So you want to be an actor: Getting Professional Experience

Building up a list of past credits will give you industry experience and exposure as well as providing you with opportunities to be seen by agents, casting directors, theatre and television companies, so vital to securing that all-important first job. Building up a collection of tv and film credits can also help to build a showreel, a great way to showcase your talent to those who matter.

Whilst it's wonderful to get paid work, the competition is heavy, so new actors often resort to unpaid performance to build their reputation, reviews and experience.

Quick Fact: Actors work professionally an average of 11.3 weeks of the year

There are a number of websites out there which can help you secure such work, top among them are :

  • - a free website listing a wide select of casting calls, primarily unpaid but well worth looking at on a daily basis. (updated daily).
  • - this site provides a daily email listing of film and tv casting calls, primarily for student or non paid productions but with the occassional paid call, well worth the £20 annual subscription. (updated daily).
  • the stage - the recruitment section for the stage offers weekly updated casting calls and auditions, for actors, singers and dancers. Available to newspaper subscribers on Wednesday and everyone else on Friday. (updated weekly).
  • pcr - The production and casting report, listing a number of high profile auditions and casting calls although at £260 per year this is one of the more expensive option. PCR is delivered by mail each Monday. (updated weekly).

Remember: Networking still has a crucial role to play in this industry. Try to stay in touch with the colleagues you meet whilst working on fringe theatre performances, student films and amateur productions, you never know when they might be in a position to help your career.

More information: The Actor's Handbook 2006/7