Breaking into Acting For Dummies
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Breaking into acting takes more than catching a lucky break. Take steps to show up prepared for your acting audition, like keeping your clothes measurements with you. Keep accurate records of your acting expenses so you can deduct them from your taxes. Learn to deal with the frustration of acting, and keep your hopes of becoming an actor alive.

acting audition © LightField Studios /

How to prepare for an acting audition

Being prepared for your acting audition can reduce the stress of the experience. These auditioning tips can minimize distractions and help you put together a knockout performance:

  • Pack a change of clothes in case your outfit gets dirty or torn, or so you can modify your appearance to match the role.
  • Take a copy of sides (the pages of a script that you’ll be reading from) or the script to practice while you wait your turn to audition.
  • Do a final run-through of your monologues to make sure that you have them memorized and are comfortable performing them.
  • Confirm directions to the audition location. Also, plan to leave your residence in plenty of time to get to the audition location early.
  • Clear your personal calendar for the day of the audition, so you can arrive early and stay late with no worries.
  • Make a list of emergency telephone numbers, such as your agent’s number and the audition location number.
  • Get a good night’s sleep.
  • Eat a well-balanced meal beforehand and stay hydrated.

Take clothing measurements to your acting audition

A casting director may need your clothes measurements for costume fittings at your acting audition. Keep your measurements handy and take them to your audition. Be prepared, if asked, for the following:

Height: _____ Females: Bust: _____ Males: Suit: _____
Weight: _____ Hips: _____ Shirt: _____
Shoe size: _____ Dress: _____ Inseam: _____
Waist: _____ Blouse: _____
Blouse: _____ Pants: _____

Tax deductions for acting expenses

Because acting is a business, you may be allowed to write off tax deductions for some acting expenses up to the acting income you’ve earned. Consult your tax advisor about tax deductions and keep accurate records of your acting expenses. Please check with your CPA because of ever-changing tax laws. Possible tax deductions include

  • Travel expenses to and from auditions (including meals and lodging)
  • Admissions to movies and plays (save your ticket stubs)
  • Acting classes, workshops, and seminars
  • Acting books and magazines
  • Office supplies
  • Mailing expenses
  • Telephone bills
  • Union dues
  • Head shots (photographer’s fees)
  • Movie rentals
  • Television set, DVD player, and the cost of cable or streaming subscription service
  • Makeup and clothing specifically used for acting (including dry cleaning expenses)
  • Cost of creating a demo video

How to deal with frustration as an actor

Don’t give up on your dreams of being an actor when you’re feeling frustrated. To relax and revive your acting aspirations, try some of these suggestions:

  • Meditate or practice yoga
  • Treat yourself to a spa, massage, or a hot bath
  • Go on a long hike in nature
  • Take a class to overcome your weaknesses as an actor
  • Look for a day job that you may actually like
  • Participate in non-show business activities, such as playing sports, volunteering at a hospital or charity, or enjoying a hobby
  • Work off some steam—take a karate, boxing, or aerobic workout class
  • Start or join a support group with fellow actors
  • See a movie, go to a play, or read a good book
  • Do a hobby such as organic gardening
  • Read a positive-thinking book or listen to a motivational podcast
  • Browse through one of the trade publications such as Variety or Hollywood Reporter
  • Pursue an additional show business career (writing, stand-up comedy, filmmaking, and so on)
  • Take a vacation (It can be as simple as a one-day trip to the beach or a two week trip to Europe.)
  • Take time to develop a plan for advancing your acting career

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Larry Garrison is President of SilverCreek Entertainment. He’s worked as a producer/actor in TV and film in Los Angeles for more than 30 years. His company has produced news stories for ABC and NBC News.

Wallace Wang is a stand-up comedian and the author of more than 10 bestselling For Dummies books. He focuses on screenwriting, movies, and comedy.

Wallace Wang specializes in making complex topics understandable. His assorted For Dummies tech books have sold nearly half a million copies. He has a master’s degree in computer science along with side hustles in stand-up comedy and screenwriting because life is too short to focus on just one thing.

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