end of it).
There are also groups online who do daily self-tapes as a way to practise together and give each other feedback.
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Learning how to read again
Scripts are written in a unique format, and you need to learn how to decipher them. Getting to understand how scripts are written will help you understand sides better for auditions, and it can be done from the comfort of your home.
Playtexts are readily available online, and you can spend time each week reading a play imagining you are going to be one of the parts.
Take time to decipher what your character says, what they really mean, what other characters say about you, whilst also keeping an eye on the overall story arc and your character’s objectives within it.
This will help your approach next time you have to read a play before an audition or job.
Screenplays can be even harder to decipher with odd acronyms, stage directions, and whole scenes without dialogue.
Practise reading these scripts (also available online) to understand which elements are important to your role, how a writer can give clues for an actor’s performance, and finally, how this is conveyed on-screen.
There’s also a great Youtube channel called “Script to Screen,” which is worth looking at to see how a script translates to become a fully formed character performed by an actor.
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Get a reading group together.
Cold reading and making a text-sound natural is a really difficult skill, one that all actors struggle with, and it’s a constant learning process.
But the only way you can improve is by practising it.
Get a group of other actors together (in person or on zoom) and read through a script together.
Everyone will get a chance to practise their sight-reading, interact with other actors, and learn a new play while you’re at it.
This is especially helpful with Shakespeare, which can be a really difficult language to speak if you’re not used to it.
You can either assign characters beforehand, swap between the acts, or go around in a circle changing characters each new line to make it as even as possible.
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Pick up a newspaper
This may sound crazy, but pick up a newspaper and start reading the first article you come across aloud to yourself. First, read how it comes out naturally.
This should sound quite formal, perhaps even like a newsreader.
Then try to read the same piece of text but make it sound like your voice as if you’re telling a story to a friend down the pub, and it’s the most natural thing in the world.
It’s incredibly difficult and will take time to practise, but you’re basically teaching yourself how to not act. To make something sound as natural as possible and take somebody else’s words which are written in a voice which isn’t yours and make it your own.
Make a Showreel
Now that you’ve got some monologues under your belt, you’ve been practising your self-tapes, you’re already in a very good position to make a showreel.
A showreel is an ideal example of your work and you will really struggle to be seen for jobs without one. It’s your calling card for a casting director to see how you look on screen before they bring you in to audition.
In an ideal world, you can edit your showreel together from previous onscreen performances, but if you don’t have that it’s always better to have something rather than nothing.
A self-tape can work for your showreel to demonstrate your acting abilities, or even simply shooting a scene with some friends can be really effective.
Remember, your reel is your opportunity to show what kind of casting bracket you fit into, so make sure you choose the kind of roles that you would are likely to be cast in professionally.
Read More: Am I too old to become an actor?
Casting workshops & webinars
These can be incredibly helpful to give you a bit more of an insight into the industry in which you are about to embark.
In-person, these workshops give you a unique opportunity to perform in front of a casting director and gain some valuable feedback.
However, at the moment, these are no longer happening, and online casting webinars or Q and A’s are a fantastic way to get to hear what directors look out for.
Ask specific queries about the industry and normally for free; a brilliant resource which you can take advantage of from your own home.
You may also be interested in reading, how to become an extra.
Seek out opportunities
There are lots of acting competitions out there that can help kick-start your career as an actor.
These can often be free to enter or relatively cheap. Monologueslam is a platform designed to showcase unsigned talent to high-level industry executives in order to help them get representation.
Do or Die Casting Studios are currently running a Twitter competition each week where you can enter a self-tape of a scene to help push your profile.
There are also agent showcases organised by casting workshop companies where you pay to perform a monologue in front of 4 agents with the chance to be signed by anyone of them and get valuable feedback on your performance.
Become an actor with no experience
The simple answer to how to become an actor with no experience is to get experience. There’s a lot of websites out there that offer a platform for unsigned actors to get their own work.
This includes but isn’t limited to Mandy, Shooting People & Backstage as paying membership services.
Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are great ways to find roles for free on groups designed to post casting calls or by following casting directors/creatives.
Whilst this is a long and laborious part of the process, it is very much a necessary part of becoming an actor, at least when you’re first starting.
Get out there and do it; the quickest way to learn is by getting in front of the camera or on stage.
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