One of the questions I am often asked by students and acting friends is; “Where do I find more work?”
It’s not enough to rely on your agent or to wait for the phone to ring. In this game if you want to get ahead, it is very important to be pro-active and to create your own luck. By getting out there in the acting community as much as you possibly can, you will undoubtedly find additional opportunities to work. Granted not all of them will pay, however eventually your involvement in some of these projects will bring you good fortune.
The more acting you do the better you will become at this craft. Every experience provides you with more skills, more knowledge and a deeper understanding of this game called acting. Any extra experience you do gain will also be something you can add to your resume. There are probably plenty of places in your area that you can go to gain more experience in acting, without having had much if any experience.
Some places to begin…
Is there a community theater in your area? If so, why not go down and speak with somebody who can point you in the right direction towards getting involved in the next production? Even if it’s just a small bit part, the experience will be invaluable and could lead to bigger parts.
Additionally, producers and directors will often go to their local theaters either looking for talent or just for entertainment purposes. You never know who might be in the audience and spot your abilities.
Be careful to recognize that there is a distinct difference between stage acting and screen acting. Be aware of those differences when you are involved in each medium. Rule of thumb is that stage acting will be much bigger in all aspects; voice, gestures, action – while screen will be more still in nature as well as smaller and subtler in its aspects.
Short Films or Student Films
Do you have a university or college in your area? Check to see if they have a film department. Film students are always looking for actors they can use in their school projects. Short films and student films are a great place to start and learn a great deal about what actually happens on set. You will learn about camera angles, continuity, lighting, working with all kinds of people as well as hundreds of other bits and pieces that will assist you with your acting future. There are so many benefits of working on short films, that I can’t possibly list them all here. Just suffice to say that I strongly recommend getting involved with these types of projects.
You may also find that parts of your performance along with the production itself are so good they can be used for your demo (show) reel. On top of that, the experience will be excellent to put on your acting resume. Be warned though, that often times with these student projects the film crew is fairly green and just learning, therefore keep your expectation relatively low on the quality of the final production.
Bear in mind also, that all directors started out making short film projects or student films. Who knows if one of these directors doesn’t go onto to do great things and remembers how you did such a fantastic job helping them out. If you remain friends with the people involved in the production it could easily lead to bigger and better things in the future. These student projects and short films are great places to network.
You can also go online to locate possible projects in your area requiring actors. Don’t be afraid to put your name down for anything, even an extra would be a worthwhile experience. If there are no actor roles available, then volunteer to help out. Just being on a live set will give you a huge insight as to what goes on. That way you will be better prepared when you are required for a paying job.
Much like student films and short films Independent films can also be worthwhile experience when first starting out. Most independent films are very low budget and will advertise for actors through open casting calls. They will probably be advertised in local newspapers or trade publications. Be careful when responding to these ads though. Some may be suspect and exploitative. If you are asked to pay any money, refuse and walk away. If you are asked to remove any articles of clothing, do not walk away… RUN! If you feel at all uncomfortable, politely leave. I am not trying to scare you, just warn you that there are unscrupulous people out there preying on naïve and inexperienced actors all the time. Always be careful and trust your instincts.
Similar to being involved with an independent film, short film or student film, being a TV/movie extra can be a very valuable experience for you. You will at least gain some set experience which is invaluable. Additionally, you will be networking with other actors and industry professionals. You may also be noticed by the director, producer or other key individuals involved with the production. I have met actors that were originally cast as extras on feature films and while on set, were given some small lines of dialogue. This gave them immense kudos and also a better paycheck.
While on a TV/film set, try to learn as much as you can about what’s going on without getting in the way or annoying anybody (especially the Director or Producer). Don’t hesitate to volunteer to help out, even if it’s to go get coffee for the cast or crew. Whatever you are prepared to “give” will come back to you in positive karma.
An excellent online resource to find opportunities for movie extras is moviex or bgrated.com I hope that has given you some ideas on where you can begin looking for additional acting work that could one day provide you with that “big break”. In future articles I will cover some other ways you can get involved and really propel your career forward.
Till then, remember…Action = Success!
Source by Stefan Reynolds