I read this article on http://www.aussietheatre.com/advice.htm and thought it was a great piece for people looking to get a start with an acting career.
By Shiona Long (Reprinted with permission)
I love talking to young artists. I love your passion, your determination and your optimism. Many of you can paint me a vivid and detailed picture of just how it will be when you ‘make it’. The power of such a dream cannot be underestimated.
What I notice is that many of you do not have a clear plan as to how you are going to get there. I can tell you this with absolute certainty; if you don’t break it down to the specific steps and take specific action, your chances of success are very, very low.
There are two parts to achieving the big dream. There is who you need to be and what you need to do.
You need to be talented, passionate and committed. These to me are givens. You also need to be focused, determined, disciplined, certain, resilient, courageous – I could go on.
I believe it is imperative to have a strong sense of who you really are as a person, what you truly want in your life and why it is so important to you. You need to take the time to ask these questions. This will give you the ‘inspiration’ to do what you need to do time, and time, and time again, to achieve your dream.
It has been said that given a BIG enough WHY, the HOW will take care of itself.
The next step is to map out the plan to achieve your dream. Map out each step along the path.
Firstly, ask yourself; where am I now? You need to be really honest and also really encouraging – your own best friend!
Then ask… What is the next step that I need to take? It may be to get a singing teacher, or get a lead role in an amateur show or an audition for a professional show. If you are being honest you will know what the next step should be.
Write a SMART Goal. If it is not written down it is still a concept that you don’t need to action.
S = Simple and Specific
M = Measurable
A = Attractive and As If Now
R = Realistic
T = Timed
So a SMART goal would go something like this
It is November 1st 2008 I am so excited to have landed my first lead role in an amateur musical theatre production. I love what I do and am so proud of my achievements.
The goal is simple and specific; you can measure whether it has been achieved, it is timed and it is stated as if you have it now. Only you can decide if it is realistic and attractive!
Then break it down into the specific actions that you need to take to achieve your goal. Allocate adequate time for each step and DO IT!
Do the practice, learn the lines, make the phone calls, have the courage to go to the audition. Do whatever it takes to have your goal real in your life. Look at what you have written down EVERYDAY.
By all means dream. Visualize that you have it now in you life. Feel it. See it. Hear it. Say your goal. Love it. Visualization works.
More importantly TAKE ACTION.
I can tell you this with absolute certainty; it won’t happen if you just sit there!!
This article was written by Shiona Long – Specialist Success Coach for the Performing Arts.
My business has changed a little from when that article was submitted. I am now working as a life and career coach with a special focus on the arts and not for profit sector, in particular for women who want to make a difference in the world in their chosen field and want the support to make their dream a reality. My background is as a musician, music and drama teacher, arts/not for profit manager and now a coach and trainer.
I am now operating under the new business name Authentic Success with the e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org my web address is www.authenticsuccess.com.au although it doesn't necessarily reflect the changes I have mentioned above. My direction is becoming clearer to me the more I work in this area, which for is very much part of the process that I need to go through in order to assist others.
I am still more than willing to assist young artists in anyway that I can - time permitting of course.
I look forward to hearing from you,
Created 11 Aug 2008, updated 31 March 2009
First you should look at the 'Looking for work' FAQ:
This is mainly aimed at young actors, which probably won't apply to most newly arrived people from overseas; unless you're only looking for amateur roles. Although usually I don't encourage work wanted posts, newly arrived folk looking for professional roles are welcome to do so because it not only introduces you to us, and vice versa, but assists us in providing more specific advice to you, your skill levels, and giving info about the location you intend on being/are in.
This site is mainly aimed at an amateur community, and therefore most of the people and info pertains to that side of theatre.
It should also be noted that Australia has vastly different industries depending on where you are. Most of the work can be found on the Eastern side of the country, particularly Sydney and Melbourne. Sydney is more of a professional, venue-oriented industry, whereas Melbourne is more fringe and small group oriented. However, there are also vibrant industries in Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth, as well as elsewhere in the country. Each capital has its own unique pros and cons; so telling us where you are/plan to be will help us immensely in offering decent advice.
Generally speaking, you should plan ahead and look for work before arriving: the professional industry is small and roles are difficult to find, especially if the country is new. The following should help you a bit in finding out where the jobs are.
The next step is to take a look at this link:
This is information provided by me after four years of running a free ezine that included jobs, and two years working at one of the top arts publications in the country. In that post is a set of bookmarks made freely available to all who want it. It lists many of the professional companies, venues and groups in this country (all for pro theatre only) and is set out in easy to find sections. There's one section called 'job hunting' which is very good to use to hunt for work in a range of areas; both tech and acting.
Another good tip is to find out when and where local festivals are being presented. Large ones include the Melbourne Fringe Festival (Sept-Oct each year), the Melbourne International Arts Festival (Oct-Nov each year), the Melbourne Comedy Festival (Mar-April each year), the Adelaide Fringe, and so on... These festivals not only provide a lot of opportunity for professional roles (both tech and acting), give you some insight into what kinds of shows and groups are performing; and attending a show or two is always a good way to introduce yourself to like-minded people. Additionally, all major festivals offer voluntary roles, and is an excellent opportunity to not only make some good contacts, but also to get a little Aussie experience under your belt in a professional setting.
For those looking for paid internships, you'll find that Australia doesn't work the same as the US or other countries - that is, there aren't any. We either have amateur roles or pro roles, but rarely anything in between. Additionally work experience here is usually saved for those who are still at school or university. Generally speaking, if you've worked extensively overseas, you should have no problems submitting a CV/resume to a local venue and seeing if they have any interest. For those actors out there, you should be getting yourself an agent, as most roles are not openly advertised and without one you'll find it difficult to obtain work. There are plenty of articles in the FAQ about finding an agent, where to look, etc.
There are a number of good schools and universities available for training, depending on what you want to do. The most notable ones are NIDA in Sydney (http://www.nida.edu.au/), VCA in Melbourne (http://www.vca.unimelb.edu.au/) and WAAPA in Perth (http://www.waapa.ecu.edu.au/). However, there are excellent courses outside of these three, and you should look into what's available from a range of places. Additionally, there is Australia's only puppetry course at VCA (although a small component is also performed at Melbourne's Swinburne Uni, http://www.swinburne.edu.au/), and NICA (also Melbourne, http://www.nica.com.au/) is our country's only education institution for circus arts.
Many of your questions may also be answered in other threads that cover this topic already:
(an oldie but a goodie - especially for techies)
(a good one for teachers)