by Eugene Buica
Artistic Director The Acting Corps
An aspiring actor comes to town and experiences immediate shock when people don’t just walk up to her and offer her an acting job. Maybe it’s because stories about being discovered still exist, there are even modern day hucksters who call themselves talent scouts. So how to become an actress? The reality is that showbusiness is just that – show BUSINESS, which implies that a product is being bought and sold, in our case acting and actors. What then, what’s your next move? It’s easy, your friends tell you, just get an agent, a good talent agent will make all the difference, that’s how to start acting. But how do you get this all powerful agent, who will believe in you and go to bat for you and pull out all stops to get you auditions and that big movie career?
The answer, though simple, has been historically difficult for actors to execute. Here it is: If you want to know how to become an actress you have to define yourself, the product, and create a marketing plan that will allow agents to smell the money. Do that and you will have a shot, a good shot. Don’t and you won’t. And no, talent agents don’t care about your immortal soul and unique talent.
They may care about your immortal soul and unique talent if it will fill their coffers, but only if it will do so. Meaning agents are people, just like you and me, and they have dreams of their own, mortgages of their own, families of their own. And if you don’t hold the promise of making them money not in two years but in two weeks – they will ignore you.
How do you then go about creating the product and marketing it? Well let’s start with the product. Your look is your look, and that is a given. What is there to change then? It is what you bring to the table; your ability to do the job and do it well – your acting. Which means you must be the best or at the very least pretty darn good at what you do. Your competition is certainly very good at what they do, with years of experience and working with the best acting coaches in Los Angeles in some cases. Ask yourself, how do you match up to them? Are you a raw beginner with some community theater experience? Or have you been studying acting for years and many film and TV credits behind you? If it’s the former rather than the latter, before you get those TV and film credits, you must train. You must find yourself a good, efficient, practical, professional acting training program (hmmmm, would that be The Acting Corps?), train with the best acting coaches in Los Angeles, and work hard to get in shape. Acting is a muscle, exercise it frequently and you will quickly become proficient. Avoid acting schools that require one or two years of your time and money – you can get your training much faster and far more efficiently. Just look around.
Now, say that your training is in place, the next question on your list of how to become an actress is how to start acting professionally is, do you know what you’re selling? You had better know because no agent will be able to sell you if you can’t sell yourself. Are you the young mom? Are you the ingénue? Are you the leading man with an edge? Are you the goofy best friend? Are you the librarian, the plumber, the lawyer? Watch TV, ask your friends what roles they see you playing, ask your parents, your siblings, people you can trust, and you will soon figure out where in show business you belong. And when you do so, put that information in your headshots and resumes you will then finally be ready to present yourself to an agent.
It still won’t be easy, but now you will show up like a professional actor with a shot at a career in the film and TV industry. And if you have done your work they will smell the money.