Rachel's Acting Journal: My 5 Steps To Becoming An Actress In The UK
Over these last 8 months I have wanted to pursue an acting career, I have signed up to a variety of acting courses, from introductory to learning how to read a script, read some books and watched YouTube videos on how to become an actress. I know that there are a variety of steps that I need to take to reach my goal of becoming an actress but the one thing that is holding me back is the lack of spare cash. Do I have the money to travel to an audition? Or to travel to the filming location. At the moment, the answer is no. As an actress, you really do need to have some savings that you can use to pursue your dream. This is something I realised at the beginning of my journey.
I live in a village, 20 minute walk from the nearest bus stop and 1 hour away from the nearest city centre. Would it be better for me to live in Bristol or London? The answer is yes! Location is key when you're an actress applying for several auditions. Spending money on travel can get expensive but I want to wait before I do move. Family is important to me right now, my parents aren't spring chickens anymore, they are getting to that age where it's important to spend more time with them.
So what steps can I make in the meantime to reach my goal of becoming an actress here in the UK?
#1 Acting classes, practice acting techniques, educating oneself.
Udemy has a variety of courses, I have chosen these four to start with:
Recommended Books, the first book recommendation is tailored to those in Hollywood but is still relevant for those living in the UK:
10 Top 10s From A 10 Percenter: Over 100 Essential Acting Career Tips From A Hollywood Agent
I'm also saving up to do some Online Screen Acting Courses which are run by professional actors.
I'm hoping to do this one in October, it last for 6 weeks, it all depends if I have the money for it otherwise I will wait for the next booking: Online Screen Acting Introduction
#2 Photoshoot: getting hold of some really good professional headshots
Several months ago I joined an UK Actors Facebook group which has over 38.6K members, all of which are pursuing or working within the acting/filming industry. Definitely join groups like this if you're looking to pursue acting as many offer various jobs and advice within the industry. It's great for networking and great for finding out where best to get your professional headshots.
The one that I have chosen (I'll be getting my headshots done at the beginning of 2023) are from a professional photography company that specialises in Actor headshots. It's called Lumosia www.lumosia.com and is located about an hour away. It's reasonably priced and will give you the headshots that you need to stand out.
I also recommend:
#3 Demo Reel: Creating a demo reel
You can either create your own demo reel along with your actor friends, choose clips of TV & Film projects you've already been involved in or choose to purchase a Demo Reel package that will include everything that you need to create the perfect demo reel. The latter is the route I'm taking as I have no experience of TV & film except as a background artist. There are so many websites that offer this service, it can be expensive but remember, it will be your headshot and demo reel that will get your foot into the audition door.
So what do these package include? It all depends on which package you choose but most of them include these services:
Consultation with the Director
Original script tailored to your cast type
Full Professional crew
Hair and Make Up
Multiple takes and angles
High-end 4K footage
Full Edit and Colour Grade
Blue Mills Studios offers exactly this.
Other recommendations would be:
There is another website I would recommend which is on the cheaper price range but I unfortunately didn't bookmark the page and now can't find it so I keep searching for that one, and once I find it I'll add it to the recommended list.
I have yet to decide which package I will go for. I will decide once I've had my headshots done. I'm planning on getting the demo reels done, during May time of 2023.
#4 Acting Resume - Creating Resume in the Correct Layout
Even though I have no experience in screen acting, with the exception of being a background artist, I can still write out an Acting Resume for when I apply for auditions. One thing I have already learnt is you can't add your background work to your acting resume which means I'm going to have to change the resume I wrote on my website. It's not industry standard. There are videos out there where you can learn how to write an Acting Resume.
Here is a good one by Kurt Yue | Acting Career Center, where it also includes an Acting Resume Example Template that you can download: How to Make an Acting Resume from SCRATCH! | Step by Step Tutorial For those of you in the UK you would write "UK Equity" if you are a member of that union or "Non-Union".
I will get to work on my resume soon, using this particular template.
#5 Self Representation V's Agencies - I Will Begin With Representing Myself
When you have no experience, finding an agent to take you on is hard and therefore representing yourself is unavoidable at the beginning. Some actors actually choose to represent themselves rather than having an agent but it does require more work on your behalf as you will be the one looking for acting jobs. I will be joining The Mandy Network and Casting Networks which are free to look for casting calls, and also join an Extra agency to get experience on TV & Filming locations. Anyone can join these and they are free to join. The only time you are charged fees for joining an extra's agency is when you get some work that they have assigned to you. It's usually a yearly payment that is taken out of your first payment that you receive from them.
For those of you in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, The Extras Department is a great Extras Agency. Some extras have even ended up with speaking parts. I got a couple of jobs with this agency when I was living in Northern Ireland. Don't expect to get a flood of jobs from them as their books are pretty full but what jobs you do get will be fun. They will make sure you are fed and have drinks on hand. You will need to make you can make your own way to the filming location and may have to bring your own clothing, depending on what is being filmed, for example, I was a NI Police Officer and they provided me with the uniform as well as have someone with me at all times in case I was approached by members of the public, another time I was just sitting in the bar drinking so wore my own clothes for that.
The Extras agency that I'm looking at joining in the new year (2023) is Extra People.
I'm am looking towards building enough performance credits so I can become a member of Spotlight (The Home Of Casting) and Equity (Actors UK Union). You can't join them unless you have a certain amount of performance credits.
A Long Road Ahead - Financing My Acting Career
As you can see there is a lot that I need to do before I can reach my goal of being a screen actress. The most important step to take right now is to create a variety of different income streams that can help finance my acting career. I have no doubts that I will reach my goal, as long as I continue to move forward with my plans. I hope you found this interesting and informative, especially for those of you looking to pursue acting in the UK.
I will keep you all up-dated with my progress. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog. Hopefully I'll have some up-coming projects to share with you all in the next coming year.