What do Benicio Del Toro, Edward James Olmos and Cheech Marin have in common? They're all Mexicans who have found success in Hollywood. Mexicans are an important part of American culture.l As such, they are needed by the movie industry. The number of movie and TV roles for Mexicans has grown tremendously in recent years, opening up many opportunties for Mexican actors to get their big break. That doesn't mean it's easy for a Mexican to break into the movies. Becoming a Mexican actor takes perseverance and determination, as it would for an actor of any race or national origin.
Getting Started as a Mexican Actor
Enroll in an acting school in your area. As reported at Davis Photographic, "If you want to be a professional actor, eventually New York or Los Angeles will be where you will find work. However, you can build a résumé of experience in any major metropolitan area." For a list of acting schools, refer to "Directory of Acting Schools in the United States" (see Resources).
Create a head shot. Do not skimp on this process. Make sure your head shot or series of head shots are professional and shows you in the most attractive light.
Build your resume. Put everything on your resume that would apply to your desire to be a Mexican actor. You will strengthen your resume as you gain experience. As you build your resume, you can remove the most amateur of listings, such as high school plays, and replace them with more professional experience.
Working as a Mexican Actor
Audition for plays in your neighborhood. Take even the most minor production seriously. As reported at Actingbiz.com, "Don't simply dismiss these plays as amateurish before you give them an honest try. You'd be surprised how many low-budget community and school plays are professionally produced." Join a Latino cultural center and get involved in performances that would add to your experience and that would allow you to work with other Mexican actors. Latino cultural centers can be found in areas with a substantial Latino population. Take the initiative to create your own productions and opportunities by working with the administration. Include all relevant experience in your resume.
Look for opportunities that ask specifically for Mexican actors. For example, the Orlando Sentinel once ran an article titled "Hispanics Sought For Roles In Musical." Be on the lookout for opportunities that would apply to Latinos.
Prepare for limitations as a Mexican actor. As reported at Celebitchy in their report on Latina actress Eva Mendes, "On one hand she said that being Latin has helped her find parts, but she also said it has cost her roles as producers have said they want an 'American girl,' i.e. fully white-looking woman like Drew Barrymore, and that she doesn’t understand how she doesn’t fit that mold." Accept the fact that being a Mexican actor can be difficult in some situations. Look for those situations where being Latin is helpful or not an issue.
Prepare for auditions by learning new skills, if need be. As reported at Davis Photographic, "Want to be an action hero? Study Marshal Arts, stunts and fighting techniques. Want to star in roles as a socialite? Go to finishing school, learn to play an instrument, study the rich and famous in magazines and on TV."
Getting Known as a Mexican Actor
Sign up for social networking sites. Don't just rely on a head shot and a resume. Take advantage of social networking to advertise that you are a Mexican actor looking for work. Utilize popular social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter to get the word out.
Attend industry events. If you are invited to an event for actors, do whatever you need to do to go. As reported at David Photographic, "Always expect invitations to industry parties and events. Show up in amazing outfits at movie openings and red carpet events and see if you can get photographed with famous people. Getting your picture in a gossip paper with a celebrity can only help your career."
Sign up or join Latino publications that would include information to help you as a Mexican actor. Look for these publications online and in print. Utilize the advertising section to promote yourself and your work. Join forums to meet other Mexican actors, in addition to writers, directors and producers.
Look for an agent. It is difficult to find one that will represent you when you are an unknown, but an agent is beneficial for finding you jobs, especially jobs you may not otherwise know about.
Join an actor's union such as the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) at Sag.org. Consider ways to support yourself while you work to become an actor. Instant success is rare. Look to your actor's union for advice on jobs to supplement your income.
Make the move to New York or Los Angeles if you are interested in Broadway, TV or film. These major cities are the hub of acting opportunities. You will need to do whatever is necessary to achieve success on Broadway or in TV or film. Sign up with IMDB at Imbd.com for updated casting call listings.
Becoming a Mexican actor is not like becoming a Mexican accountant. Acting is a job that requires more than just skill. There's a lot of luck involved. As reported at How to Become an Actor, "If you want to learn how to become an actor, you first have to ask yourself if this is the career choice you really want to make. Behind the glitz and glamor is a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. In fact, most actors, by far, never see any glitz and rarely any glamor. It’s hard work that many times doesn’t pay the way you want."
Colleen Larson is a full-time freelance writer based in Chicago. She has ghostwritten for a variety of clients, and articles under her own name have appeared at Spinner, Asylum, Moviefone and MadeMan, among others. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Barat College.