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 Coming soon
Scott Foley stars as Henry, one of three estranged siblings, in the new FOX summer series, The Goodwin Games. When he, his sister (Becki Newton) and brother (T.J. Miller) return home after their fathers death, they unexpectedly find themselves poised to inherit more than $20 million. Trouble is, they can only get the money if - and only if – they can adhere to their late father’s wishes.
The show is from the executive producers of How I Met Your Mother and Scott, who after graduating high school bought a one-way plane ticket to Los Angeles, said that even though he loved the script, he took the job “because I was available and it was there.”
I met Scott briefly a long time ago and he’s the most down to earth guy. And honest too based on his quote above. I talked to him in a conference call promoting the show and in the interview he talks about the cast, why he loves working in TV over film and theater and how he’s been very “fortunate” in his career.
The Goodwin Games premieres tonight (Monday) at 8:30pm on FOX Read more
There has been some debate over whether or not Kickstarter should be used to fund projects by creators who probably have the means — or at least access to the means — to fund the project themselves. This debate flared after fans ponied up the cash to fund a Veronica Mars movie and Zach Braff‘s next film in fractions of the allotted time. Some claim this is a revolutionary way to finance movies, while others say it’s akin to a celebrity exploiting his or her fanbase.
Regardless of which side of the debate you fall on, many filmmakers are getting in the Kickstarter act to raise money for their projects. However, not all of them are as successful as Zach Braff. Take Melissa Joan Hart, for instance. Read more
‘Lucky Guy’ Star Courtney B. Vance on Choosing Roles and What He Would Be If He Didn’t Make It as an Actor
Naturally the name “Tom Hanks” (also known as the most trusted person in America!) stands out on the poster for Broadway’s Lucky Guy even more than the title. Being that Hanks is one of the biggest movie stars in the world that makes sense, but it also makes it easy to forget that there are other talented individuals in the production, like Courtney B. Vance. The New Pittsburgh Courier interviewed Vance about working on Lucky Guy and his thoughts on what road he might have taken had he not become an actor.
First he speaks about what he looks for in a role in general and in his Lucky Guy role in particular. He says, “I look for roles that challenge me, and I consider whether it is something that I and my family will be proud of. Will my family be proud to watch the work and will it challenge me? In this case it was the opportunity to work with [writer] Nora Ephron and Tom Hanks and [director] George C. Wolfe; if the three of them are involved, I am in it. George is a taskmaster, and we are all exhausted, but exhilarated. He is relentless because his vision is so big.” Read more
Norbert Leo Butz on His Broadway Success: “The only thread through my career is near-constant employment. That is a huge, rare gift in the theater”
So if you already have gotten two Tony Awards for Best Leading Actor in a Musical, you shouldn’t be getting nervous about taking your next lead role on Broadway, right? Based on his interview with The St. Louis Dispatch, Norbert Leo Butz would disagree with you.
With the Chicago tryout of Big Fish — a musical adapted from the 2003 Tim Burton film — now wrapped up and heading to Broadway in September, Butz admits he’s feeling nervous about it. He confesses, “Talk about a tough gig. I hope somebody will get some inspiration, some positive re-enforcement, from it. This acting thing is not for sissies. But when I was in college, you couldn’t have told me that I wouldn’t be a working actor.”In fact, he was convinced he would become an actor ever since high school, in which he starred not only in his high school’s plays but also in plays in all-girls schools in his hometown. He says, “The acting bug bit me before I graduated. I just fell in love with theater, with a love bordering on the obsessive. I couldn’t get enough.” Read more
On May 16th, The Office will be closing its doors. After an eight-year run, Jim Pam, Dwight and the rest of the gang will be moving on to bigger and better things (hopefully). I’ve watched every episode of the long running series and I’ll definitely be sad to see the show go.
Before getting the role of Jim, John Krasinski was like almost every other actor in New York. He’d work his job as a waiter during the week then run off to an audition when he could. He had booked a few things but “not anything that would allow me to claim that I was a working actor and didn’t need another job,” he said during a conference call. Booking The Office was like winning the lottery, “except with a winning lottery ticket you just get money, and with this you get a whole change of your life.”
If you’re a fan of the show, you’ll love this interview. And honestly, even if you’re not, there’s some great stuff in here about what it’s like to go from hustling for auditions to becoming a star on a major network show. In this interview, John and Executive Producer/Writer Greg Daniels talk about the end of The Office, John’s audition, his past commercials and more. It’s a long one but it’s really great.
The Office airs on Thursdays at 9 on NBC – for only 2 more weeks! Read more
Inside the Actors Studio, hosted by James Lipton, will celebrate reaching 250 episodes with a special 2-hour show on Wednesday, May 29th at 7p.m.
Lipton sits down for brand new interviews with former guests including Actors Studio alumnus Bradley Cooper, Robert DeNiro, Jennifer Lopez, Christopher Walken, Barbara Walters, Dave Chappelle, Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien, Ellen Burstyn and Spike Lee. Read more
While he never garnered great reviews, Mike Tyson just completed a three-month tour of one-man show Undisputed Truth across the United States. Snicker all you want, but Tyson has built up with a noteworthy acting resume over the last few years, with scene-stealing cameos as himself in The Hangover and The Hangover Part II and a featured role in an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. However, Tyson is adamant that he plans on continuing his acting career, and even has a specific Shakespeare role he would like to tackle some day.
He revealed his knowledge of the Bard to reporters a few days before his show ended its run in Chicago by asking, “Wouldn’t Shakespeare be awesome? That black guy … could you imagine me in Othello?”
Tyson later backpedaled a bit on whether he was prepared to play the Moor of Venice, but also confesses that he believes he can do it, saying, “Anything you give me time to prepare, I can do. I don’t think I am ready for that yet, but I would like to try.” Read more