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How to build film credits: 5 tips

Whether you’ve just begun your acting career or you just arrived in a new market, you are probably wondering the same thing that all new actors wonder: How do I build film and TV credits? Agents want to know that you can handle auditions, and casting directors want to know that they can trust you with the material. One way of proving you can handle the challenges of the casting process and book jobs is by the credits on your résumé.  At 3-2-1- Acting School in Los Angeles, we not only train our students in acting technique, but we also coach them on practical aspects of the business. Here are a few tips on how to build film credits, especially if you are new to the industry:

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1. Take a class. Training is a very important section of a résumé for a new actor. Casting doesn’t expect you to have a ton of credits, however they want to know that you have been guided and are learning acting skills from a school or coach they trust. If you are a theater actor arriving in Los Angeles, the first thing you should do is get into an on-camera TV/film acting class with a respected studio. Beyond learning new techniques, you’ll start to build a community with your new classmates. You never know what opportunity lies around the corner from someone who respects your work in class and could recommend you to an agent, casting director, or other industry professional.  Many studios will allow you to audit an acting class before registering. At 3-2-1- Acting Studios in Los Angeles for kids, teens and young adults, we actually offer a free introductory class.

2. Audition for a play. This is a great way to add credits to your résumé. Auditioning and performing on stage really flexes your acting muscles. Film is a director’s medium. Theater is an actor’s medium. This means the show sits on the actor’s shoulders. No one will yell cut at the end of a scene. It’s on the shoulders of the actors to create exciting performances for over two hours straight every night. Industry professionals will be impressed to see theater credits on your résumé. It shows you are tenacious and will work hard. If professional theater is not available to you, try for community theater or even college programs. Check out Backstage.com and actorsequity.org for information about professional theater auditions.

3. Student and indie films. This is a great way for you to not only add film credits to your résumé, but also to hone your on-camera talents. Working on a set is very different than working on a stage. From the pacing of your day to the size of your performance, there’s a lot to absorb and learn. Since a student or independent filmmaker rarely has a significant résumé or budget, they are much more likely to take a chance on casting a newcomer. Working on low-budget films has the potential to be a great résumé-builder down the road, as many newcomers in student and indie films go on to get cast in professional TV and film acting jobs.

4. Self-submit online. There are more and more websites everyday that offer actors access to self-submissions for auditions. But do your research, as some are simply scams. Any site that actually gets you legitimate auditions will allow you to set up a basic account and self-submit for as many projects as you see fit. In Los Angeles, the main websites for self-submissions are Actors Access and LA Casting.

5. Create your own material. Congratulations! You are living in a time where you don’t need anyone to offer you the opportunity to start building credits. You can make them yourself! Grab a camera and some talented people from your community and start making your own projects. Create a YouTube channel and upload your web series, funny videos, or any footage that shows off your talents. The production doesn’t have to be perfect at first. Just keep at it. Like everything worthwhile, the only way to get better is to practice.

If you commit to following these five steps, you’ll become a more experienced actor, ready to impress with quality credits on your résumé.

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