So you want to act

Get ready to audition

Read the script closely
Find out about the production company
Select the best role(s) for you
Prepare for all types of auditions (individual, small group, and everyone at once)
Arrive early--be confident

(How auditions work)

St. Louis can boast of being the birthplace of many well-known actors and actresses including Vincent Price, Redd Foxx, Shelley Winters, Kevin Kline, and Cedric the Entertainer. Are you hoping to add your name to the list?

Acting, whether as a professional or as an amateur, on stage or television, with comedic or dramatic roles, requires a strong commitment. But the rewards can be fulfilling and exciting.

The actor's survival kit
Miriam Newhouse and Peter Messaline.
Toronto : Dundurn Press, c2010.
The Actor's Survival Kit is required reading in Canadian theatre schools and is a constant resource for its many readers across the country. This 5th edition gives actors fresh research from today's experience, new lists of Canada-wide contacts, and input from success stories. It speaks to a new generation of artists, giving them an up-to-date guide to the business of acting. The book addresses a range of new issues: performer websites, video self-production, and sending rÉsumÉs and networking on the Internet. It also takes a fresh look at old ones: agents, self-promotion, and work opportunities for women and minorities. The authors learn by constantly talking to emerging artists about the problems they face in the business in Canada. Often those conversations begin with, &"You wrote the book!&" The authors are still receiving thanks from grateful artists who have been guided by this irreplaceable book over the years.
The new business of acting : how to build a career in a changing landscape
Brad Lemack
Los Angeles, CA : Ingenuity Press, c2010.
In a follow up to his popular first book, The Business of Acting: Learn the Skills You Need to Build the Career You Want, talent manager Brad Lemack offers both new-to-the-business and working actors a vital perspective on the changing landscape in which they seek to launch and grow (or to reinvent) their professional careers.
Acting in television commercials for fun and profit
Squire Fridell.
New York : Three Rivers Press, c2009.
Acting in television commercials is a highly competitive business, but it can also be very lucrative. Whether you're looking for your first break or want to take your acting career to the next level, Squire Fridell will give you the insider's edge. Arguably the king of TV commercials, Fridell distills four decades of experience in this comprehensive, humorously written guide that has been indispensable to aspiring TV commercial actors since the first edition hit the shelves in 1980. This fully updated fourth edition gives the lowdown on how online and digital technologies have changed the industry and tells you everything you need to know about:
How to sell yourself as an actor
K. Callan.
Studio City, CA : Sweden Pr , c2008.
How to be a working actor : the insider's guide to finding jobs in theater, film and television
Mari Lyn Henry & Lynne Rogers.
New York : Back Stage Books, c2008.
Renowned for more than two decades as the most comprehensive resource for actors, How to Be a Working Actor is a must-read for achieving success in The Business. Now this "Bible of the Biz" has been completely revised and greatly expanded to address new markets, ever-changing opportunities, and the many new ways today's actors and work. Talent manager, teacher, and career coach Mari Lyn Henry and actress, author, and spokeswoman Lynne Rogers combine their extensive skills and years of experience to cover all the essentials of how to market yourself, land roles, and manage a successful career. They also include expert advice from scores of other industry experts-well-known actors, agents, managers, casting directors, and teachers.
Hitting your mark : making a life-- and a living-- as a film actor
Steve Carlson.
Studio City, CA : Michael Wiese Productions, c2006.
Here's the authoritative book that reveals what it takes to work consistently and successfully on a Hollywood set. A veteran of TV and film, Steve Carlson covers information that is very difficult to come by, yet every actor is expected to know the first time he or she steps in front of the camera.

To get your acting career started:

  • Eventually actors locate to Los Angeles or New York. But in the meantime build a strong resume of work in St. Louis or other major cities.
  • Take acting classes. Ask professionals to recommend the best instructors and classes.
  • Practice. The more you practice the easier acting gets.
  • Create a resume of all work so far. Keep it updated. As acting projects increase, drop off less professional work.
  • Have photographs taken, including a head shot.
  • Send your resume and head shot to all casting agents in the area. Update information with these agents often.
  • Be choosy about selecting an agent.
  • Stay current with acting projects in the area. Request auditions.
  • Network continually.  Attend industry events and meet as many people as possible. Make yourself stand out from others--be unique.

"(Acting's) my only area of expertise. It's what I care about."

Kevin Kline

To become a successful actor or actress will not be easy. But, as many have said before "no matter how tough it gets, hang in there--follow your dream."

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff