Sometimes doing an acting course can seem expensive.
But, if you wanted to be a plumber, you’d train.
If you wanted to be a lawyer, you’d train.
If you wanted to be a software engineer, you’d train.
And it all costs money.
Why should it be any different, if you want to become a professional actor?
It makes sense to get some good training – because even if you’ve done some acting before, at school, or in amateur theatre, or you’ve made a short film with some mates, there are going to be some significant gaps in your knowledge. Acting is a whole field of endeavour, with its own thinkers and practitioners. There’s a lot to learn.
For example – in a course like our 10915NAT Certificate IV in Acting, you learn about script analysis (which is how to mine a script for clues to create your character), how to improve your voice, how to act for the camera, how to prepare for auditions, how to use your physicality to communicate non-verbally, and so much more. In our 11017NAT Advanced Diploma of Performance, you go even further with all these things, and learn additional skills like stage combat, accents, and voiceover artistry.
So if you’re going to cover all this to get professional-level skills, it will cost some money to learn.
But… is it worth it?
I’d say yes, if acting is what you want to do. The vast majority of actors you know today have had training of some description – whether that’s a structured program like our accredited courses, or workshops from time to time, one-on-one coaching, or even drama classes as a child or teenager.
I guess sometimes people worry that if they put a lot of money into actor training, they might be wasting it, because they might not “make it” as an actor. After all, there’s always someone around to tell you that most actors make no money, and why should you be any different…? (If you’re struggling with this one, check out our blog post on “What to say to people who think acting is stupid” here.)
When people speak of “making it” as an actor, they usually mean:
Earning enough money from acting to live comfortably
Being recognised in the street for the actor you are – having a small (or large) amount of fame
Receiving industry recognition (either through receiving awards for your work, or being known as someone who people love working with).
It’s true that not everybody “makes it” as an actor, in this way. But did you know, there are, in fact, other ways to “make it” as an actor? “Making it” can be different for different people. Some people can be very happy where they are as an actor, as acting might not be the only thing they do. In their own eyes, they’ve “made it” – because they are happy and are clear on the kind of artist they want to be.
For instance, here are some of my actor friends and what their acting lives look like:
A mum with young kids, who mostly does short films, TV commercials and modelling photoshoots.
A middle-aged man who alternates between acting, directing and teaching through the year.
An older lady who has some investment properties and gets most of her income from there, but who also acts in commercials, films and television.
A schoolteacher who does a few professional theatre shows every year.
You can see there are lots of ways to integrate professional (paid) acting into your life, depending on who you are, and what you actually want. Not everyone wants fame and all the problems that come with it: instead they are looking for creative satisfaction, and they work out a way to do it that suits them personally. And, they can make some money from it.
No matter what “making it” looks like for you, it’s easy to point to reasons why people don’t “make it” as an actor. (And if you can overcome these, you’re on your way):
You don’t have good audition skills. Those who win great roles are great at doing auditions. (An audition is where you present yourself and your skills as an actor to a casting director – sometimes it’s a live, face-to-face audition, but more often than not these days, it’s via a self-tape, where you film yourself and send it in). So you have to be able to audition well, capture the attention of the casting director, to get your foot in the door. And you know what? Good training will teach you how to audition well.
You aren’t a very good actor. While this hasn’t stopped some people from getting out there and trying it, if you have done no training at all, you can’t expect to be getting great roles. You won’t know what to do. So again – here’s the perfect argument for getting some training. A good acting school like Perform Australia will teach you the skills you need to become a good actor.
You have an emotional or psychological block to overcome. Maybe it’s you that’s holding you back… If you don’t actually believe you’ve got anything going for you, then it’s going to be hard to make the leap from amateur actor to professional. We’ve seen many people with talent walk away from acting because they simply don’t have the confidence and self-belief required to put themselves forward for roles. A good acting school with good tutors can help you overcome some of the barriers you’re facing. Confidence often comes from practice – the more you do it, the better you get, and a good training environment will provide opportunity for this. You have to actively address the issues - whether that’s actively developing your craft, or actively dealing with any negative self-talk that’s holding you back. If you find there’s a block there that’s stopping you, you might even need to see a counsellor or coach to help you move through it. It may be that someone has really discouraged you along the way – and now it’s time to address how that felt, and why that’s stopping you from being the best actor you can be.
You did some training, but then did nothing with it afterwards. Sometimes people wander from acting course to acting course – but never actually get out there and do it! You need to take strong steps after training to get to where you want to go. That means reaching out to agents and managers, going for auditions, and career planning. If this is the only reason why you haven't moved forward as an actor, then it's time for some reflection!
So, are you going to invest in your career as an actor? Start planning to do so today!