Begin an Acting Career: 10 Ways to waste money at the beginning of your acting career

Begin an acting career the right way.
Don’t waste your money!

1. Getting headshots before you’re ready: This is one of the biggest mistakes new actors make. It’s crazy. They waste so much money getting headshots that look terrible, with bad and lifeless expressions or with simple smiles or that are bad quality pictures or that look like simple vacation pictures. To get a good headshot, you need to know WHAT makes a good headshot and also HOW to make that happen. Two important things can help you with that. a) what you learn in your acting classes and b) a good headshot photographer who doesn’t just worry about the quality of the picture, but who knows how to get a quality HEADSHOT. Those are two different things! At any rate, if you get them before you’re ready, my experience tells me that there’s a good chance that it will be money wasted! It’s bad practice to send bad headshots to agents and casting directors. In that way, you burn yourself before you even get started!

2. Spending money to get headshots with a cheap, amateur or unprofessional headshot photographer or a friend, who doesn’t know to get you a good-quality shot: Your headshot is one of your most important marketing materials. If you get a friend to take your picture in the living room or at the beach, or even against a wall, that means you don’t understand what you’re doing. If you want to throw money away, then do that.

Begin an acting career the right way.

3. Doing mailings in an inefficient way: If you want to contact agents and casting directors, then understand first of all, what it is they look for and how you can contact them, how they like to be contacted and THEN think about how the mailing process fits into that. You must understand the 16-step mailing process and what the average response rates are. Stuffing a picture, with a short letter and a resume in an envelope, sending it out to an agent and then repeating the process two more times with two more agents and then sitting back and waiting for the phone to ring, is NOT an effective mailing process and will get you ZERO results.

4. Flying or driving to auditions when you’re not yet ready to audition: Many people ask me if it makes sense to try and get an agent in a different city from the one you live in. It only makes sense if you have significant acting experience, know how to audition, are ready and able to move to that city if you actually book a long-term job AND if you really have an over-abundance of extra money lying around that will enable you to travel to those auditions regularly and pay for hotel and meals if necessary. Otherwise, I say stay in the city where you are, get experience, build your resume and then move to the city where you want to get an agent and work as an actor.

Begin an acting career the right way.

5. Taking sporadic single acting classes or workshops for acting when you really need an on-going class: Sometimes people will ask me, “How many acting classes do I have to take before I’m ready to start looking for work?” There is no answer to that question. First of all, I don’t know you, don’t know your capabilities as an actor. But I do know that it takes a long, long, long time to perfect acting skills and that you never, ever stop learning. So, a spot class is ok, if you want to see if acting might be something you might like, but if you really want to become good at it and have a real chance at beating out your competition, then you need to get into some good acting technique, scene study or text analysis classes and/or commercial acting classes for example and stay there for the long haul.

6. Paying money to schools and organizations who tell you they can make you a star and get you up in front of casting directors and agents when you have no experience: Here’s another common question I get. “Some organization or company offered to put me up in front of some of the best agents and casting directors in Hollywood. They told me that I have a good look and could be a shoe-in to get booked with an agent. The only thing is that they said it costs $1,500. For that they say I get classes as well along with the chance to audition for the agents”. No! There MIGHT be some legitimate players out there offering this kind of thing, but most of them that I have researched will put you up in front of those agents and casting directors and they don’t care whether you have experience or not. Even if we’re talking about kids, which sometimes it’s not so important the experience, but rather the look and the communication skills and personality, it’s still a BIG, BIG risk to spend all that money, alluding yourself into thinking that you’ll get that big break or get discovered, when in reality, it actually has a very low chance of happening. The money is better spent planting the seeds, studying, building your resume, getting experience and presenting yourself to those agents and casting directors in the appropriate and much more effective way.

Begin an acting career the right way.

7. Not looking at acting as a business: Most people want things quickly. People want to become actors quickly without a whole lot of work attached. Unfortunately, unless your name is Aston Kutcher, Tom Cruise or a few select others, it’s not going to happen. Stories like that are few and far between. Or like Gary Spatz, Disney acting coach once told me, “It’s really not worth talking about”. Acting is a business and it has many different facets. If you don’t look at it as a business, then you risk wasting a lot of time, effort, energy, mind-space and yes, money doing things that don’t make sense or that have little chance of getting you where you want to be. And the worst thing is the most people, while working on their acting career, have no clue that the things they are doing make no sense and will get them nowhere. Learn the business!

8. Taking into consideration that time is money, wasting time doing things to get a quick fix or a quick result (audition, meeting with an agent, etc.) when you could be spending that time doing other things that will really help you plant the seeds for the success: I hear it over and over again. People contact me all the time asking if I can help them get an agent. When I ask how much experience they have, 99 times out of 100 the answer is none or very little. Many of these people believe that getting an agent is the thing that will put an end to all their worries, the thing that will help their acting careers take off. Wrong! You have to learn the business of acting. You have to know how to work together with your agent to get acting auditions and work. You have to know how to make yourself appreciated by agents. You have to know how to audition, because acting and auditioning are two different things. You have to know what agents want. You have to know how to market yourself. You have to know what to do if your agent isn’t getting you many auditions. You have SO MANY THINGS TO LEARN. Do that, be patient, do it because you love it, do what’s necessary step-by-step AND enjoy the journey.

Begin an acting career the right way.

9. Trying to save money on the wrong things: If you think that you can get something worthwhile in this world for nothing, then please tell me so that I can get it too. People have accused me of being a scam artist, because I charge $37/month for The Acting Career Quick Start Home-Study Course. What they are really communicating to me is immaturity and a lack of understanding of how the world works. Why should I give away a great course that it took me a year to build and that has step-by-step instruction with videos (a total of more than 40 hours), mp3 files of all the weekly videos, downloadable materials, 4 bonus products, 5 more surprise bonuses, coaching calls monthly that are personalized, email support and a headshot and marketing evaluation in which I give you my advice on how you can best market yourself? If you look at the presentation page and videos and read what’s in the program, do just a little research on, the platform on which the course is hosted, have a look at , and the Acting Career Start Up Facebook page (all three created and maintained by Anthony Smith, who clearly demonstrates his true and honest desire to help anyone who wants to start an acting career quickly) AND if you have any ability at all to perceive the communication intention of others, then you can see that this program is perfectly legitimate.

I give this example to say that, wanting to save money and spend your money wisely is a good thing and you should by all means do that, BUT save where it makes sense. If you really want to start an acting career for example, you might or might not want to invest in The Acting Career Quick Start Home-Study Course (which, by the way is an investment over 6 months of $1.23 per day!). Whether you do or you don’t MAKE SURE YOU GET ALL THAT SAME INFORMATION SOMEWHERE! …AND ALL IN ONE PLACE LIKE I GIVE IT TO YOU AND WITH THE SAME MENTORING SUPPORT.

10. In general, having an unrealistic view of what it takes to start an acting career will have you waste a whole lot of money doing the wrong things at the wrong time and in the wrong way. Don’t do that to yourself.

If you need help getting your acting career started, I’m here

Whatever you decide, just make sure you get the information you need, all in one place so that you can finally start having the kind of acting career you really want.

3 thoughts on “Begin an Acting Career: 10 Ways to waste money at the beginning of your acting career

  1. Pingback: 7 Things to do before you go to New York or LA to start your acting career | Your Acting Career Mentor

  2. I agree that we need experience, that is why I must ask you a question so that I may be better informed. Where can I get more experience where I live? I’m fifteen years old and I live in porterville, California. What is your advice? Thank you for your time.

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