Break Into Acting
3.8 (8 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
77 students enrolled
Wishlisted Wishlist

Please confirm that you want to add Break Into Acting to your Wishlist.

Add to Wishlist

Break Into Acting

Comprehensive tips and tools for the aspiring professional actor
3.8 (8 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
77 students enrolled
Created by Demand Media
Last updated 12/2013
Curiosity Sale
Current price: $10 Original price: $50 Discount: 80% off
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • 3 hours on-demand video
  • 1 Article
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • To walk you through the process of the acting circuit
View Curriculum
  • An interest in the field of acting

In this course learn all that is needed to break into the acting world. Whether you need to know information about how to best present yourself to get a call for an audition, or how to actually prepare for the audition itself, this course will walk you through this all step by step.

Who is the target audience?
  • Aspiring Actors/Actresses
Students Who Viewed This Course Also Viewed
Curriculum For This Course
28 Lectures
Introduction to Acting
5 Lectures 27:27

Congratulations for taking a proactive step toward your dream. In this first chapter you will meet our experts. Each one of brings great career experience in the entertainment industry. They each share solid advice to help you understand what acting is really all about and practical steps to get into the business. These working actors appear throughout the course to lend concrete detail, giving you a better picture of what is required to make it in the world of acting. Find out more about them on their bio pages.

Key Points:

A Typical Day

  • Job search
  • Submitting for roles
  • Classes
  • Workshops
  • Auditions
  • Hard Work and Persistence
Preview 03:06

Our experts describe what it's like to be part of the thriving acting community, and they discuss ways to tap into that community and eventually become a working actor. Dispel misconceptions about the path to success, and discover the importance of not type-casting oneself and being open to all forms of work.

Action Items:

Write a list of goals:

  • Think about what your goals are when it comes to becoming an actor, and compare your goals with the popular misconceptions.

Common Misconceptions:

  • Jobs are impossible to get.
  • Jobs are easy and easy to get.
Preview 08:26

Here you will learn about acting from the perspective of a veteran casting director. Nicole Arbusto, explains setting acting goals and how to hone skills to get you ready to handle the demands of an audition.

Meet a Casting Director

First we hear from casting director Nicole Arbusto about how to think about auditions and handle rejection. Then our professional actors share their advice on how to think about each audition you go on. They discuss what your expected odds are for booking, the many reasons actors are not cast, and tips for not taking rejection personally.

Key Points:

  • Actors report success rates typically less than 15 percent.
  • Think of auditions as practice.
  • Don’t take it personally.
Handling Rejection

Our experts share all the many tips and tricks, perspectives and industry insights they wish they had known when they were new on the scene. Networking, classes, practicing, patience and understanding all the factors out of your control are all high on their list.

Action Items:

  • Practice a monologue until you've memorized it.

  • Sign up for an acting class.

Key Points:

  • Practice, practice, practice.
  • Network with potential collaborators.
  • Keep your skills sharp.
Practice Makes Perfect
The Work
3 Lectures 33:41

It's not just blockbuster films and scripted television! A wide variety of jobs are available to professional actors across numerous categories. Discover where working actors book jobs, and learn about the numerous tiers of potential roles. Also get tips on the benefits of working with no pay, and learn how to find unpaid jobs to build your acting resume.

Key Points:

1. Types of Jobs:

  • Television
  • Film
  • Commercials
  • New Media: Web series, Mobile video, Podcasts, Hosting
  • Industrials

2. You Have to Start Somewhere

  • Student films
  • Local theater
  • Background/extra
  • Easier in LA and New York
  • Not impossible in other major cities
What Are the Jobs?

This lesson teaches you how to cast a wide net and position yourself for work in as many categories as possible. Here our experts talk about staying true to your personal brand, but being flexible when it comes to new work. Learn how to build up valuable work examples for your reel and resume. Our experts share their various strategies for securing work and explain how opportunities can come from leveraging connections who know your strengths.

Where to Find the Jobs:

  • And many more
Finding the Jobs

Discover the many overlapping skills, such as performance and projection, that make on-camera actors great voiceover professionals. A lucrative addition to your acting portfolio, learn about the online platforms where actors can find and apply for available projects. Additionally, learn how to outfit yourself with affordable industry-standard recording gear.

Key Points:

  • Lots of opportunities.
  • Audition process is easy.
  • Lots of opportunities.
  • Need actors of all types.
  • Relatively cheap cost of entry.
Voiceover Work
Headshots, Resumes, Reels
6 Lectures 32:18

It's a must have, every actor knows that, but what is the purpose of a headshot? Here our experts share tips on what makes or breaks a headshot and how to find the right photographer for you. Learn how to know you have a great headshot, how to use proper composure, and what styles of dress are best. All the headshot do's and don'ts are covered to make sure you get it just right.

Key Points:

  • A headshot is your most important promotional material.
  • The industry’s first impression of you is usually your headshot.
  • Headshots are often responsible for getting you the audition.
The Purpose of Headshots

It's time to learn about headshots. Here you discover what your headshot should look like and how to know when you need to redo them. If you mess this part up you may miss the opportunity to meet the casting director, so it's important to get them right. Our working actors have had success, so let's hear about what they have to say about crafting the perfect headshot.

Key Points:

1. Your photos should look like you

  • Present the best you, not a glamour shot.

2. Have a couple different looks

  • Both happy and upbeat as well as more serious.

3. No costumes, props, or gimmicks

How Should a Headshot Look?

This lesson helps you find the right photographer for you. All the things you should consider when interviewing your photographer are covered by our experienced actors. They explain where to find leads on photographers, what to discuss on that first meeting, negotiating prices, and how to decide who's best to your shoot.

Key Points:

1. Choosing a Headshot Photographer:

  • $300-$500
  • Search online, photo labs, word of mouth
  • Meet the photographer
  • Establish a rapport

2. Ask questions

  • Price
  • Negatives, prints, files
  • Hair and makeup
  • Wardrobe
Choosing a Photographer

In this lesson you learn what to expect on the day of the shoot. Our experts share all you should know before arriving to the shoot and ideas for how to prepare for your headshot, both mentally and physically. Let’s see more of their tips about what to do, what to avoid, and how to work professionally with your photographer.

Key Points:

Prepare for Your Shoot:

  • Go in knowing what to expect
  • Make it your own
  • Be in a great mood
Prepare for Your Shoot

Learn what acting resumes have in common with general resumes and where and how they differ. Get advice on proper length and what acting-specific information to include. If you’re just starting out with little or no professional acting experience, our experts share tips on what to put in your resume. Additionally, our expert casting director shares some great advice on what she hopes to see in resumes as well.

Key Points:

1. The Acting Résumé

  • Production, role, director
  • Recent and relevant work
  • Union affiliations
  • Special skills
  • Contact information
  • No longer than one page
  • Update it often

2. No professional credits?

  • Classes
  • Workshops
  • Student films
  • Local theater
  • Be honest
The Performance Resume

Thought of as a moving resume, learn what to include in your performance reel. Hear from our experts on showing your diversity as an actor while still managing length. Also get some ideas on what type of content works best in your reel and ways to get around having nothing yet to include.

Key Points:

1. Like a moving resume

  • Shows your range and ability
  • Keep it short
  • Update as often as possible

2. No on-camera credits?

  • Say so, submit with no reel
  • Have a reel made for you
  • Shoot something yourself

3. No reel at all is better than a bad reel.

The Performance Reel
The Business Side
3 Lectures 21:26

Acting is a business and you are the product you are selling. Learn how to treat yourself like a business and promote your work to find new opportunities. Our experts talk about finessing your self-selling pitch without coming off too self-centered or big-headed.

Performing Is Your Business

You've got your headshot, resume, and reel -- key pieces of your self-promotion toolkit. Now you learn how to make the most of your promo materials. Our experts share how they self-promote using various tools, such as websites and online platforms. Here you take away a load of strategies for self-promotion. Refer to the slideshow at the end of this lesson, and to the resources section, for a list of web destinations for the aspiring actor.

Key Points:


  • Set up casting profiles everywhere
  • Personal website
  • Headshots, resume, reel
  • Online video platforms
  • Business cards
  • Postcards
  • Contact casting directors

The performance world is a highly-social world, and many productions are built on collaborations. In this lesson our experts talk about the value of networking in conjunction with self-promotion. Be ready to make an impression and learn how to get out and meet people in the industry. That old saying "who you know is more important than what you know" does hold some truth. Learn how being connected with the right person can help you get your foot in the door and maybe even take leaps in your career.

Key Points:

1. Meeting Industry People

  • Workshops
  • Classes
  • Industry events
  • Local theaters
  • Business cards
  • Branding

2. Become known for something

3 Lectures 24:36

Our expert actors share valuable advice on managing the audition, communicating with directors, and viewing auditions as opportunities to practice. They examine the main goals of any audition and give great tips on presenting yourself well, controlling nerves, and showing off your talent.

Key Points:

Rethink Auditions

  • An audition is a performance
  • Be prepared, like any job interview
  • Be on time
  • Bring all necessary materials
  • You are the ultimate co-worker
Embracing Auditions

Learn about auditioning for different roles and different types of productions. Our experts discuss how they prepare when auditioning for TV, film, or stage. From memorizing the script, to doing cold readings, our actors share great advice to help you prepare for any audition experience. Learn about taking direction, what to wear, and interacting with the casting director. Here you gain key strategies for auditioning as on-point and professionally as possible.

Key Points:

1. Open call

  • Larger pool
  • Not by appointment

2. On-camera

  • Casting director first
  • Usually in an office or room
  • Sides are script pages

3. Theater

  • Often with the actual director
  • Generally larger space, like a theater

4. Preparation is personal

  • Review the material
  • Make strong choices
  • Be prepared to take direction
Types of Auditions

Here our casting director explains how to prepare for a callback and talks about what she hopes to learn on the second audition. Get tips on when to stick with what worked for the first audition and when to make changes. Also hear what our actors have to say about how they approach their callback opportunities.

Key Points:

1. The Callback

  • They liked what they saw
  • Don’t change anything unless directed to
  • Doesn’t hurt to look the same

2. Next Steps

  • Keep track of whom you’ve auditioned with
  • Note or email to thank them for the opportunity
Callbacks and Beyond
3 Lectures 21:13

Here we explain the difference between an agent and a manager, what they do, and why you might need one or both. Our actors share the value they find in representation, and they tell you exactly what your manager or agent should be doing to properly represent you. From getting gigs and molding your path, to managing your business, meetings, auditions and events, learn what agents and managers can do for you.

Key Points:

1. Agent

  • Submits you for roles, some of which you may not have access to
  • Negotiates contracts
  • Regulated by the state
  • Generally costs 10%

2. Manager

  • Develops your career plan
  • Advises you on all aspects of your development
  • Helps you network
  • Generally costs 15%
  • No money upfront
  • Not necessary to start your career
Agents and Managers

It is important to find the right agent or manager for you. Discover what questions to ask when interviewing, and learn how to know when you have the right match. Hear how our actors leveraged their contacts to find agents and managers that fit their own personal working style, personality, and career goals.

Key Points:

1. Having no agent is better than having the wrong agent.

2. Seek out representation that’s right for you.

  • Big agencies aren’t always best
  • Reps that are invested in you
  • Ask questions, get to know them while they get to know you

3. Talk to colleagues and other industry professionals.

Finding Representation

Maintaining a strong working relationship with your manager or agent is key to getting great gigs. Here our actors share great tips on how to stay fresh in your agent's mind, and they remind you not to sit back and expect your agent to do all the work. This lesson offers key strategies to show your agent that you appreciate their hard work, all while keeping you top-of-mind.

Key Points:

1. Reps don’t do all the work.

2. Make it easy for them.

  • Stay on their radar
  • Keep them up-to-date about your classes, workshops, gigs at local theater etc.

3. Make the most of your representation.

  • Stop by the office
  • Schedule an occasional lunch
Making the Most of Your Reps
The Unions
3 Lectures 07:34

Here you learn key considerations for joining a union. Discover why acting unions exist and who and what purposes they serve. Learn about the pros and cons, perks and limitations of membership. Hear what our experts have to say about when to join, why you would want to join, and how to decide what is best for you.

Key Points:

  • Most professional actors join
  • Ensure a minimum level of quality on set
  • Ensure a minimum level of pay
  • Health benefits
  • Cost to join and maintain membership
  • No longer eligible for nonunion jobs
Union Overview

Learn what it takes to be eligible for SAG-AFTRA, a step many actors feel is a pivotal moment in their career. See the SAG-AFTRA website in the resources section for more details.

Key Points:


  • On-camera performers union
  • Work as a principal on a SAG-AFTRA production
  • Work as a background actor three days on a union set, collecting vouchers
  • Members of affiliated unions are also eligible

Representing stage performers, Actors’ Equity is a must join union for those serious about a career in live theater. Learn more details about how to join this union on their website, which you can find in the Resources section.

Key Points:

Actors’ Equity Association

  • Stage actors union
  • Work in a show under an Equity contract
  • Work 50 weeks at an Equity theater
  • Members of affiliated unions are also eligible
Actors' Equity Association
A Final Word, Resources, and Links
2 Lectures 01:27

You now have all the advice and tools you need to launch your dream of becoming a working actor. Remember it takes practice, self-promotion, preparation and passion. Don't forget to treat your craft as your own business, to network and market yourself, to approach auditions as learning opportunities, to be prepared and to always be professional. Performing is only part of it. You are now ready to walk into any audition, to share your resume, headshots and reel, and put all you've learned here into play. Congratulations and good luck, you are now well on your way to living the life of a professional working actor.

Act Now

Acting Resources
About the Instructor
Demand Media
4.7 Average rating
104 Reviews
724 Students
6 Courses
Content For Real Life

Demand Media, Inc. is a leading digital media and domain name services company that informs and entertains one of the internet’s largest audiences, helps advertisers find innovative ways to engage with their customers and enables publishers, individuals and businesses to expand their online presence. Headquartered in Santa Monica, CA, Demand Media has offices in North America, South America and Europe.