Image via Shutterstock / Denis Makarenko
Are you wondering what steps to take to gain success in the acting /modelling or the entertainment industry? Here are some top FAQs answered:
1. Do I need an agent?
Getting signed with an agency is an important step for most accomplished models and entertainers; however, freelancing can be a better option if you don’t already have a large body of work behind you. If you didn’t obliterate your peers at drama school and/or you aren’t 5”9 or taller, 18 – 21 years of age and don’t necessarily have that fickle “look de jour” then you will probably have to put some legwork to achieve success in the entertainment industry. This may mean sourcing your own work until you have enough material behind you to approach a reputable agency.
2. What does representation entail?
If you are aspiring to become involved in the entertainment industry you will likely consider approaching the agencies that advertise in the usual job seeker websites. Representation will always come with strings attached. All agencies will take a percentage of your future earnings, whether this is 10, 15 or 20 percent. Some will charge fees to join. Others will encourage training courses with associated costs. With some agencies you will be required to sign a contract with exclusivity (you will need to permission to do outside projects and competitions, even if unpaid) while some agencies can be less stringent.
3. How can I make sure I get more experience/find work?
It’s not to say that there is anything wrong with the conditions an agent puts in place. They can help create a solid reputation provided your agent actually finds work for you. If you have very little experience in the industry it can be hard to be selected by casting directors. Since agents are intermediaries sometimes it may feel like you are just another number on a long list. Agencies can never guarantee you work – if you are completely inexperienced in the field then it becomes near impossible. Don’t be taken for a ride, make sure you are prepared for the industry before you sign on with anyone.
4. How can I build a portfolio?
At the very least, you will need some footage (a “show reel” of your work as an actor) or a series of quality photographs ( a “portfolio” to send to a casting agent or open casting) in order to have a chance to audition or attend model castings. You will need a “headshot” to begin. Acquiring a clear, high resolution photo of your face is the first step in setting yourself up as a marketable professional. My advice is to find a reputable photographer who specialises in the field you wish to work in as the style of photography will differ slightly according to the genre. Make sure the photographer is reputable by checking websites and feedback – do your research and Google as much as possible, especially on forums and industry specific sites.
Armed with a headshot, you will now have a point of reference to build a portfolio. Time for Print (TFP) shoots are a good place to build a portfolio. TFP means that you model for a photographer/brand/team and exchange experience on an unpaid basis to produce material for mutual benefit. Student films are a good means to acquire valid acting skills and show reels.
5. How can I stay safe and reputable in the field?
It is important to be careful when attending shoots/casting and projects. Always take a chaperone with you when you first meet with a photographer or other individual. Always make sure somebody knows where you are and what you are doing at all times. Be clear about your policy on nudity, even if you are fine with it still be clear on the particular kind of nudity.
Being reliable and professional is the most important element for success in the industry. Make sure you can deliver on commitments. Read briefs and follow directions – plan auditions and castings with plenty of spare travel time. Always be courteous to make up artists and stylists, it goes a long way and they deserve respect, of course. Make sure you can take direction and a lot of criticism and be willing to work hard.Most important of all – keep smiling!