Are you an aspiring actor? But do you know how to build your actor’s package – the essential things to do and start to be a successful actor? It’s never too late to start, but what are the first essential steps you need to do? All and more in today’s article. Build your Actors’ toolkit and start applying for auditions.
Every student who wishes to become an actor should in the first instance study the creative laws of nature throughly, in detail, not just theoretically, but in practice. He is also obliged to study and master, practically, all the methods of our psychotechnique.Konstantin Stanislavski
This article is focused on aspiring actors with no or only some acting experience. Those who don’t know how to jump off the ground and start purchasing a professional career to be an actor. I was there, and I had many experiences, but I didn’t know how to start. And often, the start is the hardest part. But when you start well, everything gets easier. I am not putting down all the hard work, because being an actor is f#ck-ing hard job. And, if you’re interested in reading about my past work, I wrote this article and would love to know – and believe you will – find it useful.
If you doubt whether or not to become an actor, you might be interested in another one of our articles: “Do you really want to be an actor?”.
Those with no experience at all, maybe you can start first by reading our article: “Four steps to start your career as a great actor.” And make sure you stay in touch for the next article, where we will talk about how to start being an actor from scratch. Subscribe to our newsletter below:
But now, let’s jump into the things you need to do to achieve your base ground for acting: the actor’s package. And what is in the package, you might ask? It’s very simple.
What is the actor’s package?
Resume, headshot, and demo reel. Yes, only these three things can help your acting career begin. And if you are starting with no experience at all, a resume and headshot will be your starting kit. Okay, maybe you already know all of this, or maybe you don’t. Whether this or that, it’s always great to know more. And the acting career is an ever-ending study and practice, anyways.
Consider the acting resume not as a classic resume. The headshot is different from the classic portrait, and needs to meet industry standards. And demo reel is a video portfolio and has to be of high quality. Let’s start with the first one – the actor’s resume.
As with any job, you will need a resume. But Actor’s resume is a little bit different. You don’t need to write anything about your other careers or schools. Only anything and everything related to acting. So it will include a summary of all the important information from your successes as an actor to your special skills.
Whether you have many experiences in acting or none, you will need a resume, and you can learn how to build it in our article here – “How to write an acting resume.”
Everybody had to start somewhere, so if you don’t have any experience, no worries. Just add your personal information and skills, and all the experiences you can leave blank. That’s how you start. And I believe your experiences and credits will come soon. You just need to take the proper steps forward.
Before you will take your headshot is always great to know your casting type. If you don’t know your casting type, read our article on this topic and it might help you to find yours: “Define your type for acting.”
What is a headshot?
A headshot is a photo for actors. It’s not a commercial shot, and it’s not a classical portrait. It should meet industry standards. These headshots are used for your representation. For example, for casting directors, agents, casting websites profile, or for your actor’s toolkit, and you can use them for applying for auditions.
A headshot, as the word implies, should be a shot of your head and shoulders, sometimes even your chest. You don’t have any props, pets, friends, or any other things disturbing viewers from yourself. As the headshot is about you. So even the background should be simple and not disturbing, but could be mysterious if you want to bring a dramatic atmosphere. But everything has to be decent.
Industry-standard is either a black and white headshot or in color, but I would recommend in colors as they can also see your skin tone. But your preference is your own.
How many headshots you need in your actor’s package
You definitely need two headshots, one for film, TV, theater, or any other dramatic role – more serious. And a second for commercials. You can even smile and embody that nice friendly guy who can sell you anything in commercials – you get my point. But it is always handy to have more headshots with different varieties of looks and emotions.
If you will have 5 headshots where you look the same on every single one, it doesn’t tell anything about you as an actor. You should bring your scale of looks, but don’t go crazy as in overacted shots of you crying about a dying child, for instance. It is still a decent photo that will be selling you, admit it, you are the product.
Do you want to know more about headshots? Read our article: “How to get the right headshot.”
And here we are the last item in the actor’s package – a demo reel. A demo reel is a video portfolio showing your best work as an actor. If you are starting and don’t have any footage to put into your demo reel, it’s fine, you can apply for roles and castings only with a resume and headshot. But if you will start looking for an agent, you definitely need a demo reel. And you can create a demo reel by gaining experiences with students and independent productions, where the usual trade is “I will give you my time to act and you will give me footage so I can use it in my demo reel.” And that’s how it basically works with creating your portfolio, experiences, and demo reel.
Demo reels are used usually just for TV and movies. The theater usually doesn’t require demo reels, but if you have some it’s always great to include them. But don’t use your theater work and videos for your demo reel.
If your acting journey is further along, maybe you could be interested in this article: “How to write a cover letter to an agent.”
An actor’s demo reel compiles your best work in video form. It is also called a showreel or sizzle reel. The footage length is up to 2-3 minutes. Good advice from many casting directors is to keep it short. So one to two minutes for an actor’s demo reel is the best way to go. Short and sweet!
To learn more about how to create your demo reel you can read here: “How to create an actors’ demo reel.”
That’s a wrap. So now it’s time to write your resume, find a photographer to take your new headshot, and create the demo reel.
“Dream as if you will live forever; Live as if you will die today.” Do you know who said that? The great actor and icon James Dean.
Dream, build, continue. And no worries if the auditions are not coming yet. They will come soon, just keep going, work hard, and improve your skills.
Also, we are preparing a free course to build your actor’s package, stay tuned for updates soon.
Break a leg!
About the author:
My pursuit of artistic perfection extends beyond the stage and into the world of film. Represented by agent Jill Kabush at Dorothy S. Management, I am actively seeking opportunities to make my mark in the industry. Though my creative interests are diverse - including DJing and illustrating - my primary passion lies in acting. I received rigorous training at the Vancouver Academy of Dramatic Arts and have since performed in prestigious theaters such as Theater Around The Corner, Moravian Theater Olomouc, Theater DiGoknu, and Mlada Scena II. Through unwavering dedication and hard work, I continue to hone my craft and push myself to new heights in pursuit of artistic excellence.