Guide: Top 10 Tips For Becoming An Actor In South Africa

Many talented young people have aspirations to be actors one day, but fear that their dreams are unrealistic and unattainable. If you’re one of these superstars waiting to blow up, this article is just for you!

Because while becoming a working actor is certainly no walk in the park, it’s also not impossible. With sheer determination, commitment, a willingness to learn and hard work, you can achieve what you want.

And remember – everything you want to be, you already are. You just need to reveal first to yourself, and then later to the world.

I’ve listed 10 useful tips you need to take seriously for your to reach for the stars. And remember, nothing can stop you but yourself.


“Whatever your dream is, every extra penny you have needs to be going to that ” – Will Smith


PASSION

Many people want to become actors and actresses for the perceived perks of being in the spotlight. Some just want it for the untold riches we often see being flaunted by famous personalities.

Geez, we recently listed the 10 Highest Earning South African Celebrities and found that the top 4 in the list are in fact all actors. So yeah, it’s kinda true – being a known actor can be a source of great earning potential.

Although fame can be an enticing motivation for you to follow your dreams, it’s important to be clear that you want to do this for the right reasons. The most important being that you love it.

As Oprah Winfrey articulated at her Stanford University interview on Career, Life & Leadership, which you watch here for some inspiration, you’ve got to “let passion be the fuel that drives your success.”

Some aspiring actors have made efforts to step into the industry, but once they are confronted with the harsh reality they never anticipated, they back down. If you know that being an actor is your authentic passion, and you want nothing more than to perform, proceed!

JOIN THE  SA GUILD OF ACTORS

Not many people know about the SA Guild Of Actors – which drama graduates might have heard about during their studies.

If you want to become a professional and celebrated actress with a sustainable and rewarding career, it’s important for you to be aware – and if possible take part in programmes and platforms whose intention is to empower and hone your skills.

On their official website, they articulate their aim;

“The Guild exists to promote professionals in the performance industry, and to protect and enhance actors’ working conditions, compensation and benefits.”

Report to the website on how the Guild can uplift your skills and get you where you need be as an actor, as well as details on how you join.

FIND AN AGENCY THAT BELIEVES IN YOU!

A friend of mine recently advised that many people focus on finding big casting agencies with good references and clientele. Sure, they have all the biggest productions under their belt. They have the biggest actors in the business, whose success they credit to themselves.

Although that is true, she also made me realise that top agencies in the country have big clients with specific briefs, and often the most experienced and established actors on their books take preference.

Smaller agencies have the added value of being intimate and more focussed. Because they are not raking in as much money to keep their lights on, they are also dependant of recruiting authentic talent they truly believe in to score some wins.

It’s wise for you to look for smaller agencies with the same passion you are aiming for the big ones.

EVER CONSIDERED ADVERTS? 

Starting small is nothing to be ashamed of. In truth, some of the greatest performers in the world started out doing small time jobs before hitting it big.

Starting small allows you to build confidence, gain experience in your field, hone your skills and work at your craft – all which will come in handy when the big moment finally comes.

Signing up with agencies that focus on casting people for commercials can be useful in exposing you to more frequent auditions.

There you will get the opportunity to showcase and polish your already awesome skills. You will get the hang of the auditioning process, tricks of the trade, valuable advice from peers and professionals, and as well open yourself to powerful networking opportunities.

And if you get chosen for one or two television, you will start making some money. You will also start adding up impressive professional gigs to your portfolio.

FIND A COACHING CLASS

There are many trusted acting classes and workshops initiated and run by industry professionals, acting experts and experienced actors at your disposal.

Take time to do some ground research on these, as well as all the costs involved. Indigo View, Christie Schamberger Workshops and Kathleen Anderson all offer these classes.

These are some examples we dug out, but in now way is that list even close to being exhaustive of resources that are out there to help you master your craft and be ready to do what you’re destined to do at a high level.

It’s crucial for you to do your own research on the platforms closest, most affordable and most convenient for you to start with the work.

Alternatively, you can also approach other actors to whom you have access to, perhaps in the community and see if you can get them to mentor you! Remember that Cassper Nyovest kept going to Doc Shebeleza for mentorship before he filled up stadiums.

See? There’s always one more option. You just need to have the right attitude.

FIND A COMMUNITY ARTS PROGRAMME

Some communities have government funded programmes for up and coming artists to pitch, showcase and perform their creative work. In less privileged communities such as Katlehong, there are art centres available for performers from the community to come and perform their work for the community.

Take a look at this MAP for all art centres in South Africa.

www.gov.za lists some initiatives that might interest you here

HIT THE THEATRE!

How else are you going to know what’s happening in your future field unless you jump right in and immerse yourself in the living and amazing work that gets showcased?

Fine, going out to watch a play at a theatre requires a bit of money. But this could simply mean the difference between topping up your data or experiencing at work that which you aspire to.

NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK

We’ve mentioned theatres, community art programmes, acting classes, workshops etc throughout this article. In addition to everything you will gain from all these, never forget that being in the presence of people who are like you brings forth endless opportunities for networking!

How many famous people have you heard who keep revealing that they actually met each other at an audition somewhere years before they finally got their first big break? Well, I’ve seen this quite a few times and I think it’s actually quite inspiring.

Open yourself up to meeting and interacting with like minded people to keep yourself empowered, connected and focussed on your dreams.

MANAGING EXPECTATIONS

Last but not least, get real with yourself. Sounds a bit harsh, but stepping out of a excessive fantasising and looking at your dream will help you to see as real and tangible. That you too can be whatever you want to be!

It’s also important to step away from looking at the industry as being ridiculously glamorous. It’s not fun and games and it’s not easy to crack it. It also won’t happen overnight.  Approach your dream with a real drive and treat it like objectives which require your utmost commitment, zeal, passion and focus, rather fantasies.

See you on TV!

 

 

 

 

 

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