The important thing to remember in getting started professionally, is the mental realization that you are in the "Big Leagues". No longer are you acting just for fun, you are acting to make money and hopefully build a career. You will be competing against the biggest and best in the world and you MUST be prepared.
You need to make sure that you have the talent to compete on the professional entertainment level. If you are still in school, join the performing arts (drama) club. You will get valuable insight into the art and do various productions that will help you gain experience and exposure. You will also receive training from the teacher in charge that will help you become a better performer.
If you are not in school, go to a class that teaches acting. The important thing is to check the references of the class to make sure that they have professional and competent instructors. Many places will even allow you to take one class for free to see if you like it.
Whether you take your classes in school or outside, you MUST train. There are no professions in the world that are very lucrative and have a requirement that you don't need to train.
Remember, you are competing with the world's best actors and you must stay on top of the game and that is done by training.
The only exception to this, is if you have a child actor who is under seven or eight years of age. At those ages, many casting directors are looking for spontaneity in the children and not method. So classes are not required for them.
While you are in training, you should be readying yourself for getting professional pictures done. Many people question whether you should get a headshot, commercial shot or comp card done. Ideally, you would like to have BOTH a headshot and full length commercial shot, so many people opt to get a comp card, because it includes both those on one card. They put the headshot on the front and two or three other shots on the back. Some prefer to get separate headshots and body shots.
If you speak to twenty different casting directors in different parts of the country, you probably would get eight or so different opinions. We at A1 Talent! feel that unless you are a small (seven and under) child OR an older child that is interested in BOTH acting and modeling, OR an adult interested in ONLY modeling, stay away from the comp card. Comp cards are great for models, but if you are thinking about acting, go with the separate headshot and commercial (long) shot. If you can only afford to do one, then go for the black and white headshot. For more on pictures go to picture and resume assistance.
Once you have some training, your pictures, and have gotten the clearance from the instructor that you are ready for professional auditions, then the REAL work starts. You want to begin to search for auditions. There are many sites on the web that have audition sites. You need to go through them and search for something that is in your category.
WARNING! Thoroughly check out the posting to see if it is legitimate. If they are asking for money or want you to go to a private residence for auditions, it is most likely a scam! BE CAREFUL! Try to take someone with you to any audition that you are unsure of, and if not, make sure that you leave a massage with someone telling them where you are going and what time you will be back. Remember SAFETY FIRST!
Many postings will ask for you to send a picture and resume. Be willing to send out as many resumes as necessary. If you need help with your resume, go to picture and resume assistance.
If you are worried about giving out your personal address on your info, go and get a P.O. Box. This way you have a return address and your home address stays private. You can also get a cell phone so you don't miss any important calls. Many companies have excellent plans that are not too terribly expensive.
People have asked us if we feel it is important to get a personal website. We feel that it is an EXCELLENT idea. EVERY performer should have their own site. The reason is, as more business is done on the web every day, you will find that many castings will ask for a web site link to view you as an alternative to sending in info. We at Talent! also ask for actors websites, as we can view them instantaneously and have an instant idea of whether we want to call them.
On your website you should put your professional pictures (please, no pictures of you hanging out with your home girls or guys, or pix of you with your baby brother). This is a professional site and you want to give that impression. You may include on other pages, your bio and resume, and a link to your e-mail address for contact. And basically that's it.
You don't have to go crazy and get Flash and HTML and all the trimmings (unless you want to, and know how). There are excellent places such as Homestead, AOL, and Yahoo among others that will allow you to do a site at a reasonable price.
If you have done all this, now we know that you are indeed SERIOUS about your career. And since you are, you might decide to go shopping for a Talent Coach (Consultant), Talent Manager (both services by A1 Talent Success!) and agents.
The key is, that you will have to submit, submit and submit. It is not uncommon to have sent 100 submissions and received only 5 responses. You must understand there are thousands of other actors doing the same thing that you are.
That is why a talent manager can help you. One, they can also submit on your behalf, and that gives you even more submissions going out for you, and two, when you submit and you have a manager, it shows that another professional thought enough about your possible talent to take you under their wing. It can only help. If you are fortunate enough to be represented by A1 Talent Success! or any other excellent talent management company, count your blessings and work closely with them!
We will not go into the difference between managers and agents, as that info can be found at Professional Talent Orientation.
Remember, even though you have representation, you should still look for jobs, network and submit on your own. Representation is there to help you, but should not take the place of your own diligence in working your career. Just make sure that if there is any interest in your services, that you let your manager know. This fact is IMPERATIVE!
Finally, let me take time here to talk about your relationship with your manager and agent. Understand, like we mentioned in the beginning, that this is a business. Managers and agents make their money on commissions. If we are not receiving commissions from you, then you obviously are not helping us pay our bills, and paying bills is the only way that we can stay in business.
Businesses work on what is commonly called the 80/20 rule. That is, that many times 80% of their income usually comes from about 20% of their clients. YOU WANT TO BE PART OF THAT 20%!
THE MORE A MANAGER OR AGENT RECEIVES COMMISSIONS FROM YOU, THE MORE HE WILL PUSH YOU! It just makes business sense. That's not to mean that if you are not giving your manager of agent commissions that he will forget about you. Far from it. But just remember that when that BIG audition comes up, and the choice is between the talent that has not booked and the talent that has booked numerous jobs, the audition will go to the booking talent. Why? Because in the business, professionals have to go with the hot hand. We have to make the money. The non-booking talent probably will get the lower paying auditions until they prove that they can book. Once they start to book, then they will move up the ladder.
So DON'T, WHATEVER YOU DO, try to hide any commissions from your manager or agent You may think that you are saving a little money, but in the end it may come back to haunt you and actually cost you even more money.
This may happen in several ways. First, if he or she finds out, the trust will be lost forever, and everything you do will be scrutinized. Second, the more money you give your manager and agent, the more you will be pushed. (See above.) That is the way the entertainment industry runs, and you need to know that up front.
We at A1 Talent! want you to succeed and to be the best that you can. You can help us by being honest financially and pushing to make yourself the best entertainer that you can. Therefore, you can make money, we can make money, and in turn we can help others make money, so we can all feed our families.
If you're seriously ready to join the BEST, fill in your information below. Come join us at A1 Talent Success! We'd love to include you in our family of successful athletes and entertainers!
You must be at least 18 years of age to begin service. If talent is 17 or under, get parent's permission first before filling out form.