Professional Acting Resources


Acting Tips: I Have Dark Skin, What Are My Chances In Hollywood?

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

Q: Hi Mr. White, it's nice to meet you.  I have an extreme passion, ambition and goal to be successful in Hollywood, I think I have the talent, but I have to be honest and tell you that I am a 19 year old, dark skinned South African man of Indian descent, but I have an American accent.

Based on what I have told you, what are my chances?

A: Nice to meet you too!

As to your chances, I hate to say it, but the things you're most worried about in your letter are the things you need to worry about the least.  The number one most important thing about acting for film or television is being an exceptionally strong actor.  The next most important thing is knowing specifically HOW to act for film or television.

They both require a lot of hard work and dedication to your craft.  If you take the time to get those two things in order, then the rest is largely out of your control.  You can't account for someone's tastes, preconceived notions, stereotypes or anything else, so why waste any time worrying about it?

Focus on what you can

How seriously you take your acting lessons.

How much time you devote to working on your acting technique.

How much time you spend working on your technical continuity and blocking skills.

How much time you spend learning about the film and television making process.

How much research and learning you do about the world around you.

You didn't say exactly what city you're in, but if you're close to Johannesburg, there will be opportunities to work on all of those things there.  If you want something more or different, then Paris, Rome, Barcelona, London, New York or Los Angeles all have major acting centers in them.  Pick one, and you'll be headed in the right direction.

Being Indian or light or dark skinned or from South Africa or South Chicago, with an accent, without...none of that stuff really matters.  In order to work in English language pictures, you must be able to speak English.  Other than that, the field is pretty wide open.

Film making is a business first. Always remember that! Film producers make money by telling such, the actors have to be really good story tellers.  Film producers SAVE money by telling those stories as inexpensively as they such, the actors have to be really good story tellers under whatever conditions are demanded of them.

That's the whole thing right there.  You're young still, so you have time to start working on these things right now.  It will be the hardest thing you will ever try to accomplish, because it is the hardest industry in the world to work in.  If you are truly as passionate and dedicated as you say you are, then you'll do the work that is required of you to get where you want to be.

So, to answer your question, I think you have a great shot at making it in Hollywood (or wherever)...if you do the work.  If you don't do the work, your chances are zero.


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