The question on most aspiring actors mind is...
Do I need to go to drama school or have an acting degree to be an actor?
This is an easy one to answer….
You absolutely do not need to go to Drama school or have an acting degree to be an actor!
Some of the most famous actors had absolutely no experience when they landed their first acting gig, examples include:
However, if you want to be an actor and are struggling to know how to get started, here are some helpful tips to start your journey!
No.1 Educate yourself by reading books from legendary acting teachers. There are many practitioners who have written books on the art of acting, here are some of my favourites: Constantin Stanislavki’s ‘An Actor Prepares’ Stanislavski is known as the ‘Father of Naturalism’, his teachings are where the style of naturalistic acting came from. Lots of practitioners have adapted their own techniques from Stanislavski’s and this book is a good starting point for new actors who want to understand and learn the fundamentals of what we see on stage and screen today.
In this book you will learn how to inwardly prepare as an actor, learn about the ‘magic if’, emotion memory, objectives & super-objectives and much more! You can get your copy in the links below: Paperback Copy: https://amzn.to/40abJ1Y Kindle Edition: https://amzn.to/3K0gR2P Listen to it on Audible: https://amzn.to/3JHGjZE Uta Hagens ‘Respect for Acting’ Uta Hagen is both a renowned actor and teacher, she built her method around Stansilavski’s system. This book is almost a step by step guide on how to build a character with practical exercises to go along with each chapter. One of Hagen’s main aims was to get the actor rooted in the role as opposed to over-intellectualising their process and is a big advocate for taking inspiration from observing daily life.
You can get your copy in the links below: Paperback Copy: https://amzn.to/3K322Ng Kindle Edition: https://amzn.to/42BZQDF ‘Sanford Meisner on Acting’ Last, but certainly not least, I recommend reading ‘Sanford Meisner on Acting’. This book follows 15 months of Meisner’s Acting class and has him taking the students through the fundamental exercises, right up to a final performance of scenes from contemporary American playwrights.
The book takes you through it as if you are a student observing the class, you’ll read about Meisner’s techniques and examples of authentic and truthful acting.
Paperback Copy: https://amzn.to/3lyTWSS
No. 2 Work out what TYPE of actor you want to be. In order to position yourself appropriately to agents, casting directors and for auditions you may find through sites such as Backstage, Mandy and on Facebook groups such as ‘Actors UK’ and ‘Casting Calls & Acting Auditions in London/Do Casting’ - you must first work out what TYPE of actor you are! When I say ‘Type of Actor’, I don’t just mean your casting type, there also a couple of things that go into it, so you have clear goals and a direction to head in. Lets dive in with some questions to ask yourself: 1. Do I want to work on Stage, TV, Film or Theatre in Education? Or do I want to do all of it? If you can pick just one of these mediums to start with, you will have a clear direction to focus on when looking for auditions to apply for, the Casting Directors you want to connect with and when looking for an agent to represent you. For example, there is no point in connecting with a Casting Director who only works on film productions if you are wanting to be a stage actor. 2. What type of role do I want to be considered for? Most of the time as an actor, there is a certain role you’ve always wanted to play regardless of the level you’re at in your career. For me, I’ve always wanted to play a Detective on a TV series and so I align my actions with this goal. From the types of headshots I showcase on my Spotlight profile, to the types of Casting Directors I connect with - if you set out a clear goal, it’s easier to achieve it because you have a focus and a direction. 3. Realistically, how much time can I dedicate to being an actor? When asking yourself this question, consider rehearsal periods, the time you will be on set or performing, audition preparation and recording/attending the audition, marketing on social media, etc. You want to be as realistic as possible about this because you want your acting career to be enjoyable and not squeezed in between your current busy schedule! Try to consider how you can incorporate your acting career into your life in a way that works for you. If the ‘type of actor’ you are right now is a part time actor, that is totally okay and in time you can build your way up to become a full-time actor, if that is your ultimate goal. But… be sure on this question before you apply for representation to agents and/or start auditioning for projects, as you want to create a reliable reputation for yourself in this industry.
No.3. Invest in some training Although you don’t need to have a formal qualification from a Drama School or University to be an actor, it is a good idea to have some practical training to get yourself familiar with the craft before you step foot in an audition room. Since the pandemic, acting training has become a lot more accessible with many coaches offering an online service. This makes it easier for you to start your acting journey, especially if you aren’t close to London (where most in-person acting classes take place), or if your struggling to afford both the classes and the train fare or perhaps you have responsibilities at home but still want to take some classes. There are some great online group classes out there now such as iampro and city academy. Or if you want more individualised training based around your goals and abilities, consider taking 1-1 online sessions. In my online 1-1 zoom sessions, I work with students on a range of skills such as: - An understanding of the Stanislavsky technique and how to use it. - Fundamentals of acting for both stage and screen. - How to safely prepare the body, mind and voice for acting. -Breath work for the netural actor. - Creating a fully formed character from scratch. - Practical exercises and implementation of Uta Hagen's teachings. -Helping you find the truth and authenticity in each character. - How to find emotion and expression in text. - Interpretation and analysis of text and how to use it in the rehearsal room and on set.
Good luck with your acting careers and if you have any questions, please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Coach Kat x