Getting that first job is a challenge in every profession and even more so in the acting world where competition is fierce and talent has to be supported by a professional approach if you are to stand a chance of making a career in any branch of the profession and arguably most of all if you are interested in musical theatre. Here, therefore, are 7 key tips for securing that first job in musical theatre.
1. Choose Your Musical Theatre Training Location with Care
It may seem like a long way from your training to your first job, but a journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step. As a minimum you want to train at a location which has at least some degree of industry recognition. Ideally your training centre should be able to help you with practicalities such as getting an Equity card and an agent and making industry contacts.
2. Back Up Your Core Training with Extra Training if/when Needed
Musical theatre is a hugely demanding disciple because performers need to be strong all-rounders. It’s perfectly normal to have strengths and weaker areas and you may need to budget time, energy and money to have extra tuition in particular areas.
3. Watch Lots of Musical Theatre Productions
Actively watch performances and see what you can learn from them.
4. Understand Your Casting Bracket and Get your First Musical Theatre Job
In very brutal terms, you may be able to play a part but unless a director thinks you look the part, you’re unlikely to get it, at least not starting out. If you are fortunate enough to be able to build a career then you may be able to branch out into parts for which you are not necessarily an obvious choice from a physical perspective, but to begin with you’ll probably have more success if you accept that your appearance is going to be a factor in casting decisions and focus on getting roles where you look the part rather than trying to convince directors to go against type.
5. Make Sure You Have Decent Photographs
It’s pretty much impossible to overstate the importance of photographs. That being so make a point of getting decent ones. This means more than just using a proper camera instead of your phone, it means ideally getting a professional to take them. If you really can’t afford that, try finding a photography student who may be looking to build their own portfolio.
6. Learn Some Income-Producing Skills to Fund Yourself
Now this may seem like an odd tip but stay with us. Having to work extra jobs in between or as well as acting jobs is nothing new. What is relatively new is the opportunities offered by the internet. In other words, if you have, or can learn, skills which can be used over the net, then you can generate an alternative income in a way which can fit, flexibly, around your acting commitments. This can hugely increase your options, for example it may make it economically feasible for you to move to another location, even on a short-term basis, or go on tour or put on your own show.
7. Treat All Auditions Seriously