"I'm in high school and I want to pursue an acting career. How can I get started?"
Kathryn Blume, an ActorTips coach, had this thoughtful response:
The great gift of knowing exactly what you want to do is also the downside of knowing what you want to do - you feel like you're going to jump out of your skin until it happens. Hopefully, here's a little lotion for that existential eczema:
If this is what you want, then you're going to be doing it the rest of your life. So stay in school, get a good education, and find a college that will give you both good theater training and a good all-around education. The more you know about the world, and the more skills you have as a person, the better you'll be as an actor. Hopefully, you have a teacher or a guidance counselor who can point you in the right direction.
Most actors have a very high audition to job ratio, 20:1 or even 30:1 isn't uncommon. That means no matter how good you are, you still have to be right for the part, given the description of the character, AND you have to fit the director's idea of what the character is like as well. Plus, you have to fit in with the combination of all the other actors. Think about what happens when you go shopping. As hard as it is for you to find the perfect dress or pair of shoes - one that you really like and matches your other clothes and fits you well and is within your price range - that's how hard it is for a director to cast a role. So keep auditioning, but keep your expectations low.
Most actors never get "discovered." Most actors work for many years doing whatever shows are available to them, and slowly build a career for themselves, and it only looks like they were "discovered" because that's how the media presents it. For example, "The Graduate" was Dustin Hoffman's first movie, but he'd already been working in New York for ten years, driving cabs to make ends meet.
Take Control Where You Can
There's plenty you can do while you're still in school. Set up a play-reading group where you get together with other actors and read plays out loud. Work on monologues and scenes with your friends. If you don't get cast in the school play, put on your own.
Grab a video camera and make your own movies. Read books about acting and memoirs by other actors. Watch films with a critical eye towards each actor's performance. This kind of self-sufficiency will serve you well the whole rest of your life as an actor. You can't guarantee getting cast in someone else's project, but you can always cast yourself in your own.
Please Note: "Actor Tips" is copyright 2006 by Chad Gracia and ActorTips.com, Inc. All rights reserved. For more articles on acting, as well as free monologues and play scripts, subscribe to the newsletter by visiting http://www.actortips.com