Professional Acting Resources


Acting How To: What Are The Steps To The Big Screen?

Answers to various acting questions I get from aspiring actors and actresses.

Q: Hi I was wondering if you could answer a couple of acting questions please. 

1. As an inexperienced actor what should I do first to get into the field? 

2. What are the steps most actors take when trying to make it to the big screen? .

A: I'll do my best to answer your questions here. 

Breaking it down step by step: 

1. Learn to act for the stage. 

2. Practice consistently and regularly, at least 20 hours a week, for at least two or three years, minimum. 

3. Learn to act for the camera. 

4. Practice consistently and regularly, at least 20 hours a week, for at least six months to a year. 

4. Learn to audition. 

5. Go on auditions for everything and anything you can.

6. Be exceptional and noteworthy when you book work. 

7. Build upon that reputation. 

8. Continue until you've built up enough recognition and experience to put you in demand. 

So, if you are inexperienced, start with acting school. In acting school, whether at a university, or in the private sector, you need to be working on your emotional acting ability quite a bit. 20 hours a week is a BARE minimum. If you want to get good, you'll need more, but 20 hours is a good starting point. 

This is an ongoing thing for the rest of your life as an actor. 

Then, realize that acting on a sound stage is massively different than acting in a play. That's basically where my book Acting For Film And Television comes in, as that's basically all that book is about. But, again, you have to practice this as well, at least 20 hours a week for at LEAST six months to realistically get good at it. 

This too is an on going thing and you probably won't know all the little ins and outs and tricks of the trade until you've been working steadily for 10 years or so. After you get those two down, THEN you should learn to audition, which is a skill all on it's own. BUT, if you've done the other work, this will come pretty easy, as your confidence will be very high. 

Now is when the rubber meets the road, so to speak. You go out and start trying to book work. This requires a fair amount of effort on your part, as you'll have to do it on your own at this point. Submit yourself to whatever you can find, and generally, there are pretty good sites ( and for instance) to do that sort of thing nowadays. 

When you DO book work, be really good. This is where all that work from before pays off, because you will be professional and polished and you will do well if you've done your homework. If you haven't, you won't do so well. Just how it goes... Since you did well on THAT job, the people you worked for will recommend you to other people. 

In the meantime, keep submitting until you book the next one. Rinse and repeat. This can take a long time...MOST people spend the better part of 10 to 15 years doing this kind of stuff. Hopefully, the jobs are getting progressively better and more frequent during that time, but that is usually NOT the case.

Forewarned, it's tough... And, that's about it. 

Just about every actor ever to live and work regularly as an actor has done some version of what I just laid out here. It's simple, but it's not easy... 

Hope this helps and best of luck out there!


As always, if you have any questions or thoughts, or would just like to share some of your successes, please feel free to drop me a line.  I actually answer them.

Best of Luck out there and remember, you can't fail if you don't quit.

D.L. White