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April 16, 2002

ActorsBon: Where Do I Begin?

Dear Bonnie,

I'm a 21 year old college student living in Long Island , who recently took an acting class and fell in love. I shocked myself and now I finally know what I want to do and why I couldn't figure it out for so long. I am about to chase what some would say is a dream, but hey life's too short not to. So my question to you is, where do I begin? I don't know where to start. Can you help me please?

- Ali

Dear Ali,

Welcome to the dream life! It's so gratifying to be a performer. You did the right thing by starting with a class. I'd suggest that you continue to do some training. Invest in good classes with various teachers so that you can learn the fundamentals, as well as improvisation, scene study, and audition technique.

Meanwhile, try to get into a play at a local community theatre. Theatre is a great place to start, as you really do get to put a lot into the process of putting together a play and seeing it all the way through. There is a lot out there for you to read. Read everything you can get your hands on. I have a list here on the Actor's Bone of the books I like to recommend. I would ask your former acting coach to recommend a book that's right for "where you are" in terms of level, experience, and goals.

You're absolutely right that life's too short to not pursue your dreams! Have fun and make sure that you are learning from every experience. After you've taken another couple of classes, gotten into local theatre, and done some reading, you can begin to look into the larger elements (like agents, unions, and professional pursuits).

You may want to pick up Back Stage, a weekly paper for the east coast (I work for the west coast version), to see what sort of things are going on in the business and what sort of student films and other "starting level" projects are going on (things where you work for free, but get a copy of the tape of your performance).

I hope this helps. Remember that everyone was a beginner at some point, and there is nothing wrong with having questions. NEVER pay anyone to represent you as an agent or manager. They only get paid when you get paid. And when it's time to get headshots (black and white photos you use to submit to projects), you should research a few photographers first to compare prices, quality, and personality. It's important to be in sync with the person who's responsible for capturing your TRUE image on a headshot.

Let me know if you have more questions. I hope this helps, and that you have a lot of fun pursuing your new-found passion!


Posted by bonnie at April 16, 2002 5:30 PM