Acting In Chicago author, Chris Agos, tells ATC students how to get into the acting business, up your game, and make your mark...
I get a lot of emails and DMs from actors at the beginning of their journey through this industry. That's pretty normal for someone who wrote a book on starting and growing an acting career and runs a YouTube channel on the subject. I'm honored they think of me as someone who can sort out their confusion. Because there's certainly no shortage of that in our business.
One question that comes up a lot is this:
How can I get into the acting business if I don't live near a big city, or my schedule doesn't allow me to get into my closest city?
It's true, the business of acting tends to cluster around large metro areas, and the business does not come to you. You have to go to it.
Re-evaluate your idea of what it means to “get into the acting business”.
Getting an agent, going to auditions, and and booking paying work are worthy goals, but just because you're not doing those things doesn't mean you're not getting into the business:
Do you show up prepared and engaged?
Are you breaking down your scenes every night, rehearsing outside of class, watching TV/movies/theatre with an eye to learn?
Then you're getting into the business! As long as you're taking steps to better your acting, you're on the right path.
Up Your Game
Let's say you've been in class for a while and you're antsy to start acting...I'm going to say something that you've heard before but it's true:
Create your own acting opportunities - ones that don't require access to the big city. You've got a computer. Use it. Write a scene.
Don't know how? Here's a great book on the subject. You've got a friend who's a stronger actor than you are - reach out to them and cast them in your scene. You always want to work with people who are better than you at doing what you want to do. We learn from people like that, we don't learn anything from people at or below our skill level. Got a phone? Of course you do. Use it to shoot the scene. Use it to edit, too.
Your acting can only benefit from this process. Creating your own material forces your acting ability to grow because the story will make you ask questions you wouldn't otherwise ask. The stakes will be higher since the entire work will reflect your input, and you're not going to want to crawl into your skin when you show it to people. You're going to want it to be the best it can be, which means your acting will be the best it can be.
Being a Triple Threat
Remember the old days when the term “triple threat” referred to someone who could sing, act and dance? Today's triple threats are talent who can act, write, and produce. These people reap far greater rewards than the triple threats of the past: greater amounts of control over projects, greater creative input, greater financial benefits. And who knows, your ideas might pique someone else's interest - like this one did...and all of these.
You don't need to be near a big city like Chicago to have a seat at the good actor's table. You just have to be creative and driven enough to get there...
ATC CLASS SUGGESTION
Advanced On Camera: Build Your Reel Work your their on-camera skills with an award winning director and writer - putting those skills to work on set in short films written for YOU to add to your acting reel. Register HERE.