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How do I Become an Actress?

Mitch Morgan
Updated Feb 18, 2024
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While it may be considered one of the most difficult and competitive occupations by some, there are important preparatory steps one may take in efforts to become an actress of recognition. To become an actress, one must possess the patience and persistence necessary to cope with a work schedule that may be inconsistent and diverse. An actress should be willing to accept work when it is offered; waiting on the "perfect" job could mean waiting a matter of years before the preferred acting job comes along. To help assure a consistent acting career that will potentially spawn new opportunities, an actress should be well educated in her field, willing to network and interact with industry professionals and other actors, be open to a highly flexible schedule, and maintain an upbeat, persistent attitude.

Like many careers, an actress' education and expertise may be vital to obtaining the perfect job. Unlike some professions, however, there are no guarantees of advancement, or of a steady, consistent workload. An actress' resumé, which demonstrates her acting abilities, previous accomplishments, and present goals will be much more appealing to industry officials than a resumé that reflects little or no background in acting. An actress should not expect to develop into a professional overnight. Serious actors may spend years studying and researching before achieving national or even regional success; veteran actors might require months, perhaps even years, of preparation for a single role.

Following some education or acting background, a headshot, or simply a photograph, and a resumé of previous acting experience should be created for distribution to acting agencies. An acting agency will generally assign an actress to a talent agent, whose job will be to assist them in locating work. Although hiring an agent is not mandatory by any means, one may find it easier to become an actress with assistance from industry professionals. Still, some actresses work independently, searching for employment much like everyone else: online, in newspapers, and through classified advertisements.

A final step one may consider in the search to become an actress is location. Despite the fact that major metropolitan locations like Hollywood and New York tend to focus more on acting professions than others, moving to California certainly should not a pre-requisite to become an actress. There are countless acting and talent agencies scattered across the world that specialize in recruiting new talent for various acting spots in television commercials, films, theatre, and various jobs where actors may be cast as extras. While these latter jobs may not be the most sought after by an up-and-coming Hollywood star, many of today's prominent actresses began their careers by accepting these smaller, perhaps non-speaking roles, and found their way towards international fame by working from one job to the next.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mitch Morgan
By Mitch Morgan
As a multi-talented journalist, photographer, and test administrator, Mitch Morgan has contributed to a diverse array of publications, such as the arts and entertainment guide for Oxford, Mississippi, the Oxford Town, and the trade publication Nightclub & Bar Magazine. In addition to his freelance work for WiseGeek and several other websites, Mitch has written dozens of album reviews which allows him to share his passion for music and media.
Discussion Comments
By pastanaga — On Mar 17, 2014

@Fa5t3r - Have many actresses made that kind of transition though? I know there are definitely musicians that have, but that's a different medium. It seems like most actors still get into show business the old fashioned way at the moment. They either know someone or they work their way up through bit parts.

By Fa5t3r — On Mar 17, 2014

@clintflint - I don't know about shows being filmed in Canada but I do know that a lot of productions that aren't being filmed locally will actually ship in extras, particularly if they have any kind of speaking role, so moving to the place where they are filming doesn't exactly guarantee work.

If I wanted to become an actress in this day and age I would look at trying to get into small Youtube based productions. There are plenty that reach huge audiences and you will have a lot more control over your roles than you would if you were scrambling for exposure on TV or in films.

By clintflint — On Mar 16, 2014

Remember that there are a lot of places out there where TV studios film because they are cheaper than New York or California. Toronto, for example, is the home of a lot of production companies and they would probably be thrilled to find more US actresses locally because they are pretending their sets are US locations and they need to keep the accents accurate.

Moving someplace like that means that you will hopefully have less competition, and TV is where careers are being made at the moment.

Mitch Morgan
Mitch Morgan
As a multi-talented journalist, photographer, and test administrator, Mitch Morgan has contributed to a diverse array of...
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