Acting Career Stages

Everyone wants to have a career. To be paid to do what is their passion and to quit a horrible job. It is not common for actors to achieve this goal, and it can take many years of hard work. It’s no surprise that many people give up and try to find other jobs in the industry, such as producers, directors, writers, teachers, etc. Let’s look at each stage of an acting career. I encourage you to see the whole picture. Instead of dwelling on where you are now, think about the next steps and how you should go.

The Training Actor

Training is the foundation of every actor’s acting career. This phase is essential, and many actors skip it. Every day we get emails from actors asking how they got on “Netflix”. They don’t have any acting experience, no agent or foundational training. They also live in Alaska. It is hard, but they have to accept it. You won’t be able to make it as an actor if you don’t train. You won’t be able to make a living as a musician if you don’t train. You can’t just pick up a guitar to expect to be The Beatles. And you certainly cannot expect to become Judi Dench by picking up a script.

The Emerging Actor

This is an exciting phase. You have just graduated from Drama School or another training institution and are full of energy and untapped inspiration. You are eager to make a difference in the industry and get out there. This crucial phase involves first impressions, meetings, and new experiences. Many actors skip the Training Phase and jump straight to the Emerging Phase. I have never seen it work.

You’ll be able to graduate from Drama School and get your showcase. Hopefully, an agent will sign you off the back of this. If you don’t, you will need to submit your resume to agencies. The next step is to take headshots and create a showreel. If you have great training, excellent headshots, and a great showreel, you are more likely to be signed by an agent. You’ll get a lot of auditions once you sign with an agency. You’ll create a little buzz around you because you’re new, and the industry loves fresh.

The Hustling Actor

This is when your momentum may slow down a bit. This is where many actors get it wrong. Instead of trying to keep the momentum and the inspiration going, they turn bitter. They feel ‘duped’ and spend their time drinking or complaining about their fellow actors at cafes.

This phase is difficult, and there’s no doubt about that. Either you persevere, or you give in and give up. To build your work portfolio, you will need to work free. You’ll also need to continue your education by taking weekly masterclasses and classes. Finally, you’ll need relationships within the industry. Be friendly, positive, and hardworking. Do your research, go to as many audition rooms as possible, and if that fails, make a tape and send it to the agent. Keep in touch and keep game-planning.

This phase can last for years, so be prepared. This is a long, hard, exhausting ride with little reward until…

The Working Actor

Holy Macaroni! You’re in! You have landed a job in a TV series or an Indie feature film that travels to international festivals. It’s great! Finally, there is a reward for all the hustle!

The hype fades, and you are back to where you started – hustle. You continue to train, research, and perhaps even write your work. But you never stop because momentum is everything. You know what? You get another job! It continues like this: peaks and valleys, highs or lows, employed and unemployed. This is life as a working actor.

The Celebrity Actor

This is the limit of what 1% of you can achieve. Each year, the site is visited by millions of actors – that’s about 10,000 people. It might take some 20 years while others may only need 2 years. Some will reach this stage in their lives, but not all. Each person will have their journey, so I can’t give you any advice. It comes down to hard work (10000 hours) and luck. So, I guess you better get started…

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