How to improve your chances of getting paid acting work
The best and most affective way of improving your chances of paid and decent acting work is to get a well edited showreel made.
To do this, you obviously need footage. If you haven't had any film experience before, don't worry. All the casting director or production company is looking for is to see whether you can act. Yes a big budget production with a know name attached is nice but its not essential.
First thing I would advise is to look out for the non paid opportunities, but don't just accept any role, you must make sure the script is good and your character is someone you really feel passionate about, a role which will show you off.
Its these types of scenes that should go on your showreel. Don't accept any role because its offered to you, make sure you feel passionate about the character, that you can do the role to the best of your ability.
When accepting the role make a verbal agreement with the direct that you will be using this footage for you showreel (most of the time they will allow you to have the footage of a no budget/student project almost straight away)but keep asking them if you don't get it.
If, however, you don't want to work unpaid which I understand then get yourself access to a hand held good quality camera (not a mobile phone), set up your bedside lamps, your lights around you so as to not create any shadows and so that the viewer can see you clearly, have either someone reading opposite you behind the camera or deliver a monologue. Keep the scene short but make sure it shows a variety in your character journey.
Try to avoid looking directly into the camera lens unless you are doing a mockumentary style monologue. As in castings you never look into the camera lens, casting directors tend to avoid direct eye contact.
To edit the showreel together or the scene together, make sure its tight,sharp and snappy, casting directors only see about 45 seconds into a showreel anyway, keep your reel to a absolute maximum of 4 minutes. Always put your name on the beginning and end of your reel, if on a casting website put that on, if you have an agent, put their number, if not, put your own email (avoid personal numbers as the internet is a large and scary place, be careful)
A showreel is the best starting point to paid jobs. If you are unknown by a casting director they need to see your work, so send it to them.