Yes, I do know that if you’ve been doing acting for a while now, most likely you don’t have enough cash to pay for a ride to that audition tomorrow. I know that we as actors don’t have any trust funds and there are whistling sounds to be heard in our savings accounts. It’s all understandable. However, for newbies who just got into the field or those who had some success here and there and can spare some cash for the better of their own career, here are top 3 best ways to spend money on acting + additional extras below.
Top 3 Best Ways to Spend Money on Acting
TRAINING. The most important thing for an actor is to always, ALWAYS stay in training. The only time when it’s acceptable for you to not be enrolled in an acting class is when you’re doing a play or a shoot — whenever you’re actually working and acting, which is still training in itself.
Let me get you in on a little secret: if you’ve just got into the industry and began looking for work fairly recently (and by recently I mean 1-2 years), you probably aren’t as good as you think you are. Actually, you might even suck. No matter which drama school you have graduated from, the real world and the business of acting is completely different.
You need experience, and you need training from experienced actors to learn how to act for the camera, how to behave on set, how to cold read (sight read), how to improvise well, how to get out of your head and be spontaneous, how to… you get my point. Training is important, and mastering ANY kind of crafts takes thousands and thousands of hours.
If you can’t afford acting classes, do something on your own: read plays, get with your acting mates and reenact them, make short films, do a web series, go to free drama groups, attend improv sessions, play improv games with your friends, start a theatre company and do your own plays. Always, always stay on your toes, always be acting. Like Dustin Hoffman said: “You must play, otherwise you’ll go crazy.”
HEADSHOTS. Unfortunately, there is absolutely no way around this one — if you’re out there acting in London, looking for actual work, you must have something to show to agents and casting people. There’s no hiring you without seeing how you look first, and there’s no seeing you without your headshots.
I’ve already wrote a little about actor headshots London previously.
Headshots are essential part of this business and probably a number one thing on the list to have, even above CV/resume. It’s a looks obsessed industry and there’s nothing we can do about it; especially when your pursuing screen acting work.
There’s more than plenty of photographers in London, however, make sure you pick someone who knows how do to headshots for acting business. Some of them seem to think that a headshot is similar to a portrait — IT’S NOT, not at all. The prices for headshots in London vary from £50 to probably £500. Make sure you research enough and pick a photographer who’s work you admire. They all have websites so scroll through their portfolios.
Now when it comes to price, if you can afford it, I’d say don’t go for the cheapest ones, but also there’s usually no reason to pay anything above £150 for 1 hour session and 2 looks. If you want more, then you’re going to pay accordingly, but remember that you won’t necessarily going to get work just because you have headshots. Be smart with your money.
DEMO REEL. Or show reel, whatever you want to call it. I suppose not everybody can get this one, as you need actual footage of your acting to make a reel. If you’ve been doing acting for at least a year now, and I mean out of the drama school acting, then you will definitely have enough material to put up a nice and short reel of your talent.
Demo reels aren’t very cheap, but they also shouldn’t be over the top expensive. Make sure you choose service provides with a reasonable price and a good portfolio of their work. It’s best if they have already worked with footage from actors, which is very likely anyway.
If you have a friend who’s can do that for you, that’s great — you can save quite a bit of money. However, make sure that they know what they are doing; it’s not as simple as picking out clips and sticking them all together with Movie Maker.
Two essential things to remember about making demo reel. First, don’t make your footage too long: 2 minutes are usually more than enough. Remember that casting agents and talent agents are watching these reels every day, they don’t want to spend 20 minutes watching a sitcom of you in random clips. Even 5 minutes is way too much.
Second, put your best material in the beginning. A lot of acting agents don’t watch the reel till the end. You can usually see what you need to see in the first minute of it, so don’t waist your chance — make sure that the first things your agent or CD sees is the good stuff.
Acting Extras to Spend Your Money On
Casting websites. Aside from the essential Spotlight that goes without saying, there are a few websites like CastingCallPro.com that you can pay for to find some additional acting work. CCP and other websites usually have everything: student films, indies, commercial, corporate, theatre, voice over, etc.
Workshops. Now workshops is not the same as acting classes. Workshops are usually short classes that last from an hour to a day. Very rarely there are 2 days workshops. A lot of those schools I have mentioned in my lists do various types of acting workshops, but the one that does the most is City Academy.
That’s about it. Don’t forget that if you have some extra money coming in, you can also spend it wisely on eating healthy and exercising to always stay in shape. You can spend that money on books and plays to buy and read them, which is always extremely helpful for an actor.
Again, depending how wealthy you are, you can also opt out for creating your own content, be it theatre company and producing/directing/acting out plays, or creating a web series. Find the best way to invest your money into something that will not only let you grow as an actor, but also further up your acting career.
If you can afford it, once in a while do some travelling and have some leisure time; see the world, see people, meet people and talk to them, go out. Ernest Hemingway believed that living life to the fullest will make him a better writer, so it did; this practice can also make you a better actor. The most you experience life, the more stuff you have to draw experience from, the better actor you become.
Most importantly, don’t let money stand in your way. Make sure you never make an excuse for not training, not acting, not doing something because of the lack of money. If you really, really want something, you’ll find a way to get there.