There is a sad joke that all the waitresses in Los Angeles and the surrounding area are not waitresses, but actresses. Every day, different people come to the capital of cinema, who really want to go on the red carpet and in news feeds.
Few achieve success, and success is when you have been taken on at least some minor role, where you can be noticed by the next director with a bigger role.
It is also difficult for a professional actor from abroad to get to Hollywood. If you are a man, you can only be invited to the role of a Russian bandit, since for Americans you are exotic, no more. Women are even more difficult: even if they are taken in one or two films, this is rarely followed by stellar growth and success.
Only a few exceptions are widely known. For example, Konstantin Khabensky played a significant secondary role in the film “Especially Dangerous” with Angelina Jolie, and Svetlana Khodchenkova was invited to play the role of a poisonous villain in “Wolverine: Immortal”. At the same time, our star Natalya Andreichenko, after moving to the USA, did not take root in the local cinema world, like many other talented, sought-after actors.
The road to Hollywood is almost equally difficult for an American and a foreigner – you will find enormous competition, a purely business inhumane approach to business and constant stress. But in America it’s really possible to realize even the greatest ambitions, so everyone has a chance.
Visa for an actor in the USA
If you have an acting education, play in a theater or act in films in the CIS and have received an offer to play a role in the USA, you can apply for an O-1 visa, a special work visa for gifted people. To get it, you need to prove the presence of extraordinary abilities in art, that is, to show that you are known, in demand, written about you in the media, awarded for talent and the like.
US actor requirements
Nothing special, but they will ask you in full.
- Creativity. You must understand your character and find a suitable interpretation.
- Good memory. Often, scripts are added the day before the shooting, so it is important to quickly learn words and keep a lot of text in mind.
- Persistence. You will try on dozens of roles until you find yours, and everywhere you need to prove yourself well.
- Good physical condition. For modern Hollywood, this is very important. Imagine a Torah with flabby shoulders or a blue Mystic with a fat on its sides. In addition to attractiveness, your body should also differ in endurance: suddenly you have to shoot 40 times over the wall or spend the whole day in cold water, filming an episode in the lake.
- English language. Your pronunciation must be correct. This is not about the emphasis, which, incidentally, also needs to be squeezed out of ourselves, but primarily about the sound of words, intonation and stress.
How to start an acting career in the USA?
To get started, write a resume, and if there is nothing to write about, gain experience. In the summary, you need to add a list of productions where you played, a list of films where you starred, and a list of courses and trainings that you attended.
You need to create accounts in American online talent catalogs and on proven resources where castings are held, for example, Backstage or Casting Networks. Firstly, this gives you a chance to be found by an American director, and secondly, when you are asked to send a resume, it is advisable to insert links to these accounts in it. Both services are paid, you buy a monthly subscription. If you have an agent, you can use the agency code to get free access to Casting Networks.
If you are offered minor roles, for example, in advertising, you need to take them seriously and always ask yourself if it will be useful for you to take the next step forward. If you haven’t starred yet, take on small work and constantly aim for more: both in complexity and in fees.
In which cities to look for a job for an actor?
The first to come up are Los Angeles and New York. The first is Hollywood, and the second is the capital of the theater. You can also try your luck in Chicago (theater), Newmark Theater Portland, San Francisco (theater and cinema), Seattle (theater), South Florida (theater and sometimes films), Atlanta (television shows), Minneapolis and St. Paul (theater).
How much do actors pay?
In May 2019, the average acting salary was $ 18.80 per hour. This is $ 188 for a ten-hour day and $ 940 for a week, if with the weekend. Given that filming is not a permanent job, and actors with huge fees were included in calculating the average salary, you understand that most representatives of this profession earn quite a bit, and 10% of unhappy actors earn less than $ 10 per hour for their work, as dishwashers. And at the same time, the competition even for small roles is huge.
On this site you can compare the average actor’s salaries, and even choose courses that will increase your skills and value.
Acting education in the USA
Although specialty education is not required in order to get a job, most actors in the United States have a bachelor’s degree at a theater university or at least well-known courses. When a director chooses between two candidates (in fact, between dozens) with approximately the same characteristics, a graduate will be preferred.
In the USA, there is one of the largest centers of cinema, but the local acting education cannot be called outstanding, unlike the CIS, where they still study at the level of Stanislavsky, and there is nowhere to act in films. As in other professions, the approach to education is practical. Future actors shoot and star in student work a lot, trample the stage on the performances of classmates, in the classes they analyze specific cases without going into the theory of inspiration and empathy.
You can turn up your nose, but basic acting classes, dancing and singing classes will help you, at least, speak the same language with the crew and join the overall style of the acting world in the United States.