“Frequently asked questions” are oft-asked for a reason. It’s because the answers are basic knowledge that people need to know in order to make a purchase, start a new career, or chase a dream (to name but a few options!). I noticed that similar questions among actors kept popping up on forums for websites like backstage.com, so I figured the best recourse was to answer them here! Read on for answers to your most-asked questions as an actor:
What does it mean to select “monologues you’re familiar with”?
Many actors question whether or not this phrase, “familiar,” means to be off-book. The short answer is yes! Remember the ABOB’s of acting: Always. Be. Off. Book (that was a little Glengarry Glen Ross reference for the uninitiated). You will look so much more impressive as an actor if you’re off-book. You should also work with an acting coach before any big audition or callback, if you can. That said, feel free to keep your script on you “for safety,” but any casting director worth their mettle will much rather prefer you improvise, if needed, as opposed to reaching for your script. And “improvise,” doesn’t mean to go off in a wacky world that has nothing to do with the original script - it simply means that if you mix up a word or two or have to summarize parts of your monologue, that’s okay, as long as you get the point across! Unless it’s Shakespeare - then, please don’t try to improvise Shakespeare, unless that’s your bag!
What agents in Atlanta should I audition for?
Atlanta has numerous options for agents! It’s important to note which type of agency is right for you, whether it’s a more boutique agency with a smaller roster (less competition among the other actors at the agency, which is beneficial), or if you want to be a part of a well-known, national and global agency, which also has its perks. Big agencies like J Pervis are known in Los Angeles, and smaller agencies like Houghton Talent have good reps. You’ll also need to make sure that these agencies are accepting new talent.
How do I start acting in America, if I’m from another country?
If you moved to the good ol’ U.S. of A and want to be an actor, you’ll need to obtain an O-1 Visa (also known as a work visa) or Green Card. The Green Card actually seems easier to get, as with the O-1 Visa, an individual has to possess “extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics, or who has a demonstrated record of extraordinary achievement in the motion picture or television industry and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements.” The O-1 Visa process seems to be a lengthy one, but so is the Green Card process. In any case, you may be able to get paid “under the table” on student films or you could always work for free to gain experience! Auditioning for SAG work doesn’t hurt, either, and can help speed along the process for a work visa.
How do I get started as an actor?
Start off by taking classes! Whether it’s on-camera acting, improv, or scene study, acting classes are a safe space where you can fail - you couldn’t ask for a better start in acting! Atlanta is a growing hub for production, so there are a plethora of classes you can take and coaches you can hire, but of course, we recommend our own, since, you know, we’ve trained in schools like Juilliard, The Groundlings, and Dad’s Garage among others.
What frequently-asked questions do you have, either as a new actor or seasoned performer? Let us know in the comments