There are so many stories of actors who took their careers into their own hands: Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, Sylvester Stallone, Owen Wilson, Ben Stiller, Steve Martin, Tina Fey, and Emma Thompson to name just a few. Here are seven ways you can start creating your own acting opportunities:
Find out if any films are shooting on location in your area.
Do some digging. Your local film commission will have all this information. You can also do a simple Google search for “Films shooting near [insert your city]. Find out if they’re hiring local talent or extras and where you can send a photo and résumé.
Produce your own show!
Google “how to produce theater.” You will learn a lot about all aspects of theater in the process. A former director, teacher, or producer may be willing to serve as a mentor or resource as you produce your own show. You could even donate some or all of the proceeds to a local charity, which should get you press coverage and boost ticket sales.
Contact local colleges.
Local colleges or universities sometimes use people from the community in their theatrical productions. Inquire there. If they have a film program, you may also be able to submit for student films, which is an excellent opportunity for on-camera experience.
Start a play-reading group.
You could meet at a different person’s house once a month and read a play. You can cast it yourself and invite people you think will be great in the parts. Have snacks and refreshments at intermission if you like. You’ll explore new plays, work with other actors, and have a fun time all at once.
Write a screenplay or webseries and film it!
Nowadays you don’t need expensive equipment to create your own work. Do your research. Write that role you would love to play or tell a story you’ve been dying to tell. You can even get excellent results using an iPad these days. The advantages are many. You can invite casting directors and agents to the premiere, and post positive reviews on your website and social media. You can also use your best scenes on your reel.
Don’t just wait for the phone to ring. Submit yourself for projects online! Even if you have representation, you should be actively finding projects on your own. It’s your career and you have the power to make it what you want it to be. You will likely have to do things that push you out of your comfort zone, but the tradeoff is you’ll learn a tremendous amount about the work and yourself if you make the investment.
With any opportunity you create, be sure you’re ready to deliver a quality product. Making a film means nothing if the performances are sub par. Training is the key to making the most of your opportunities. A runner can’t expect to finish a marathon, much less win, if she didn’t train hard for it. Winners train regularly and hire coaches to help them reach peak performance by the day of the race. If you hope to succeed as an actor adopting a similar mindset is a good idea. Make the investment in an acting coach or a good acting class. Learn everything you can and make the most of the opportunities you create. You need to be ready when the work you create creates an additional opportunity for you!
Want to take a free webclass with me? Check out my the schedule here to see if one fits into your #Actorslife!
Let me know in the comments below how you're creating your own acting opportunities!
All my best,
Philip Hernandez is a respected acting teacher and singing coach in NYC. He is also the only actor in Broadway history to play both Jean Valjean and Inspector Javert in Les Miserables. He created principal roles in Broadway’s Kiss of the Spiderwoman and Paul Simon’s The Capeman. You may also know him from his many television appearances: The Blacklist, Gotham, Blue Bloods, The Path, Bull, Nurse Jackie, Elementary, Person of Interest, Law and Order, Hostages and Damages to name a few. For information about acting lessons CLICK HERE or singing lessons CLICK HERE.