Acting, singing, or playing an instrument professionally is extremely difficult and highly competitive. But knowing where and how to begin can save you a lot of trouble down the road. Here are a few tips to get started have helped me in my own career.
1. Be Realistic about the roles you get. You won’t land a professional gig as a lead on Broadway at your first audition. You’ll need to work your way up and this means building a resume. Don’t be afraid to start in the ensemble – it allows the directors to see your commitment and work ethic before they entrust you with a large part.
2. Be Realistic about getting paid. As you build your resume, keep in mind that most jobs you’ll be getting won’t be paid. But those unpaid jobs allow you to get your foot in the door, giving you experience and allowing you to network. Good roles don’t go to those without a resume, so don’t be afraid to “put your time in”.
3. Network. Get to know people in the industry. This includes actors, directors, conductors, costumers, even the janitor. You never know who will be impressed with you and pass your name along to someone who can actually hire you. Join the social media, guilds, clubs and attend events that can connect you to the industry.
5. Be Professional. Once you have landed a gig it is extremely important that you view every rehearsal, performance, and interaction as important as the original audition. Your goal is to continue to be hire-able. As a director who has been involved in casting decisions, there are people I come across who are extremely talented but that I would never cast. Either they’re routinely late, unprepared, or are dramatic, high maintenance, a divi, or a gossip. Everything you do will communicate to others whether you are a professional worthy of being hired again.
4. Promote online. The internet is an amazing tool for marketing yourself. The best place to start is getting your own website. However you decide to go about it, from hiring a web developer to a do-it-yourself website, make sure it looks professional, has head shots, and features work you’ve done. Also make sure your contact information is available, since it’s not unusual to get paid gigs off a professional looking website. But don’t stop at your website! Use social media to upload demos/videos; and share clips or photos of things you’ve done. Lastly, you can also try websites such as gigsalad.com that can connect you to potential gigs.
5. Don’t give up. Every professional deals with rejection for roles or projects. Don’t take it personally! Be prepared and do your best at every audition – and then walk out the door and forget it. One of the primary reasons people give up performing is they get dejected about not getting a part. But each audition is a learning experience; and not only are you improving your audition abilities, you’re also networking and getting your face and name in front of directors!
6. Get an audition buddy. Auditioning is one of the more difficult aspects of the job. It can be very intimidating, boring, and all around stressful. I have found that it’s much easier and way more manageable if you bring a friend. While you might end up competing for the same role as your friend, most times you’ll just end up with a supportive buddy who’s auditioning for another role. In fact, many times you’ll end up hearing about auditions that you don’t know about through your buddy! And if you both get a part? You get to do a show with a friend!
7. Have fun. Never forget the reason you do what you do! Not every part fun, but don’t miss the joy of being in the arts – whether that’s singing, playing instruments, or acting.
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Or have you auditioned for roles? Have any advice for those starting out? Share in the comments!