I hope you're doing well today! So the question is, how do I become an actor or actress?
Well first of all let me tell you the story of how I became an actor in the USA. It all started back in 2008 when I decided I wanted to become an actor here, I had originally moved here in 2003 from Australia. I had previously studied modeling and acting there since 1991, however my first official acting training schooling was in 1997. So in 2008 I started looking online and came across a list of Background or extra agency listings. So I called some on the list, and one of them happened to be Central Casting. So I went in to their office and signed up (this is now free) at the time I paid a fee of about $20.00. I was also going to school at Mt. Sac College at the time. Anyway Central started booking me on jobs and then I decided to quit School and become a full time actor.
Later on I joined a calling service to help book me on more jobs and this worked very well. I was working non-union almost every day of the week. In the meantime I called SAG (The Screen Actors Guild) now known as SAG-AFTRA, and asked them for a list of agencies which I received from them. I then paid $50.00 for a photo store to take some Head-shots for me to send to agents. I proceeded to send a copy of my head-shot and resume to every agent on the list. By the way I had also been taking acting lessons at a local theater group in Pasadena Los Angeles. Out of all the agencies I sent my information too I received a call from one agent who I went in for an interview for and later joined.
I was still non union at the time and my agent suggested I work to become a Union member. As time went by I was now working and auditioning, from that particular agent through the auditions I booked two non union commercials. One for Internet and one for TV. By this time I had also moved on through two other acting schools. Later on through the extra work I became eligible to join the union, which I did. I still kept working as an extra as well as auditioning for acting jobs. The only problem i faced as an actor doing both auditioning extra work is that sometimes they both clash and you may miss an audition.
If you cancel the background job it looks bad with the casting director and your call in service. Now I am a paid up Union member (SAG/AFTRA) and I'm not doing any extra work. I'm just auditioning for jobs right now. I'm also back at school taking some night and weekend classes, as well as training privately with an acting coach. Since the beginning I have the two commercials under my belt and some co-star roles in Movies and Television. I have also starred in a Web Series, and am looking to Star in a new one in the near future. So this is how I became an actor and am continuing to pursue my career and dream.
When you join an agent you should not have to pay them any money. You may have to get new head-shots, however no up front payment to join should be required. The agent will then set you up on three websites, Casting Frontier, LA Casting, and Actors Access (This is if you require Commercial and Theatrical representation). Otherwise for Commercial only they will set you up on Casting Frontier and LA Casting, as Actors Access is for Theatrical.
If you have any questions please contact me via my website contact page!
I hope this information helps!
Until next time…
Thank you for visiting,
Matt J. Doyle