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  • Jo Kelly

When You're New to Acting, How Do You Get Started?

Hi guys,

I help actors reset their instrument so they can be 100% in the zone when they act, but when you’re new to acting, sometimes you just want to know where to begin. (You have to walk before you can run, right?).

In fact, when I polled my Instinctive Actors' Society about what topics they wanted to cover in our weekly free trainings, one of the most requested topics was, “How do I start if I’m new?”

So, let me share with you a story…

I started coaching an actor, let’s call him Boogie, and he was just starting out so he was very tense about everything. He felt overwhelmed by the size of the industry and the amount of things he had to do before he could do what he loved, which was to act.

If I remember Boogie’s exact words correctly, he called it “impossible”.

He believed he needed to get an agent before he could get work, but then he needed a reel to show an agent to get signed, but to make a reel, he needed some work to showcase… It felt like a perpetual Catch-22.

I often hear this same complaint from other actors, and I understand. It’s overwhelming when you look at all the directions you could go if you could only figure out how to begin. You have such a huge passion, but it feels like all the doors are closed to you.

Plus, Hollywood is certainly the stuff of legends, many of which talk about how exclusive it is and how difficult it is to break into the industry.

So I hosted a LIVE training session and Q&A to work out a solution to this roadblock together. The video is normally just for members of my private online community, The Instinctive Actors' Society, but today, I’m giving you access to it.

Here are a few highlights we covered:

  1. First, I want to say, I know there are a lot of myths around acting that it’s a unique and hard industry to work in, but there is no power to be found by indulging in that story. That story leaves you with little control and, therefore, makes you feel stuck and overwhelmed. Put that aside for a minute, so we can explore today.

  2. When you break it down, acting is just like any other business. Yup, it’s true… Just like someone producing a product to be sold, you have to make sure that product is complete and ready BEFORE you start distributing it to stores. If you don’t have your ducks in a row beforehand, your endeavor will fail.

So you, as an actor just starting out, your first step is to make sure your "product" - your instrument as an actor - is complete and ready. What does that mean? An instrument that is ready to act is ready to feel anything, to fully express itself without being blocked by fear or resistance. And it must be authentic and truthful to what is happening.

  1. Once your instrument is ready, you can invest in headshots. They don't have to be fancy or pretty, but they need to convey who YOU are - authentic and free. You're not going to TRY to look like authentic and free, you will BE authentic and free, so the camera will naturally capture that, creating a photo that impacts casting directors.

  2. It's the same principle for your reel as for headshots. You're not TRYING to impress anyone; you're going to be who you are with an instrument that's free and prepared. Look for non-paying jobs that will provide you with scenes to showcase and express the essence of who you are as an actor. Or write your own scenes solo or with other actors! 

  1. Finally, when you've got these authentic and specific tools created, you can begin to start reaching out to agents. By this point, you'll have a consolidated instrument across these mediums to help you find an agent that's the right match for you, because you can show them who you truly are. 

  1. Then comes the work. In the meantime, you continue to exercise your instrument and look for work on your own in smaller projects, like student or short films and web series, that will help you train while helping other new writers, directors, etc. hone their craft too. It's a win-win!

Now, enjoy the video training!

Instead of focusing on the story that the acting industry is complicated, difficult and maybe even elitist, make sure you are being responsible for YOU. Make sure that you as an actor are ready to take on anything that comes your way, and then begin to take those specific actions to get headshots, a reel, and agent, etc.

What other questions do you have about starting as an actor? Are fears and resistance coming up for you? Let me know in the comments below.

And join me every week for free LIVE training session and Q&As JUST LIKE THIS ONE. Simply click the link below to get access to the private online community and ask your specific questions to get some answers!

Now you'll never miss another session, and have access to all our previous training videos. PLUS, it's the #1 place to ask me acting questions and connect with other artists.

Until next time!



Whenever you’re ready, here are TWO ways I can help you:

1. Join my free Facebook Group, THE INSTINCTIVE ACTORS’ SOCIETY,

exclusively for actors who are ready to go from good to great and become undeniable.

2. Get on the waitlist for my course, The Reset Journey From Resistance to Freedom, and stop struggling to access your natural, authentic talent in the audition room or on set.You’ll learn how to reset your instrument to be 100% instinctive and free in just 33 days.


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