How to become a professional actor

The Yorkshire Academy of Film and Television Acting (YAFTA) has teamed up with world leading creative network, Mandy.com to support the acting community with a new advice column aimed at supporting their mental health questions and issues.

Seeing Olivia Colman deliver an amazing, emotional acceptance speech for her Best Actress award at this year’s Oscars referencing her underling desire to act as she held a job as a cleaner will have no doubt resonated with so many and ignited a spark in those who have always harboured a dream to act.

But how do you get started? Can anyone become a professional actor? Is it possible at any age to pursue a professional acting career?

Charlotte Armitage, MD of the Yorkshire Academy of Film and Acting Television and the YAFTA Talent Agency shares her insight and advice on how you can become a professional actor.

“First of all, it’s important to say anyone can learn to act. Whatever age, background, disability, there are acting classes taking place up and down the country that you can join and enjoy. Not only will you learn how to act, but you will also meet lots of new people and gain confidence whilst developing skills in teamworking, emotional intelligence and communication. The difference between people who want to act as a hobby, and those who want to act professionally comes down to; ability, attitude, education and commitment.

The competition to make it as a professional actor is extremely fierce, with most actors averaging 16 unsuccessful auditions before they get a yes! To really master your acting craft, you need to undertake an acting course, gain as much experience as you can and refine your knowledge by enrolling on advanced courses such as the YAFTA Acting for Screen diploma. Once you have done your training, you need to get your headshots together start building your CV and showreel by undertaking work, then you will be ready to start approaching agents for representation.

Networking with industry professionals, taking part in specialist workshops, reading articles or listening to podcasts from actors who inspire you, will widen your knowledge and contacts.

It does take persistence and it can be draining mentally and emotionally to attend audition after audition and receive no feedback. However, creating a supportive network around you, especially including some of those also in the industry, will be a big help and will help you to maintain a positive approach to the work.

Good luck!”

Charlottes’ advice is echoed by professional YAFTA agency actors, James Moore and Freya Kingsley who appear in ITV’s Emmerdale and the latest series of BBC’s Baptise respectively. James says “Find an agency, develop a showreel and basically market yourself. Believe in yourself and put time and passion into what you do, and others will believe in you.” Freya adds: “Just go for it. If this is truly what you want, you have to decide that no matter what, this is your only option and be prepared to put in the time to get where you want to be.”

Further information on the YAFTA Acting for Screen Diploma and Acting for Screen Youth Diploma available on www.yafta.co.uk

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