Road to Success: Appearance, Presentation, Technology, Social Media and Bookshelves: The Aspiring Actor’s Toolkit
As an aspiring actor you need to stand out from the crowd. Your acting chops can set you apart once you get your big chance, but it’s important to distinguish yourself before you even land an audition. There are tried and true methods that actors use to stand out that anyone can adopt to achieve success. Here is a toolkit every aspiring actor should assemble:
Before You Step Out
There are some tools that may not be part of your overall look once you hit public spaces but are indispensable in preparing for a stunning presentation. A full length mirror is your best friend as it shows you exactly what agents, casting directors, and the public will see. However, make sure the glass is high quality; you don't want a warped mirror that distorts your image.
Another tool you'll need is a hair kit. Before you even look in your mirror, you'll need a comprehensive hair kit for maintaining a stylish look. Men are given a lot of leeway when it comes to hair, but women should always keep hair bands (and lots of them), a headband, some extra-hold hairspray, and gel on hand for adjustability. If your hair is straight but curls are preferred for the part at hand, make sure to have a curling iron at home; a one inch iron can do the trick for on-the-go curl jobs.
Appearance and Presentation
An actor's wardrobe should be as versatile as their repertoire. Musts include button-up shirts and polos for men, and maxi dresses and leggy skirts for women. Rehearsal blacks and a white button-up are also essential for after you land an audition. For casual wear around town, add some panache with accessories. A pair of quality sunglasses, a unique jacket, or designer shoes alongside eye-catching jewelry make you stand out. However, what contributes to your visibility more than clothes or jewelry is the way you carry yourself. A smile paired with positive and confident speaking works wonders. Don't mince words about what and who you are. Own your identity as an artist and actor, and others will respond positively.
Technology and Social Media
A top of the line smartphone is an indispensable tool for reaching a broader audience. Using Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, you can build your brand, amass a following of online fans, and make connections that would be otherwise out of reach. While these social media platforms can be a total time suck, using them effectively is well worth it. Apps like Buffer, Hootsuite, and Sproutsocial allow you to easily navigate platforms, create a social media calendar, and track your top posts, interactions, and most loyal fans.
As with any artistic medium, there are many books written about the actor's craft. One you should probably have in your collection is Michael Shurtleff’s Audition, especially if you’re just starting out as an actor. While you may feel you’ve mastered the basics, the best actors never forget them, which is why Audition is a fundamental addition to any actor’s bookshelf. Another excellent read is Improvisation for the Theatre by Viola Spolin, which comes complete with a series of exercises that allow you to exercise your creative side.