After almost choking to death on a sandwich, Anne Heche’s Beth Harper claims she can talk to God in the new NBC comedy, Save Me. When she’s revived, Beth thinks she can see the Big Guy and starts to make amends to everyone she’s every shut out of her life… and it’s a lot of people.
Also starring Madison Davenport (Shameless) as her horrified daughter, Michael Landes as her skeptical husband and Alexandra Breckenridge (American Horror Story) as her husband’s ex-mistress, Beth eventually starts to win people over with her new optimistic views on life.
In this interview, Heche talks about her love of physical comedy, trying to quit acting when she was younger and how we all get “messages” from God.
Save Me airs on Thursdays at 8pm on NBC Read more
You want to learn how to become an actor? Join the club! Most everyone at one time or another has probably thought about becoming an actor.
They watch their favorite shows and movies and think, “I can do that!” They think it’s easy and glamorous.
But what most people don’t realize is that it’s a lot of hard work. It’s a huge amount of fun but yeah, it’s work!
It takes a special kind of person to want to become an actor. They have to be determined, unafraid of rejection and willing to work hard to consistently get better at their chosen craft.
This isn’t a site on how to become famous. This isn’t about becoming a star because odds are, you won’t. Hopefully you’re here because you want to learn how to be the best actor you can be. Whether you’re in Los Angeles or New York, Ohio or Colorado, you absolutely can make this happen.
One thing you should know from the start though is that being an actor is expensive. You’ll need money for headshots, headshot reproduction and acting classes. Eventually, you’ll need to market yourself with postcards and a website. You’ll also need to add your material to casting websites such as Actors Access. It’s definitely not cheap!
So, if you’re looking for steps on how to get into acting, you’ve come to the right place.
For links and more information on how to become an actor, check out our actor resources page. (coming soon)
One of the first things you’ll need is a headshot. This is not the place to skimp and be cheap because this is your calling card. If you submit an awful headshot, 99% of the time it’ll be filed away in the trashcan. Having a headshot that isn’t professional, it just automatically shows casting directors, directors and producers that you’re not serious about acting.
Your headshot needs to be shot by a professional and needs to look like you. Seriously, I can’t count how many times a casting director has told me that they’ve called in an actor for an audition and they either look 10 years older in person or their headshot was so photo-shopped that they had to do a double take. Your headshot must look like you, not what you want to look like. You should see my headshot… think I want to look like that?
What’s the cost? For New York and LA, paying $400 to $500 for a headshot session is the norm. Obviously, if you live outside of these cities, you should pay less.
If you need to find headshot photographers near you, click on the link.
The next thing you’ll need is an acting resume.
This isn’t like a resume you’d give to someone when you’re applying for a “normal” job. An acting resume is totally different. You can see examples here. (coming soon)
“I’m just starting out and have nothing to put on my resume!” I’ve heard that before and don’t worry. Everyone starts somewhere. You can easily fix that! Audition for small roles at your local Community, Dinner theater or join the cast of a Church or School production. If you’re in school then join the drama club. All of these things can be listed on your resume. You can even list any acting classes you’ve taken.
If there isn’t a role for you in the upcoming show, ask if you can help out. Theaters always need a good, responsible volunteer. This will get you in with the theater community and will make it tons easier when you actually do audition. They’ll already know you so it’ll be easier for them to take a chance on you!
Click here for more information on an acting resume. And if you need it, here’s an acting resume template. (both coming soon)
Learn Your Craft
Take a class! I’m sure there is some kind of acting class or acting program near you. I grew up in a small town and there were at least 5 acting classes within 20 minutes of where I lived.
If you’re still in school, try and find a summer acting camp. Usually, these are all day workshops that take place Monday-Friday. You’ll learn tons and walk away a much better actor. Plus, these are great places to meet people who are into the same things as you!
Go to college. There are a bunch of great schools you can choose for acting. You’ll be immersed in all things acting so how can you not improve? You’ll learn everything from movement, costumes, theater history, acting styles and techniques and best of all, you’ll be performing constantly.
I went to college in Baltimore, Maryland and loved my time there. I met some wonderful teachers and made some great friends that I still keep in touch with to this day.
For a list of acting schools and colleges, click here. (coming soon)
Audition for Community Theater. Like I said in the resume section, auditioning for Community Theater is a wonderful way to get started. I did a handful of musicals for my local Community Theater when I was in high school and I loved every minute of it. Plus, I learned a lot in the process.
Start off as an ensemble member of a large cast (every town does Oklahoma or another huge production at least once a year). Again, by getting involved, you’ll get to know the local theater companies and the people involved. The more they get to know you, they easier it’ll be to nail a part in one of the upcoming shows – especially if you’ve started off with no experience.
Audition as much as you can. Audition even if you don’t want the part. The more you audition, the better you’ll be at it. Learn to love auditioning because chances are, that’s all you be doing the first couple years once you have decided to become an actor.
Start Your Own Play Reading Group. Get a couple of friends together once every couple of weeks and read a play. Give yourself the lead role! The star of Beautiful Creatures, Alden Ehrenreich does exactly that. When I interviewed him, this is what he told me: “Just invite friends over to read a play. Like, me and my friends do that a lot and it just… it promotes that energy and that energy only builds, but you have to get the… you have to start the engine. You know?”
Don’t know what to start off with? Try something from Christopher Durang or Martin McDonaugh. Or, how about something that’s currently playing on Broadway?
Acting Agents and Managers. At this point, you might want to start looking for an agent. Do you have to have one? No, not at all. Especially if you’re not a member of any of the acting unions (SAG-AFTRA or Equity).
Don’t ever pay an agent or manager a fee for joining their agency or company. There are actor scams out there where you’ll be asked to pay an “agency fee” when you sign up. Don’t do it. Ever. The only time you should pay an agent or manager is after you’ve received payment for an acting job you’ve booked and already worked on.
Will you need a manager? Odds are you won’t. You’ll only need a manager when you have a career that actually needs to be managed. Typically, managers to 20% of what you’ve made on each job. That’s a lot of money to give to someone when you’re only working a couple times a year.
If you’re in Los Angeles or New York City, check out our actor mailing labels. We have sets of casting director mailing labels and agent mailing labels updated monthly.
Auditions and Casting Calls. How do you find auditions and casting calls? If you’re not in LA or NYC, check your local paper or their website. Google – auditions ‘my city’ – and I’m sure something will come up. Also, check out Actors Access or call your local SAG-AFTRA office. Most either have hotlines or audition information listed on their site. That’s how I found out about the audition that got me my SAG card.
Also, take a look at our post, Top 11 Reputable Casting Websites.
Acting is a Business
You have to treat acting as a business because that’s what it is, a business.
When you’re called in for an audition, be prepared. Know your scene, monologue or your song. Come with your headshot and resume (stapled together!). Be professional. You might only have one shot with that casting director. Make it the best and show them you have the goods!
Casting directors, directors and anyone who can hire you want to know that you are the answer to their casting “problem”. They need you and they want you to be great! They are rooting for you.
Keep up with what is happening in the entertainment industry.
Don’t go into this blind. Nothing irritates me more than meeting an actor who doesn’t watch TV or isn’t up to date on what is going on in film, TV or theater. This is your job!
My favorites are The Hollywood Reporter and Variety for film and TV news. Backstage is good as well. And of course, Daily Actor (shameless plug) – we feature interviews with actors, articles where actors talk about the craft of acting. We also we have a huge actors resource page. (coming soon)
This Won’t Happen Overnight
I did my first play in Elementary school, did the fall and summer productions in High School and then started to do shows at my local community theater. When I went to college, I moved onto Dinner Theater and found other theater companies to work with. While I was doing that, I auditioned for an industrial film, got the part and was lucky enough to get my SAG card. I’ve been acting for years and I’ve loved every minute of it.
Some people get lucky right off the bat. Some don’t… it could take them years. But, if you work hard, it’ll happen. If you’re prepared, it’ll happen.
Links and Resources – More Coming soon
SXSW Interview: Actors Josh Barrett and Marc Menchaca Talk About Their Feature Film Debut as Co-Directors of ‘This Is Where We Live’
Josh Barrett and Marc Menchaca are two actors who are doing things right. They’re not waiting for someone – their agents, managers, whoever – to call them. They took their careers into their own hands and made a really nice film called, This Is Where We Live.
Josh and Marc met and became friends while they were filming HBO’s Generation Kill in Africa. When that ended, they kept in touch, helping each and with auditions. But, with acting not the most secure business in the world, they both separately branched out and started writing and directing. Marc eventually wrote the script for This Is Where We Live, contacted Josh and the two decided to go all in and make the film. They would end up co-directing and Marc would be the star.
The film, which screened at SXSW, is set in Texas and has Marc playing Noah, a local handyman. He’s hired by a family to build a wheelchair ramp for the families son, August (Tobias Segal), who has cerebral palsy. Noah and August form a bond and from that, lives are changed. The writing is great, the actors are pretty damn perfect and as directors, Marc and Josh definitely have a bright future. Check it out if you get a chance.
I talked to both Marc and Josh after SXSW ended about why they decided to grab the reigns of their careers as they put it and make the film. We also talked about how co-directing worked, directing the actors and their advice to others who want more out of their careers.
SXSW Interview: Evil Dead’s Jessica Lucas on Zombie Coaches, “Uncomfortable” Makeup and Shooting in New Zealand
The Evil Dead is freaking awesome. I’m not even a fan of horror films but this one was great. I saw the premiere at SXSW and it’s funny, the effects look absolutely real and the cast – you actually believe they’ve been friends forever.
At SXSW, I talked with Jessica Lucas about shooting the film in New Zealand, getting a zombie coach, the “uncomfortable, awful” makeup and one of her worst auditions ever.
Jessica’s from Canada and she got her start there as a kid doing local theater and from there she got an agent and she’s pretty much been working ever since. She’s recently appeared in the CW’s new version of Melrose Place, Friends with Benefits and Psych but now, she’s going to scare the pants off you in Evil Dead.
For the full interview, click the audio link above or download it from iTunes
Evil Dead comes out this Friday! Read more
James McAvoy on ‘Trance,’ the “Difficult” ‘Macbeth’ and Finally Feeling Like He Deserves His “Place in the Industry”
James McAvoy has found one of his toughest roles yet—well, physically that is. In the London revival of MacBeth, McAvoy has already injured himself several times.
“I probably find it more difficult doing this Macbeth than any of the action movies I’ve ever done,” he said in an interview with NPR. “I’ve never been injured on an action movie. I’ve been injured playing this guy so much more than any action movie I’ve been on…Different things [happen] every night. Just as soon as I make myself safe by going, ‘I won’t do that again cause then I get a sword in my face,’ something else happens and I put my shoulder out.
“We’ve all suffered in the cast. There’s 15 of us in the cast, and we’re all down to physio like twice a week having to get sports massages and all that, but that’s kind of the joy of it. We’ve got a really brave, bold, violent, in-your-face scary production, and it’s the kind of Macbeth I’ve always wanted to be in.” Read more
Community stars Alison Brie and Danny Pudi are clearly great friends. In a recent conference call, the two were finishing each other sentences, making each other laugh and talking about how much they love working together. It was a fun conversation to be part of.
I love the show and am so happy it came back so another season. It’s been a bit hit and miss but I think the recent episodes show that it’s coming back to what it was when Dan Harmon was the head guy.
In this interview, the two talk about the current season, the new show-runner, working on the Dreamatorium episode and more!
Everyone involved with the ABC drama Nashville is quick to point out that the show could not be possible without two very fearless leaders: show creator Callie Khouri and the man behind the music, T-Bone Burnett.
At the PaleyFest panel on Saturday, March 9, Khouri and the cast came onstage at the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills to sing the show’s praises. Much of the cast described their eagerness to come onboard once they heard Khouri was behind the show—several mentioned their love of her film, Thelma and Louise. Burnett is actually Khouri’s husband—he’s the much acclaimed musical genius behind the show’s country setting (his previous projects include O, Brother Where Art Thou?, Crazy Heart, and The Hunger Games.)
“There was instant credit by attaching T-Bone’s name,” said Charles Esten, who plays Deacon Claybourne. “He has this ferocious dedication…and he gives us a stable ground to fly from.” Read more
Written by Douglas Taurel
Through my experience of working on low budget and independent films for the past 15 years, I have learned that are a few crucial and important rules that can help you survive the jungle of what is called the independent film world or better known as Guerrilla Film making.
Working on independent films where the budgets are small, grueling sets and conditions in extreme cold and heat for little and no pay, it’s easy to get lost. The important thing to always remember and tell yourself that you are doing it because you have a deep passion for learning and moving your career forward! Read more
The Screen Actors Guild Awards have announced it’s first couple of presenters for its 19th annual ceremony.
First-time SAG Awards nominee Bradley Cooper is recognized this year for his lead role in David O. Russell’s “Silver Linings Playbook” and as a cast member in the film. In addition to “Playbook,” Cooper had three other films in release in 2012: “The Words,” “Hit and Run,” and “The Place Beyond the Pines.” In May, he’ll be seen in “The Hangover Part III” and later this year will star opposite his “Playbook” co-star Jennifer Lawrence in the suspense drama “Serena.” He’ll also reunite with Russell to work on the director’s film about the Abscam scandal, also starring Christian Bale. Read more
Ben Affleck‘s Argo took home one of the big prizes of the night, winning the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture, Drama. Affleck himself nabbed the statue for Best Director, which I thought was great considering the snub he got from the Oscars. The other big prize, Best Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical went to Les Miserables. Duh.
The big acting prizes went to Daniel Day-Lewis (Actor, Drama for Lincoln), Jessica Chastain (Actress, Drama for Zero Dark Thirty), Hugh Jackman (Actor, Comedy or Musical for Les Miserables), Jennifer Lawrence (Actress, Cmedy or Musical for Silver Linings Playbook), Anne Hathaway (Supporting Actress for Les Miserables) and Christoph Waltz (Supporting Actor for Django Unchained).
On the TV front, the actors taking home the gold were Damian Lewis (Actor, Drama Series for Homeland) and his co-star Claire Danes (Actress, Drama). Don Cheadle (Actor, Comedy or Musical for House of Lies), Lena Dunham (Actress, Comedy or Musical for Girls), Ed Harris (Supporting Actor, Mini-Series or Movie for Game Change), Maggie Smith (Supporting Actress, Mini-Series or Movie for Downton Abbey), Kevin Costner (Actor, Mini-Series or TV Movie for Hatfields & McCoys) and Julianne Moore (Actress, Mini-Series or TV Movie for Game Change).
The full list is below. Read more