Breaking Into Acting For Dummies Cheat Sheet - dummies
Cheat Sheet

Breaking Into Acting For Dummies Cheat Sheet

From Breaking Into Acting For Dummies

By Larry Garrison, Wallace Wang

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.

How to Prepare for an Acting Audition

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

  • Prepare and pack plenty of head shots and resumes. Staple your head shot to the back of your resume, so you don’t lose one or the other.

  • 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.

Taking 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.

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

Tax Deductions for Acting Expenses

Since acting is a business, you’re 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. 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, including the cost of an answering machine or service, a pager, or cellular phone

  • Union dues

  • Head shots (photographer’s fees and duplication costs)

  • Resume (printing and duplication costs)

  • Videotape and DVD rentals

  • Television set, VCR, DVD player, and the cost of cable subscription service

  • Makeup and clothing specifically used for acting (including dry cleaning expenses)

  • Cost of creating and duplicating a demo tape

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

  • 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 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

  • Read a positive-thinking book or listen to motivational tapes

  • 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