How to Become a Male Actor

By Catherine Capozzi

Becoming a successful male actor does not require 6-pack abs (as indicated by Seth Rogan's fame), nor does it mandate years of expensive schooling. However, successful male actors all have certain traits in common: few stumble into the industry by accident, and none quit at the first sign of failure. The life of a male actor might seem glamorous, but the work requires long hours, back-breaking work and extreme dedication.

Get quality headshots. Submitting a picture of you and your mother baking cookies will not suffice, even for a family comedy. To be seriously considered by agencies, directors, and producers, you must have a quality picture of your face. In addition, headshots101.com specifies that most actors have both a commercial and theater headshot, which represent very different images. Commercial headshots represent your likeability and warmth, whereas a theater headshot will be more serious.

Headshots are not cheap: at the very least, Los Angeles photographer, Jessica Pettyjohn, estimates spending $99 to $150 for low-end shots and $750 to $1,200 at the high-end.

Take acting classes. Do not see taking acting classes as a sign of weakness. Just as architects go to school for architecture, you should go to school for acting. Embrace all opportunities to take an acting course. Consider taking a wide variety of classes, too. Taking a Shakespeare class will be just as useful as engaging in an improv class, despite the obvious differences. In class, learn from the best actors and pay attention to bad habits of lesser actors.

Acting class will make you aware of things you may have never considered. Konstantin Stanislavsky and Jean Benedetti's book, “An Actor's Life: a student's diary” explains lessons like transitioning to a physical embodiment, the role of the subconscious, and even using acrobatics to enhance acting.

Audition for everything. As tempting as that role is for the latest James Cameron movie, you must start small. Do not shy away from community theater, local improv groups, filling in as an extra or doing commercials. Welcome all acting opportunities as a way to showcase your range talents. While you do not want to pigeonhole yourself as a male soap star, when starting out, you face very few risks. In fact, the greater exposure will result in a greater likelihood of being discovered. Additionally, even small auditions will build your monologue-reading skills and stage presence.

Keep your ego in check. Take criticism from others seriously and graciously: even if you thought your dramatic interpretation of Medea was flawless, listen to others who commented that your monologue was dry. People do not need to be amazing actors to provide valuable criticism, either.

Lastly, be willing to do humbling side work while you foster your acting career. Authors of the book, “The 7 Steps to Stardom,” Christina Ferra-Gilmore and Wink Martindale, mention Jim Carrey's janitorial work. They suggest taking any job which puts you in a position to interact with other actors, directors producers... even if this job is a one-sentence speaking role.

Do not give up. Accept the fact that you may never land a leading role for the latest blockbuster alongside Penelope Cruz. However, that likelihood becomes a guarantee if you give up. Keep in contact with as many people as possible, and look for unusual opportunities found in local papers and through word-of-mouth.

Tip

Move to a place conducive to theater. Such places include New York City, Los Angeles and Washington, DC.

Warning

Avoid scams. Do not sign up for any talent agencies which require exorbitant amounts of money with little track record.

About the Author

Since 2008 Catherine Capozzi has been writing business, finance and economics-related articles from her home in the sunny state of Arizona. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in economics from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, which has given her a love of spreadsheets and corporate life.