Getting into the Television/Film Industry?

Reply Wed 15 Nov, 2017 04:40 pm
I'm a 15 year old (16 in a month), 6'1'' male. I live in Eastern Florida and I'm in 10th grade. I'm in my theater club at school and have done a few musicals and plays in my past (Nothing too extravagant, maybe 6 or 7).

These plays/musicals include:
Beauty and the Beast - Gaston
Rose Red - Narrator
Mary Poppins - Ensemble
Thoroughly Modern Millie - Ensemble
Meet Me In St. Louis - Ensemble

Local Theatre:
Shrek Jr. - Captain of the Guards
A Christmas Story - Scut Farkus (The bully)

Mulan - Help teach primary schoolers (Ages from 8-11)

I haven't been the Districts for theater yet, simply because I never actually thought acting would be a good job to pursue. Recently, something happened that made me rethink my job choices and consider becoming an actor.

I had always wanted to either be an actor, or be an engineer. I understand that these two fields are polar opposites; though I'm wondering how I make acting go from a hobby to an actual part-time job.

I had also considered taking up modeling. My mother always wanted to get me into modeling when I was 12, though I had refused. Since then, people had always told me that I look a lot like a younger Leonardo DiCaprio (Like Jack from Titanic), and that I would be an amazing model. I am a tall, slim Caucasian male with a good physique, though not necessarily 'ripped'.

Is there any specific thing I have to do to become an actor? I would prefer something free as of now. I had searched on websites such as backstage.com, but those have a $20.00 monthly fee; and I haven't even been in a true production, apart from my school theater and my local theater.

Any ideas?

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Reply Wed 15 Nov, 2017 05:39 pm
Here are a few (note: I am not in the biz):
  • Acting, singing, and dancing lessons - from the best people you can find in your area. Understand technique, be able to project better, and move better, plus potentially get a mentor and maybe future job contacts - all to the good.
  • More volunteering. Get involved with more productions so you meet a wider and wider range of people. Given that you like engineering, are you a tinkerer? I bet a lot of productions would LOVE someone who could fix stuff.
  • Start investigating where you can go to school for acting. Everybody knows about Julliard, but they are hella competitive. I looked up a few in Florida: http://arts.ufl.edu/
    Always, always, always go to the place where you get the best mix of cost, contacts, job placement, academics, and support - but trade one of those for prestige if you can get it.
  • Consider other ways to hone your craft. Can you try out for standup? Student teach theater arts when you get older? How about writing, to get a handle on that perspective?
  • Modeling, like you said, but be aware that there are scams out there so be aware and be careful. Always have an adult go with you and, if you don't have an agent, at least have a family member or a close friend present, even after you turn 18. That way, you'll have someone to bounce ideas off - maybe what you think is an awesome offer isn't when viewed by someone looking at it more objectively. Plus it'll keep you out of casting couch stuff as much as possible.
  • Also, it should go without saying, study and do well in school. Particularly English and any foreign language you might be taking. Partly that's to make college easier (you may be able to place out of Freshman Comp or the language requirement, or at least be advanced - and the fewer requirements you have to take, the more time and $$ there is for theater stuff), but it's also because both should help you with acting. Knowing Moby Dick (for example) will make it more convincing if you ever try out for such a production. And knowing how to speak and pronounce Spanish can help if you need to put on an accent or say foreign words for auditions.
  • Finally, do your best to develop a thick skin. Acting is a TOUGH profession to get into. You are going to a fail A LOT more often than you will succeed. Learn how to be resilient, and to learn from mistakes and when you're not chosen even though you made no errors. Sometimes they only need 10 guys like you and you're outta luck when you're the 11th one to show up.
Good luck!
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