Want To Be an Hollywood Actor? A List To Get Started

Over the past year, this entry has become my most read blog on my site. I’m a bit humbled by this, as I am not a full-time actor. However, I did spend over six years in Hollywood getting to know the business, first from the standpoint of a person working with the studios and executives, then as an actor myself. I took lots of classes, had conversations with some of the most talented people in town, and developed programs to train students in film and television. My IMDB profile is here. Based on that experience and my observations, I recommend these steps if you’re just getting started as an actor in Hollywood. If you’re not new but feel a bit stuck or burnt out, here also are some suggestions for you to wake up the creative spirit and inspire you to new accomplishments in your career.

Please also note the LA Acting Resources listed on the left hand column of this blog, listed in alphabetical order under blog entry categories. If I listed a business or person there, it’s because they are highly respected in their field and have been recommended to me by numerous people familiar with their work.

Know your type. Go to Sam Christiansen Studio to know, or sign up for Actors Network and participate in the “Type Me” seminar a couple of times. Be able to describe your type in very specific terms (e.g., angry mom, over-protective mom, abusive mom).

Get professional head shots that reflect your type, and don’t pay less than $350. See Jeff Xander and Heuston Photo links on this blog. The current trend is towards one head shot for commercial and theatrical. Your eyes should “pop,” and no side or weird poses. Backgrounds with depth.

Write a professional acting resume following the correct style. Post it to the back of your head shot. Don’t send in window envelopes.

Subscribe to Actors Access, LA Casting , and Casting Frontier. For CD and project information, Casting Now or Actor Genie on IPhone, and IMDBPro. If you’re just getting started, start with LA Casting for student films, nonunion films, and commercials.

Do 3-6 months of background work to make some money, get comfortable with set work and the lingo, and build your network. Register at Central Casting, then use one calling service to assist you in booking jobs. Don’t try to book yourself or rely on Central alone. You won’t find a better background calling service to help you than Booked Talent.

Once you receive 3 SAG vouchers, or are made a principal with a line in a SAG show, you are eligible to join the AFTRA- SAG union. Here and here are how. Here is when you should join, and not before you are trained. You may join AFTRA for a fee of $1700.  You also may achieve SAG eligibility through SAG-approved webisode principal acting roles. (Please note that these rules may have shifted since the merger of SAG and AFTRA, and you should contact the union for the most up to date rules on eligibility).

Take commercial and theatrical classes from resume-building coaches (ones that agents and CDs respect). See this blog left hand column for links to those. If you are looking to develop your acting chops and audition technique, you won’t find better than Krater Studios. If you are looking to list name coaches for resume potential, Howard Fine Studios, Ivana Chubbuck and others listed in my blog links will serve you well.

Read books about the business and craft of acting. Be inspired by Making a Movie by Sidney Loumet. Learn about the business with Self-Management for Actors by Bonnie Gillespie, and The Tao of Show Business by Dallas Travers. Terrific books on the craft of acting include How to Stop Acting by Harold Guskin; Acting in Film by Michael Caine; and I’ll Be in My Trailer: The Creative Wars Between Directors & Actors by John Badham and Craig Modderno, to name a few. Look for Judith Searle’s book Getting the Part.  It’s out of print but you may be able to find a used copy on Amazon.  Also Michael Shurtleff’s book Audition.

Once you are SAG-Eligible and AFTRA with some IMDB credits, look for an agent and submit to casting directors. A mass splash won’t cut it. Target shows, agents and CDs based on your type. Here’s how from Bonnie Gillespie.

Work flexible thrival jobs, and don’t rely on background acting for income. You need more money to invest in your acting career than background can provide. Ben Whitehair writes a great blog on this here, and there is a worthwhile podcast at Inside Acting on thrival jobs.

Book some indie and student films using Actors Access, LA Casting, university websites and Craigslist.

Subscribe to the Hollywood Happy Hour Yahoo Group. It’s absolutely invaluable with free daily advice from Bonnie, David and Ben.

Look at blogs on general acting advice. One I often visit is Mark Westbrook’s The Acting Blog at http://acting-blog.com. Westbrook is an acting coach in Glasgow, Scotland. Scan his posts. Lots of useful and insightful information there on how to approach scenes.

Actor Ben Whitehair consistently provides new actors in Hollywood with outstanding advice on how to become a better actor and how to succeed here. In response to a female actor on a list serve that said she had done everything she could do to guarantee her success as an actor, Ben responded with this comprehensive list that has outstanding recommendations (along with a few of my own):

“Join The Actors’ Network (http://pvspb.com/?p=1394), go to every topical and speaker there

Read the trades every day

Send out postcards to targeted casting directors, writers, producers, etc.

Create your own work, write scripts, practice and memorize monologues

Get together with your actor friends to discuss what they’re doing

Start a mastermind group

Get on Twitter and follow industry people (follow my “follows” list @rtoddbouldin]

Network on Twitter and come to the LA Actors Tweetups (www.LAActorsTweetup.com)

Read some of the hundreds of tremendous blogs on acting that are out there [and see my links here on my blog]

Listen to Secrets of Screen Acting podcast [and I would add Inside Acting podcast]

Get together with other actors and practice your on-camera technique

Write your own blog about your career

Take classes/work with friends to get VERY specific about your type [Take a Sam Christiansen type class]

Research shows and movies that you are right for, find out everyone who works on those shows, then target marketing materials to them or better yet find a way to take some of them out for lunch and just pick their brain

Get a mentor, mentor others

Perform with the Young Storytellers Foundation

Go to Women in Film events

Subscribe to Alex’s Info

Go see plays, do plays

Watch 2 episodes of every TV show that is on the air (there are a LOT) and pay specific attention to what you might be right for

Write and get press releases published

Go to any of the bajillion networking events all over town

Maybe it’s time for a higher level manger or agent

Create your own work

Go to SAG Foundation events

Reach out appropriately and professionally to others in the industry you want to work with

Maybe it’s time to hire a publicist

Attend and perform at The Actor’s Lounge http://theactorsloungela.com/)

Create your own work

Work on building and keeping in touch with your fan base through Twitter, facebook, myspace, email newsletters, etc.

Make sure that you have a STELLAR 1 – 2 minute demo reel that is easily accessible [see Reel production company links on this blog]

Be sure that you’re marketing yourself at the level you want to be (if you have guest star credits, you probably don’t need to list music videos and print work)

Do (good) theatre

Read all the archives of Bonnie’s Actor’s Voice blog [link on this blog]

Help out friends on set

Do independent films

Student films

Anything that will get you more professional contacts

Date the head of studio (kidding! kind of…)

And did I mention creating your own work?

64 Responses to “Want To Be an Hollywood Actor? A List To Get Started”
  1. ELIJAH says:

    i want to be an hollywood actor,but i am in Nigeria

  2. ELIJAH says:

    can anyone help me to LA?

  3. harish kumar. m says:

    i want to be an hollywood actor,i am in india

  4. harish kumar. m says:

    help me thank u

  5. Younus says:

    Respected sir,
    i want to became a good actor ,pls help me. Give a one chance..this is my contact no:09751086720

  6. Younus says:

    Respected sir,
    i want to became a actor pls help me.i’m so interest in acting. help me.pls.give me a chance..
    Tis is my contact no:09751086720

  7. Younus says:

    I want to become a actor .pls help me
    Tis is my contact no:09751086720

  8. Kwame says:

    Y’all are asking for help like little babies. If you want to become successful in acting, help yourselves and stop asking for a chance. Chances are not given, you have to take them. Get out there on your own and get started, damn.

  9. Jinawa says:

    I want to be a hollywood actor but I am in Nigeria and have no computer. Please send me your monies.

  10. hi this is govind from india.

  11. SAM SIK MCARTHUR says:


  12. sad mimi says:

    plzzzzzzzzzz help me i want to be a actor and singer in disney land chanel i have the talent and this is my only wish plzz eney oe to help plzzzzzzzzzzzz i am deing every day

  13. deepak gandhi says:

    Dear sir,
    i m deepak gandhi from india. Want to become an hollywood star . I want that u will select me for as an actor. I hope that u would like me & my acting. Thanking u

  14. Lynx007007 says:


  15. hi, i’m Emmanuel, a Nigerian based in south Africa, i have passion for movie industry, i have been acting from high school, and i will appreciate, if u can give me a trial.

  16. Jessica Robinson says:

    I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to write this post. It is full of a lot of valuable information and I’m excited to look into your suggestions. I also really appreciate the links you’ve added. Consider me a new Todd Bouldin follower.


    AM SURE I CAN MAKE A GOOD ACTOR…….PLEASE I NEED A SPONSOR TO HELP ME REACH MY DREAM.This is my contact: israel198825@hotmail.com, phone: +2348136412387

  18. dan says:

    I would absolutely love to be a Hollywood but there is one problem……. i live in the uk

  19. dan says:

    I am Dan and i want to be a Hollywood actor i have lots of talent in the acting industry. Just recently i have been chosen to play the main part in the play Sweeney Todd. If i didnt have talent would i have this opportunity? Todd Bouldin i need your help to make it to hollywood

  20. gaurav says:

    sir, I am gaurav sharma from INDIA. i want to become an actor and script writer in Hollywood. please hlep if u respect a good talent and new talent

  21. shivam says:

    I want to be an actor in hollywood!!can you please tell me ,how to enter!! I am from india!!

  22. Abdul Khan says:

    I want to be an Hollywood actor pls help me this my contact .07460925157

  23. noah abzah says:

    I want to be an Hollywood actor please please can some one help me my phone number is +9720528321712 from isreal 23 years old i want to make my dream come true

  24. respected sir
    my name is jeffrey jackson
    am in India
    my family is very very poor family sir and am having soo many talents sir so pls help me my mobile number 8870788244

  25. Samuel kwaku says:

    Hi, please i want to be an hollywood acter.am from ghana and my contact number is +233245561270.thank u.

  26. Abel kaunga says:

    I wnat to be a hollywood actor plz help me by making a member if posible…I HOPE ITS POSIBLE

  27. Justin Charles LaPorte says:

    I, myself live in the town of Nice Garden Prairie and want to be a Famous actor. Why would yourself say that I have one line, Why so Serious. Heath Leger. I might be nice yet ask “Mr. ElChopo”. Thanks and have a good evening Merry Chistmas and Happy New year. Myself would like an opprotunity to be an actor in HOLLYWOOD.

  28. Dilber says:

    i want to be actor and iam sure i can do it. Iam from Azerbaijan and its my dream
    if you guys can help me my this dream will get true
    Tel: +994554160003

  29. shahrukh bhatt says:

    I want to a be an hollywood actor,i am in india.
    My contact No. Is +919018106778

  30. jaison says:

    I Dont know why people are begging like kids here!!! I say all you are fools and no one is a actor. An actor will act and does not beg in these blogs!! Have some Talent ?Then show it ..Dnt beg for it

    • stephanie says:

      U need to get down from your high horse there are some cases where u just have to beg if u really need it and u know u won’t be complete without it in those cases u have to beg. It may suck but just just have to let go of ur pride

  31. Hi,

    My name is Michael Copeland. I am deaf, I am live in NY. I really interested join actor in LA. How am I get in there?? Please email me anytime, thanks! 🙂

  32. Diwas Niraula says:

    Ah hi . I.. wan’t to be an hollywood actor although i belong to Nepal but since my childhood i want to be an actor and it would be awesome if i got a chance to play as an actor in hollywood Film
    I also have a good looks if it is necessary than i can send u my photo.
    My qualification is 1year in btech As mechanical engi..

  33. adewale says:

    Dr sir
    I was happy seeing ds nd I hope u could help me out,in my secondary school days, I was d best actor nd I tried 2 get 2 many actors in nigeria but my money was all day collected,am from nigeria am tired of being dupe and just @ home nt doing anything,I knw u can assist me I beg of u,I knw u av d decision 2 make ur self I ll b xo grateful if u give me ur full support,urs sincerely

  34. bee_arley says:

    to be sincere i want to be a very successful actor of hollywood, it’d my dream and i want it to come through please, i’m in Nigeria i dont know how to , my contact +2348035296523, my fb account: bee arley umar, my IG account @bee_arley, twitter @bee_arley
    please my email: arleeyouumar@gmail.com

  35. bee_arley says:

    just like chiwetel orjiofor who hailed from Nigeria

  36. Trevorn says:

    Greetings my name is Trevorn Browne I want to be a famous actor in Hollywood.

  37. ojay says:

    I am Ojay from Papua New Guinea and I love to becoming a hollywood famous actor is there any way that I can become a actor..pls I realy want it.

  38. Trevorn Browne says:

    I dream to become an actor all my life.

  39. hello i wish i become an actor in hollywood i have talent so plz this is my number +2120617937216

  40. rajkamal says:

    have any problem anyone send sms i tell u the way.

  41. rajkamal says:

    anybody have any trouble tell me.

  42. lugano tumbo says:

    hey i love to be a real actor in hoolywood my name is lugano number 0716047365

  43. Bishnu hari says:

    I am bishnu hari adhikari from nepal . I think one day i will be a hero not only in movie but also in real life . We think we are moving towards development throug new inventions but in reality it is the way towards the destruction because newtons third law states that every action have equal and opposite reaction. But everyone are selfish they donot think even for a second about humanity . Who do whatever i dont care but my every second will be spend to find a way to protect humanity in this world . Whatever comes in my way i wont stop . I am ready if i have to conquer this whole universe

  44. Vikram Kumar says:

    Hi sir/mam,
    I am from India, and I like to learn to direct movies and want to do intern with best director of hollywood.

  45. pru says:

    Hi I’ll really like to be an Hollywood actress or even a small TV presenter I’ve been at home for two years I finished high school two years ago all my mates are in school some are working right now I have no stand please help me

  46. Roberto says:

    hey my name is roberto im a singer, im from Puerto Rico but right now i live in pennsylvania i would like to know how to sing in or send pictures to see if i can become a hollywood actor. i have like 6 music video on youtube please email me back with some answers Gracias..

  47. konaboina Premalatha says:

    I want to proof…what I am

  48. fatmaabdikadir says:

    Hi everyone who working hollywood my name is fatma and i like to acting films but i’m so far from you i’m in ethiopia and my dream is to be actor so please give me a chance to make a move and this is my phone number +251929398458 thanka

  49. Paige Summers says:

    I can be the best actor in the world.

  50. Saad khalid says:

    Saad Khalid and I am former member M.P from bhopal and wants to do a work in fast and furious 8 in the replace from one person who is died for this film.and I wants to join this movie.and I am a best rider of cars I have make a stunt for so many cars.soo this is my contact so call me 7049522173

  51. vikram rajpurohit says:

    please help me i am poorperson can you help me my home condition is very bad help me
    country india
    mobles whatsap no 919001241615

  52. I am a young boy from Africa specifically Ghana and I want to be a Hollywood actor please help

  53. Hey guys, I want to be an actor and please help me out and am 15 years old and my role model is Vin Diesel and Abraham Attah and I really wanna become a Hollywood star oneday by the grace of God, hope to hear your manifesting words soon Cuz I believe that and will soon hear your reply

  54. John Barret says:

    Hi My Name Is John Barret But People Call Me JB I Really Want To Start My Acting Business Am 16 Years Old And I Live In Sierra Leone Even Though Am Far Away From You Guys That Had Nothing To Do With It Saying He Is Far Away He Can not Make It But I Really Like Acting And I Admire My Best Actor Jaden Smith And I Hope To Be Like Him One Day Thanks Guys Looking Forward To Your Conclusion, You Can Call Me With This Number 076914382.

  55. William Gerald Shitindi says:

    My name is william shitindi and my other name is bwigane and am from tanzania, please i need to be come an actor in hollywood if you give me a chance i will do my best. My language is swahili and i speak english but my english is not that good i will be happy if u give me a chance

  56. stephanie says:

    Hi. I want to become an actress in Hollywood but am in Nigeria, acting is my dream whenever I watch a movie I imagine myself there doing better sometimes I just act without even knowing. Please if u are reading this I promise that it u help me I won’t let u down just give me a chance. My number +2349060962503

  57. francis frm Uganda says:

    I feel the passion of acting is the blood in ma veins. Hollywood is ma dream.

  58. samke says:

    i want to act in hollywood.but iam from south africa.

  59. BOB MARK says:

    Hello every one my is name Bob mark a producer in the Nollywood industry, if you have a talent of becoming an actor or an actress and you have not see the opportunity of becoming one of them, this is the chance for you to get that dream you have been dreaming for, kindly contact us now so that we can assist you out for you to achieve your dream in been one of the actor or an actress in the movie industry, contact us now on this number +2349033497969 or you Email us on (bobmarknollywood@gmail.com)don’t miss this opportunity have a nice day and god bless you all

  60. I really want to be an actor,am linda from kenya,acting has been my dream

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