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How to Get Into the Acting & Modeling Field

by Johnny Kilhefner , studioD

Many people view acting and modeling as glamorous. The truth is that actors and models work hard to get where they are and to stay relevant in the field. Actors interpret a writer's script under the guidance of a director to express characters in theater, film, television and other performing arts. Models pose for photographers and artists to advertise fashion and products in television, print and online commercials. Models may also cross over into the acting field and vice versa.


Get a formal education from an acting conservatory or university drama and theater arts program. Take college classes in drama or filmmaking, as well as dance or music, as many roles require singing and dancing. Learn another language or study accents, because you may play a role requiring the use of a foreign accent.

Train in workshops even after receiving a formal education. Learn from your life experience and apply it to your roles.

Participate in high school, college and local community plays and films. This helps fill out your resume when you seek auditions.

Talk with people who have experience acting. Make friends in the field and trade notes on your experiences. You can find acting groups in your local area or online.

Get your head shot taken by a professional photographer. Decide whether to use a commercial or theatrical head shot. Commercial shots are better for finding work in television and commercials, while theatrical ones are best for movies and theater roles. Take both kinds of head shots if you wish to audition for a wide range of roles.

Create a resume less than a page long. Include all relevant experience, from your formal education to mentorships with acting coaches and involvement with acting groups. List all of your work experience as an actor and include your contact information. Print the resume on the back of your head shot.

Audition for roles related to your education, training and experience. Read the material before the audition and memorize it. Wear clothes that the character you hope to play would wear. Be professional and courteous to the auditors, even if you don't land the part.


Attend a modeling school offering training in acting, modeling and personal development, such as Barbizon Modeling and Acting Centers. Learn makeup application, hair and skin care, nutrition and exercise, speech and voice projection, runway modeling techniques, fashion show methods and mastery of self-confidence and poise.

Maintain a portfolio of recent high-quality photographs. Use a variety of photos to create a book that represents all aspects of your personality. Include head shots, body shots, profile photos and pictures of your smile. Email photos to modeling agencies hosting open calls for auditions.

Enroll in a modeling contest sponsored by an agency. Find an agency with a reputation for high quality, as the agency you model for represents your skills and is vital to advancement in the field. Research the agency to find out how long it's been in business, what other models think of it and who else the agency represents.

About the Author

Johnny Kilhefner is a writer with a focus on technology, design and marketing. Writing for more than five years, he has contributed to Writer's Weekly, PopMatters, Bridged Design and APMP, among many other outlets.

Photo Credits

  • Leonard Mc Lane/Digital Vision/Getty Images