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How to Start an Acting Career if you Live in a Small Town: 17 Things you can do Today

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by Anthony Smith
One question I'm often asked is about how to start an acting career. My own personal experience coupled with what I got out of a recent conversation with best selling author Brian O'Neil (Acting As A Business: Strategies For Success), allowed me to produce this list of things you can do to facilitate your acting career start. Some of the questions I entertain come from young people who are frustrated by the fact that they live in a small town and can't seem to find any opportunities to act in their area. Whether that is your case or not, if you are looking to start an acting career you should find the following list helpful.

1. Look up casting offices in your area.

2. Look up talent agencies in your area.

3. Check your Regional Theatre Directory for their policy on auditioning and for information about local and upcoming projects.

4. Universities with film departments: Film students are required to produce a certain number of film projects each year and for those projects they are always looking for actors!

5. Find advertising agencies that have clients who shoot on-camera commercials and commercial print ads.

6. See if there is a SAG, AFTRA or Equity office in your area and see if they have a list of reputable talent agents in the area.

7. Through your local courthouse or cultural affairs office, look up your regional theatre directory.

8. Check the arts and culture section of your local newspaper for theatres, shows, plays and events in your area. Take note of the venues where they take place and contact them for the information you desire.

9. Contact local photographers to see if they have contacts for ad agencies, other actors, casting directors, agencies. Agencies and Casting directors often refer actors to certain headshot photographers.

10. Look up you state's film commission. Usually state film commissions have a list of upcoming film projects to be shot in that state.

11. See if there are any special editions of magazines and/or newspapers that have to do with theatre, film or acting in your area.

12. Pick up a copy of the Hollywood Reporter. Sometimes you will find a list of film projects that will be shot in different areas of the country.

13. Try to find a list of Equity and Non-Equity theatres in your area. Go there and they should be able to give you a wealth of information about where you can go to get started, teachers, schools, etc.

14. Look up acting schools, acting teachers and acting coaches in your area.

15. Look up casting offices that cast for extras, even if they are in a big city like New York or L.A. and sign up with them. Make sure they have your headshot and résumé and cover letter. But tell them where you are and where you live. If you are not in the big cities where lots of film and extra work is being shot, you'll want to tell them to call you when there is work to be had in an area you can easily get to.

16. Remember that when building your résumé, the more theatre work you have on your résumé from reputable theatres, the more attention you will get from casting directors and agents.

17. Lastly, you could also go and take classes with casting directors or agents if you can find them. That is a great opportunity not only to meet casting directors and agents, but also to spend time them.

Good luck!

Anthony Smith left a successful corporate career as a senior manager in Nike and Levi's after 15 years to follow his dream of becoming an entrepreneur, writer, motivational speaker and actor. While enjoying success in his "new" life, Anthony shares his business insight and acting experience with young actors. Aside from acting work, he has created www.actingcareerstartup.com and his first book, Acting Career Start-Up: Four Key Factors For Success, is available now.

Copyright © Anthony Smith. Used with permission of the author. All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or distributed.

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Reader Comments
I'm very interested in becoming an actress. I'm just now 15 and don't want to become an actress until I'm in my early 20's or so. I know it is very hard, and I'm willing to drop everything i have going to become an actress. I see all of the young actresses today and I'm so inspired by them! I haven't taken any acting classes or been in any plays, but i just know i have what it takes. I've been told by many people that i have an incredible "natural talent" and im sure lessons I would be even better. I think i might even have a singing voice with lessons and classes. Please, if you have any advice or information, email me! Thank you so much! You have no idea how much you've helped!!
Posted by Kaylee Green (2008-12-05) 646
im really interested in becoming an actress.but i live in such a small town and i dont think theres chances for me.i wannna become an actress because, i want to show other people that you can do anything in life!dont let anybody back you up.my friends,my family,and teacher think i hav the guts to become an actress but,i dont know.1 day i will become an actress and give money to poor people and save all those children who dont have a home to leave in! i promase.
Posted by Paula ulysse (2009-07-01) 1700
HELLO my name is jessica pulliam.MY mother ,and I don't know where to start.CAN you please help ,my mother ,and I RALLY NEED YOUR HELP.PLEASE help me out. I REALLY WANT TO BE A ACTRESSES. .
Posted by jessica pulliam (2009-10-08) 2135
I'm dickson nelson i rily love watchin movies and vedios,and the way i relate at home wit my friends n luvd 1's, i'm advice 2 go into acting, i truly luv actin wit a passion, pls som1 shud advise me
Posted by Dickson Nelson (2009-10-25) 2158
I my name is Kamryn i live in a small town in Oklahoma but I have always wanted to become an actress, i realy want to become a actress becuse i love acting. So can you help me!!!!!
Posted by Kamryn Nicole Duncan (2009-11-29) 2212
Hey, my name's Cesar Lecuona. A thirteen year old rapper in the making. I have been rapping for years, i've wrote a few songs and I am looking for any chance I can to make it big time. Not only am I a rapper, but I am a bit of an artist, I am a great actor and to top that off I love making people laugh. For years upon years I have been told that I have an amazingly large sense of humor. Everybody I have ever known have always said, "Haha! Cesar you are hilarious!" I am known around my school as a little George Lopez. I idolize him, I want to grow up and one day perform in front of a very large audience and get laughs. I love seeing people always laugh or at least smile when they hear me just plain talk. I am a very fast talker, I love watching wrestling (WWE). I really, really want to be known threwout a lot of the world. I am 5,6, brown latino male. I weigh about 122 pounds. I will do anything I have to do to be on t.v. I have always dreamed of having people watch me on their t.v's and say, "Hey, I know him." So if there is anybody out there at all. Please help me into making my dream come true. I want to be either a rapper or an actor/comedian. Please help.
Posted by Cesar Lecuona (2010-02-27) 2401
Hi mt name is curtis redmond and i have wanted to act sens i was five and im look for a chance. so if you see this please help me.
Posted by Curtis Redmond (2010-03-08) 2415
My Name is caitlin, I live in a small town. Im 14 and its my dream to become an actress. I have been in local plays and studied acting in school. Im prepared to drop everything and become an actress. I want to become an actress, younger rather then older, so anyhelp?
Posted by Caitlin (2010-05-24) 2555
My name is Sarah Berkner. I've always wanted to have an acting carreer. i would do anything just to become an actress. i've been in many many plays and gotten very good rolls, people have commented on how i can act adn that i should do something with that gift.. alot of people are like me and have that same passion and i wish them the best of luck! i live in a very very small town in MN, i can sing and act. i've written many songs and i just love acting, this has been my dream since i was 4! but watever happens to me in the future happens, but i will do anything for this dream of mine to come true, acting is my passion. if you can help me with my dream please do! good luck to all you have the same passion in acting or singing, i wish only the best for you!
Posted by Sarah Berkner (2010-09-05) 2699
I've always wanted to be an actress/ singer but i live in a small town in ohio and my mom says a lot of child stars get in trouble but i want it soo bad!
Posted by Jasmine (2010-10-13) 2748
hello!my name is scarlet im15 and i live in a small town but i realy like to an actress i dont know what i have to do im so sad and iv become deprest becaus i dont know what i do if you see this message help me please I realy need your help
Posted by scarlet (2010-10-14) 2749
I did find this article informative, but I just can't use it personally. I've tried many of these things, but by "I live in a small town" I mean "I live in a small town." There are literally no opportunities anywhere around. I understand my best chance is to make an investment in traveling somewhere to audition, but my family simply cannot afford this. We are scraping by, but my dream thrives. I need some help, if there is any. My real dream is to become an actor for Disney (R), but small towns (Population ~500) in the middle of nowhere (Missouri) don't provide much assisstance. Hopefully you can.
Posted by joeman613 (2011-02-22) 2894
Hi, friend my name is Rohit Mishra and my pen name is 'SASHA' and i m doing theatre at this time but i want to be an actor of t.v. serials or film please help me and i awarded many times.
Posted by Rohit mishra (2011-03-10) 2920
hi, my name is alfred im 17 years old and i really wanted to be an actor but, the problem is that i lived in a small country, town with my uncle and aunt and i hardly get money i dont know what to do if you see this message can you please help me.

Posted by Alferd Mocevakaca (2011-09-21) 4795
I want to say that in a way this really didnt help, but i will give it a try. I stay in mississippi and it hard to find castings and stuff down here. So please give me some tips and im 16 years old. i really want to become an actress. so hoperfully a casting call will be down here soon cause i really want to start at a young age and i really want this.
Posted by Amelia (2011-09-25) 4803
i am an actor obedience in acting nice on stage;i can act very well;also singing,but the problem is i dint no any body to put me through i have the money but the way its the if u r interested to take me along by showing me the way i will be very happy,pals show me way out thanks
Posted by sylvester (2011-10-17) 4914
what if you have something wrong with you eyes??? like there crossed? would that lessen your chance to become an actor? please please please reply
Posted by sapphire (2012-02-16) 5527
Hi my name is koketso toute i want to an actress n i live ina small area,,,,i am talented girl who have a passion nm not shy so my problemisi dont know where to start.i know i can do this so please help me out
Posted by koketso toute (2012-05-12) 5885
Hi my name is Nina, i really love to act and think i have a great talent for acting but problem is i live in Africa and most auditions demand zip codes which i don't have and require you to be in the area of the auditions. I believe i can do this and i don't want anything to stop me from my dream, please help me
Posted by Nina Bel-Nono (2012-05-24) 5894
Hi, I love Glee and The Big Bang Theory, sometimes I woder if I was born in America I would be more mature, but the truth is everybody on this network doesn't need the advice they just need confidence and if you are so wanting to be a star, you will be and never give up on your dreams because I still believe that one day people will reach their goals and will see that they are the true light inside that shines very bright everyday and in every way. If you get bullied or insult or mocked be children at your school or people near you, don't stop believing in yourself, and be yourself when you get an big oppurtunity but don't give it up, because some day later you will regret having one chance of having your dream out there and will end up being some guy working at an supermarket (even thinking your life is over, but it isn't). That's why I say reach your goals now because we'll never know what might happen (say if the world is going to end or it might be the last day to live). To all big dreamers out there, always dream, but you don't have to dream big just because some girl puts you down for your talent, fight for the person your going to be.
Posted by Tristan Jacobs (2012-06-28) 5934
I am 17yrs old and I'm interested I'm acting. The problem is I'm living in a small town and it not easy to get information on how to get started with acting. I just need to be discovered because i know i have a great deal for acting. I wish that somehow i can get as much information on how to get started with my acting career as possible. By the way I'm in grade 12 this year. By next year I'm willing to begin my acting career and fulfill my dream.
Posted by Khethiwe zulu a.k.a kerty (2012-07-09) 6051
I have a question about knowing your type, and submitting your pictures to agents. Is it frowned on if you tell an agent you want to play more than one type? I see myself as the leading man type. I have dark hair brown eyes, but if I want to submit myself for villain roles should I send a picture of myself with a mustache or goatee or beard, or do agents like you to stick to one type.
Posted by Corey (2013-06-30) 6518
I live in a town that no one really knows exists. I'm 14. I have wanted to become an actress for some time now, I have looked up information. Everyone says to find an agency and get into school plays; but my schools drama teacher isn't doing drama class anymore. Now we have no drama class, and i have no idea in how to find an agency, agent, or even lessons. I can sing and dance pretty well. i just need help to get "discovered" if you have any ideas i am so open to any suggestions.
Posted by Reece (2014-03-28) 6699
Hi my name is Alonso, im spannish but moved to south africa at 6, i have a wonderful english accent, not american nor brittish,i love acting and it is my dream, i am 14, fit, 5 ft10, and good looking, the problem is that i dont know how to start my acting carreer in hollywood, i live in vaalwater, limpopo, south africa, it is not cheap to fly to L.a just for auditions, so i whant to be very good and study my acting well and be prepared so that when i go in the future i asure a role, i am a home shooled student doing cambrige from the international british distance college, if any one can help me on where to start please contact my email
Posted by Alonso Marzal Jimenez (2014-04-21) 6712
Hi , I am yashoda Chhetri, I am 17 years old and I am from Nepal. I want to be an bollywood actress because acting an dancing is my passion as well as I am interested in singing also. I am multi-talented girl. My hight is 5 foot 2.5 inch, my weight is 44 kg.i trust in myself and believe in myself and I can rock the world outside....I request you to help me....
Posted by yashoda Chhetri (2014-05-09) 6778
I would like to become an actress. But I don't know how,I live in a small unresourcefull town and I need help in realising my dreams.
Posted by nompumelelo mahaye (2014-07-27) 6922
i am young woman who is passionate about acting am in rural area and our town is not that popular in kind of this stuff i don"t know what to do please help am in South Africa.U need to travel in order for you to get this things e.g JHB and CPT ,you will find out you don"t have relative there so its hard really.
Posted by yolanda (2017-03-05) 11235
Hi I would really like to become an actor
Posted by Bowie (2017-07-10) 12829
I want to be a movie star
Posted by Tashalee (2017-09-20) 12842
I want to get into acting in middle school
Posted by Boden (2018-01-17) 12890
i really want to do it just because of the of it
Posted by cyril (2018-02-26) 12903

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