With stereotypes of working as an actor or actress in the industry rife with controversy, we thought we would let you in on the realities of what it is like working in the industry, straight from the professionals.
Glen Hamilton and John O’hare are actors and directors working in the industry, on their own projects, and here teaching at The Academy of Film, Theatre and Television. We sat with them to de-bunk some myths about the industry.
Myth 1: There are no jobs available in the industry.
Hamilton argues, “The industry is dynamic, diverse and always changing. New talent will always be of interest especially when that new talent is well trained, professionally aware and ready to work.”
“A well managed career plan combined with nurtured talent will ensure success and longevity. The work is there you must have the chutzpah to get involved make it your primary goal” O’Hare agreed.
Myth 2: Careers are built through connections
“Careers are built through working with people TWICE – so be professional, on time, generous and good! Also, it is a tough industry, but so are most others so don’t be deterred by the obstacles.” Hamilton discusses how the independent theatre scene is much more “personal” than the film and TV industry and jobs are obtained often through industry contacts and connections. He advises that “If you love theatre – go to the theatre – support the theatre – build theatre networks”.
Myth 3: Acting is all about ‘me me me’.
“Working in the performing arts is a noble and important profession, we make a difference to people through the stories we tell and the way we engage an audience.” Hamilton argues that you work so hard to perfect your craft for the audience, not yourself. “As we often say: its not about you; its about the work.”
Myth 4: Your showreel is your identity
Actors entering the industry will need to secure representation with a reputable actor's agency. John O’hare recommends that “To get an agent, you must work to showcase your talent by keeping your showreel updated, have current self tests on file and invite agents to theatre productions you're performing in. It is vital that your work is at professional standard.”
How to get an acting agent
When putting together your showreel, remember it is “Quality not quantity” - really know the difference, first impressions count and stick.
Final advice from the experts
Seek out and find your professional community.
Network your associates and colleagues.
The actor's first job is knowing how to audition well.
Maintain your skills
Know your community
Develop creative power groups
Know who's who and who you want to work with and why?
Know your type and market yourself accordingly.
Work hard to get good representation.
Hone your skills all the time
Attend workshops and classes
Network, network, network.
11 Ways to Master the audition
Find out more about studying Acting for Stage and Screen here at AFTT.