How to become an Actor in the UK
With thousands upon thousands of people dreaming of becoming an actor in the UK, the acting scene can often make you feel like a little fish in a very large pond. So how do you become the actor that stands out? The actor who makes the casting directors stop and take notice? A performer who convinces them that you are what they’re looking for?
Acting is a harsh industry, and the first thing you need to understand is that you are going to have a lot of people tell you “no” or tell you that “you’re not quite what we’re looking for”, and it hurts. But with the right training, support, work ethic, and attitude those “no”s will soon turn to “yes”es.
How to get into Acting
There are multiple ways you can go about getting yourself out into the acting world and like with any job the most obvious route to take is to undergo training and gain as much experience as possible.
The Reel Scene offers a One Year Professional Acting course based in London that not only introduces you and prepares you for the world of acting but teaches you skills and techniques to master the craft.
Surrounded by a team of motivated industry professionals, you will by pushed and taken out of your comfort zone in the very best possible way. Steve North (actor, filmmaker, and teacher for The Reel Scene) teaches that it is important to ‘get comfortable with being uncomfortable,’ when it comes to acting, and that is exactly what the team will help you to do. If you’re interested in finding out more about our course and how we can help you reach your goal, click here.
If you already have training and experience under your belt and are just looking to hone your skills, or if you’re unable to personally commit to a 1-year course – there are other options available to you, such as short courses and masterclasses.
Once you feel confident and ready to start putting yourself out there for jobs you’re going to need three essential things…
Think of headshots as your business card. You’re the face of your own business. When being picked for an audition it is because you have a look that fits the character brief. The reason casting directors want professional headshots is that not only does it show that you take acting seriously but it also makes a huge difference when bringing out your best features – the ones that make you unique.
That’s all that casting directors want to see, you, now in your rawest form: a blank canvas. They don’t want to see pictures of you covered in makeup, or a selfie you took in Greece back when you had a rocking man bun. Save the selfies for the Insta.
Your showreel is your personal movie trailer. It’s your chance to showcase your talent and highlights from your work. Having a professional showreel is key to being taken seriously. It’s what casting directors and agents expect. They want to see your skills and versatility as an actor.
If you’re freaking out and thinking, ‘I don’t have professional headshots and I definitely don’t have enough acting experience to put together a showreel,’ that’s OK.
You can tick both of those boxes by attending The Reel Scene Event. It’s a 1-week intensive course during which you’ll work with professional coaches, directors, photographers, and well-known actors. Our team of writers will develop scripts tailored to you, which will then be filmed and the footage can be used for your showreel. We’ll also take care of your headshots and give you the opportunity to perform one of your scenes at a showcase in front of casting agents.
Having professional headshots and a showreel will open up the door to the third essential thing you’ll need which is an agent.
Being on the books of a good agent will not only make your life easier and free up your time to work on your skills, but it will also give you access to jobs that you wouldn’t normally get exposure to. Not only do agents constantly work to find you roles, but they will also always have your best interests at heart because your gain is their gain. Approaching agents isn’t as easy as it sounds, however. They get hundreds of applications a week, so be patient. The ideal scenario is to get in front of them and allow them to see your talent live in action, such as during the showcase event at the end of The Reel Scene 1-week acting event.
On top of having a collection of agents looking for new talent, there will also be directors and other actors attending like The Reel Scene ambassador Asa Butterfield (Hugo, Ender’s Game) and the team from RS Talent. Having those connections in the industry is so important because in this industry networking can lead to real-life opportunities.
There are many casting websites online such as Casting Networks, which list the latest auditions and casting calls in London and the rest of the UK. These types of websites are great if you currently don’t have an agent or want to get a feel for what’s out there in the acting world.
On many casting websites you can sign up for free and you’ll only have to pay for membership if you want to submit your application to an unlimited number of auditions, or if you want to submit specific information. These types of sites are great for actors just starting out in the profession, as you can find feature film, voice-over, extra, documentary, and pilot TV show opportunities. More seasoned professionals can also find theatre, advertisement, and TV show openings.
Finally, keeping your acting skills polished is key. Don’t get lazy and assume you know everything. After all, practice makes perfect. Push yourself to continually learn and test your abilities to be prepared for every opportunity that knocks on your door
The Reel Scene offers masterclasses with successful actors like Asa Butterfield and credited directors like Adam Morse (director of “Lucid” starring Billy Zane) and Charles Henri Belleville (award-winning writer/director who has worked with movie greats like Tom Hardy, Sophia Boutella, and Robert Sheehan).
There are also regular acting workshops and one-to-one sessions that can help with more specific skills and techniques that you think you may need extra work on.
Stay focused on your goals because it’s a waiting game, but all it takes is that one role to catapult your career to the next level.