acting in Kenya

I’m going to be frank, acting is a very challenging profession to pursue. Yet, as challenging as it can be at times, the joy of acting and the reward of touching audiences is worth every hurdle. Ultimately it’s something you do because you love to act, not for stardom and riches. It’s a journey that is complete with high moments, unsteady periods, times of self-doubt, and then that big WIN when you find yourself an actual working actor.

Here are a few tips to help you get started on your journey.

Perfect your “on-camera” look.

Getting used to the camera is one of the first steps toward becoming “photogenic.” Figure out what angles work for your face, what expressions look good on camera, what happens to your face when you frown, and what kind of makeup is flattering for the screen.

Knowing this information about yourself will help you in an audition because you’ll already know what you look like from the camera’s perspective. Soon, you will be able to adjust your look to fit a particular role.

Also, understand that you don’t have to be a drop-dead gorgeous Victoria’s Secret model to be an actor. There are plenty of roles that require different kinds of looks and personalities. What’s most important is your talent, personality, professionalism, and drive.

Consider a behind-the-scenes role to pay rent.

Rather than going into a field that is quick and accessible, such as hospitality, consider finding work within the industry. For instance, consider working as an assistant to a casting director, an art director, or writer.

You’ll get first-hand tips from people within the business and you’ll start to get a feel for the industry.

Also, if you’re working in Hollywood, make sure to keep your “assistant hat” separate from your “actor hat.” High-profile folks working in the industry are not going to feel sympathetic or interested in your work as an actor. They’ll see you only as Danny, the assistant. That’s okay, because once they see you in a commercial or in a film, you’ll blow them away and gain their respect.

Study actor “brands”

If you look hard, you’ll begin to understand that actors have “brands” that propel their careers. Some are sultry and sexy, some are rebels, some are veterans.

A brand is always an authentic piece of a person’s character, but it’s the piece that is the most intriguing and is capitalized on. Think of one of your favorite actors and note down the first few characteristics that come to mind.

You’ve already begun to piece apart the actor’s brand. Study a variety of different actor brands, including lesser-known actors who work. Understanding this will help you get a feel for what “sticks” in the industry and will help you develop your own authentic brand.

Develop your spark.

Charisma is an essential aspect of becoming an entertainer. You have to be intriguing — not to yourself, but also to other people. I recommend reading a book such as The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism by Olivia Fox Cabane. She breaks down the fundamental aspects of charisma and explains how anyone can be seen as charismatic with a few simple changes in their body language.

At the same time, try to become self-absorbed. Hollywood is filled with rather superficial and often snooty personalities. Do your very best remain humble and interested in other people.

Know your stuff. Research top agents, managers, producers, and directors.

It’s important to know who the big-wigs are in the industry. There is always the potential that one day, you’ll be sitting next to someone big at a cafe or party in Los Angeles, and you’ll show respect where it is due. (Don’t hyperventilate if that happens, though! Just show respect.)
If you see a film that you really love, research the director, the producer, and the actors. Knowing this information will help direct your networking efforts. It will also help you identify your goals.

That said, always show respect and sincere interest in every single person you meet. I cannot stress the importance of having a reputation of being friendly, respectful, humble, and easy to work with. Stories carry in Hollywood, so let your story be a positive one. Be kind and interested in the famous and non-famous alike. Everyone is still a person — they still deserve your respect.

Identify your goals and start training.

There are numerous types of actors: comedians, dramatic actors, dancers, just to name a few. Different kinds of roles require different kinds of skills.

For instance, a dramatic actor requires flexibility, range, depth, and camera presence. On the other hand, a comedian requires a fine-tuned understanding of timing, charisma, a sharp wit, jokes, and routines already prepared and ready to use on cue.

Understand what your goals are and then develop the necessary skills to reach those goals.

That said, goals are guidelines. While having your own hit TV show in the next five years might or might not happen, it does give you a sense of direction.

Just remember that, if in the next five years you are on television, you are paying your bills, and you are satisfied with life, then you’ve hit your goal: becoming an actor.

Being an actor is always a matter of endurance and faith. So stay positive, believe in yourself, and go claim your dreams! I wish you lots of luck!!

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