How do I become an actor where I live at now?

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Answered by: Nina, An Expert in the Acting Basics Category
Hollywood is deemed the "Land of Dreams," where people travel across the globe seeking to land fame and fortune. There are many aspiring actors who come to Los Angeles in hopes of achieving their dreams of stardom. More often than not, they find themselves in a town that is very expensive, very competitive, and very disappointing!

As a California native who has spent years in the industry, I've seen these people come and go...people who become disillusioned and disappointed that their dream didn't happen as quickly as they thought. They eventually give up and take a 9-to-5 or move back home. My word of advice is to stay put where you are unless you have a "master plan" to sustain you as you pursue acting in Los Angeles.

There are things that you can do to develop acting skills and be fulfilled right where you live. In fact, the opportunities to act are more widespread in other states than ever before. The film industry is booming in places like; Louisiana, Atlanta, Chicago, Canada, even South Africa and Europe. Especially with the influx of online media content, you can become an actor right where you are if you're serious about it.

The trick to acting is to look like you're not doing it. You must look so believable that the audience empathizes with your character. In order to do that, you need to understand that YOU are a canvas waiting for YOU to paint the picture! Your tools to becoming an actor are inside of you waiting to come out.

First, start by observing your behavior as well as others. Understand what "motivates" people when they speak, when they don't, why they say the things they say. It's imperative to study human motivation, which is a basic need to minimize physical pain and maximize pleasure, or it may include specific needs such as eating and resting, or a desired object, goal, or state of being.

Humans act or react and perform actions stemming from some sort of motivation. We walk into the kitchen to the refrigerator. Why? To eat or get something to drink. We send out resumes to apply for a job in order to have a roof over our head, clothes on our back, transportation and so on. We socialize with other people. Why? To feel a sense of companionship, acceptance and love. Now, once you've become an observer and analyst of others behavior as well as yourself without judgment, just understanding that motivations exist good or bad, you're off to a good start in becoming an actor.

Again, your job is to appear to be real while portraying that character. You have train yourself to get rid of shyness, inhibitions, judgment and fear of what others may think of you. An actor is baring his/her soul to the public and any fear of judgment won't allow you to be free enough to use your tool to paint the canvass properly.

Have you ever seen a performer who was nervous? Their hands were shaking, voice trembling, and the use of their body seemed awkward? Well, that's because they haven't conquered the fear of exposing themselves to strangers. Fear is all in the mind and by conquering your fears through overcoming those challenges you are advancing to the next level of becoming an expert artist. Begin to find opportunities to speak publicly in front of others. Even if you feel nervous you must confront those fears so you can be uninhibited.

To become an actor is to become yourself, to be exactly who you are under pretend circumstances. You can't do that with nervousness interfering. Search online for community theater in your area and audition for roles you'd be suited for. Join yahoo groups or forums for casting opportunities in your area. Also, go to for casting notices. Contact your local colleges to see if they offer an acting class. Look on the Craig's List website under TV/Film/Video to see if there are any student or independent films you can audition for. Each time you get out there and just do it, you're learning what not to do and what works.

Before you start auditioning, it's important to have professional pictures of yourself called headshots. Your headshots are your business card. Your pictures and a resume are what you'll be sending to casting directors, producers, and agents who may hire you so a good picture is a top priority. There are talented photographers everywhere so look on Craig's List again, ask friends for referrals, search online for photographers in your area then schedule a photo shoot as soon as you can. Remember, to conquer any fear and just be yourself while taking pictures. Your photo should represent who you are so it's important to understand your qualities and personality when you do this.

Next, start practicing acting by reading monologues, "sides" and scripts aloud. Sides are one to several pages of lines in a script or play that casting directors give an actor to audition with. You can find plenty of monologues, scenes, scripts, and plays online. Utilize your favorite search engine to locate them. Out here in Hollywood, is a bookstore called Samuel French. They specialize in entertainment-related books on acting, directing, producing, filmmaking, cinematography, just about everything you can think of. They also have a website you can order books and plays from on the web or search for books on acting.

As to not overwhelm you with tons of information, this is enough to get you started. Becoming an actor is a continuous process and can't be taught in one session. My next article will discuss the next steps to becoming an actor. Have fun on the journey which starts with YOU!

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