The film industry is one of the most competitive in the world.
To stand out from the crowd and get hired, you need to build a strong portfolio of your work and make sure it’s up to date.
Your career as an actor starts with your marketing materials. These are the tools that you can use to get noticed by casting directors, producers and directors.
They’re also important because they show potential employers that you’re serious about acting and ready to work.
To help you get started on building your toolkit, we’ve put together this guide on how to be an actor in a movie.
How to be an Actor in a Movie – Build an Acting Resume
The first step in being an actor is to build your marketing materials, which include:
Resumé – You’re probably going to need a resume. If you’re applying for jobs at a theater or other live performance venue, they might want you to also include headshots and an audio file of you reading some lines.
Headshots – Headshots are photos of your face that are used for casting purposes. They should be taken by a professional photographer, ideally in black and white with no background. If you don’t have headshots yet, it’s time to get them taken!
Reel – A reel is a short video compilation of your best acting work. This can be as simple as recording yourself reading lines from a script, but if you have any footage from plays or movies where you acted, use that instead!
Our acting resume templates are specifically designed to showcase your talents and highlight your experiences in the industry. With a polished and professional resume, you can stand out to casting directors and increase your chances of landing your next big role.
How to be an Actor in a Movie – Find Open Casting Calls
Start Looking For Casting Calls – There are a few sites where you can find casting calls listed online like: Breakdown Services, Casting Networks, Backstage, IMDB Pro & Casting Frontier.
These are all free resources that will allow you to find out about auditions for extras and other roles for independent films that are happening near you. Many casting websites such as backstage, actor’s access, casting networks and more can help you get started in finding legitimate acting industry jobs.
How to be an Actor in a Movie – Prepare for Auditions
Preparing for auditions can be both easy and complicated.
There are resources such as cold reading classes, improv classes and even practicing with friends to give you a leg up and prepare you for any situation. While every audition is different it’s important to be prepared for any time of scenario that can pop up in your career.
You will probably have hundreds if not thousands of auditions within your career and you must be well-equipped for any situation.
Here are some quick tips to prepare yourself for your upcoming auditions:
- Always be Off Book (practice your lines over and over until you know them as well as your name)
- Know the environment and the scene
- Always practice different takes of the same scene or monologue
- Have someone read with you when you practice
- Record yourself rehearsing so you can analyze the footage later
- Dress up for the part, but always show up as a professional
- Do your best and leave it all in the room
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How to be an Actor in a Movie – Networking with Agents and Directors
You’ve got an agent, and you’ve landed the role! Congratulations. Now what?
Once you’re cast in a movie, your job doesn’t end there. Here are some steps you can take to build your acting career:
Get yourself out there. You want people to know who you are.
Make sure your agent has all of your contact information on file so that casting directors can find you easily when they need an actor for a movie. Make sure your headshot is updated and available to casting directors and producers.
If they can see you in person, they may invite you to audition for parts in their upcoming projects.
Get involved with local theater groups and community theaters in your area. The more experience you have under your belt, the more likely casting directors will consider hiring you for bigger roles in future projects.
Get involved with workshops and seminars at local colleges or universities as well; these types of programs often offer great opportunities for aspiring actors to meet industry professionals who can help them get their foot in the door of the film world.
Build up your resume by taking any jobs that come along — even if they aren’t necessarily acting roles — until someone recognizes how talented you are and gives you a chance to shine on screen!
As you progress in your career, you're going to need Representation and what better way to obtain it than by following a proven system that works in landing you the best agents, managers, publishers and more! This online program will help you get closer to your goals in being a working professional Hollywood Actor.
How to be an Actor in a Movie – Practice Improv Skills
Many schools can help you with improv and it’s important to show a little bit of improv training in your resumé and skill set.
If you happen to be near a second city, groundlings, or any form of improv school I suggest you give it a try. You can just take a drop-in class or enroll in their weekly programs but as long as you develop some improv skills, it will take you a long way in this industry.
This is one of those classes that I wish I would’ve taken sooner rather than later.
This is the tool you want to get familiar with. Workflowy is a crowd favorite among actors and marketers. It’s great for taking notes and brainstorming -- especially on-the-go. A big bonus for me is that it's almost impossible to outgrow Workflowy. You can start with the free version as a beginner, and level up later.
How to be an Actor in a Movie – Learn How to Memorize Lines Quickly
It’s important to practice memorization since it’s vital for an acting career.
The more you can memorize, the more you will be up for those roles that require a lot of memorization. To separate yourself from the pack make sure to flex your memorizing muscle on a daily or weekly basis because it’s one of the strongest skill sets you can have as an actor that wants to be in films and movies.
How to be an Actor in a Movie – Understanding Your Character’s Motivation
Script Analysis is one of those classes that I didn’t take until way later in my college years and I wish I would’ve taken these classes much sooner.
Analyzing and dissecting a script it’s very important not only to understand the environment but to understand the characters at play. Understanding the motives of each character it’s important so that when you’re on set you to know all the parameters of the scene at hand.
Another way to practice this would be to get together with other acting-inclined friends and discuss scripts together.
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How to be an Actor in a Movie – Rehearse with Other Actors
In the same way, it takes two to tango it also takes a group of people to come together to make a film come true!
If you start thinking from a collaborative mindset from the beginning you will be successful in this industry. Rehearsing with other actors at an early stage in your career can set you forth on a very successful path in your acting endeavors.
Networking is a very valuable skill and the more you implement getting together with other fellow actors you will gain more insight, and friends and level up your skills at the same time.
How to be an Actor in a Movie – Take Acting Classes
This one is a no-brainer!
Taking acting classes will help you grow your skill set.
While here at Dezperate Actor we don’t teach acting, we do teach marketing for the actor so no matter which classes you take always be learning and put yourself in a student mindset in this industry.
Designed to help you catapult your career to new heights without compromising your art, all while building a profitable and purposeful acting empire.
How to be an Actor in a Movie – Stay Positive and Professional
This career has many ups and downs.
While the most important thing is to stay positive and always show up to any set, audition, meeting or networking event as a professional because your first impressions always count in this industry. Don’t ever forget to remain positive even through tough times.
Here at Dezperate Actor, we want to encourage every beginning, intermediate and even expert actor out there that this journey is meant for those that desire to obtain it.
We hope to be a guiding light and source of information for you to thrive in your career. Always remain positive and always strive to be the best version of yourself! You got this fellow actor!
Before you go…
Getting to know how to be an actor in a movie is just one step of the big game that makes the acting industry. If you want to learn more bookmark our website and keep reading our next article.
Steve DezI am the founder of Dezperate Actor® and I have been in the acting and entertainment industry since 2011. Since then, my mission is to make acting and breaking into Hollywood easy for everyone. And each year, I continue to help more people with acting tips, resources, coaching and online courses.
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