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How to Find Jobs as an Actor

January 19, 2021

How to Find Jobs as an Actor

In the world of entertainment there are two ways actors get jobs. They either know someone or attend an audition. Each of these avenues are highly sought after. The reality is that acting jobs are hard to find. I have always been told that is hyperbolically, there is one job per 500 actors. When you find that job, it can be very hard to get it because there is so much competition. All is not lost. There are ways to be a working actor that does not require winning an audition. It would be nice to score acting gigs, but that is just not the reality for most of us.


The first venue for finding jobs as an actor, that we are going to talk about, is the audition. For the sake of clarity, an audition is where a performer walks into a room and performs for casting people. From there, the casting people will make decisions as to who they think will best fit the role. There are often more than one round of auditions. The farther you get in this process, the more central to the project the people become.

You may start with a casting director in round one, and in round three get the director and producers. All of these rounds are to make sure that you are the right fit for what everyone needs in the role.

Finding Auditions is Pretty Easy

All you have to do is know where to look. If you are in a place where work is going on, then there will be casting call notices. Live theaters will have news letters that will have audition notices for their theaters. You can also look in coffee shops or anywhere that actors are likely to be. That is the hard way. The easy way is to get on is the hub for all that performing artists need. You can find casting calls for theater and film, information on further training, audition resources, and a bevy of other worthwhile resources.

It is a subscription-based website that runs 149.95/year or about 12.50/month. For some people this is worth it. Backstage, and its competitor, can be the link between you and acting work.

Keep in mind that there are 500 actors for every 1 job. Backstage and ExploreTalent are just a place to find what is out there. You have to have the skill set to actually book the gig. If finding your own work seems daunting, don’t worry. There are people who can do that for you. 


Agents are people who specialize in connecting performers with auditions and training, when needed. Your agent, if you get one, will send you out to auditions that they have found and think you are a good fit for. It is still up to you to book the gig. This service is not free. There is a standard 10-15% fee of whatever you make on the job that goes to the Agent. This is how most established actors get work.

With an agent looking for work for you, you get to spend more time perfecting your craft so that you can book the gig and pay your agent. If you don’t work, then the agent doesn’t get paid. If you would like more information about getting an agent, for more information on getting an agent check out Emily Meredith’s article on how to find an agent. If you are the kind of actor that has been burned by the audition process, or you just want to take a break from the grind, there are still ways to use your art to make money. 

Translating Your Skillset

Actors have a very specific skill set that can translate into any communication driven field. That is why so many of us are restaurant servers. Outside of food service, actors have been known to use their skills as lawyers, politicians, reporters. administrators, my personal favorite, teaching, and a myriad of other jobs.

Acting is one of those wonderful skills that makes anything else you do better. I have a student who is studying acting with me to make them a better doctor. As an artist, I have found that sharing the skills I have learned and the pitfalls I have found to be extremely rewarding and fairly lucrative. No, these jobs are not the “I told you I can pay the bills as an actor,” jobs. They are jobs, and they will pay the bills using your art.

Be There for the Art

Finding a job in this industry has become increasingly easy, thanks to the power of the internet. Landing that job has become increasingly hard because they are scarce and so many of us are out there. Most actors use their skills in other professions to make themselves more marketable and sought after. These actors are still using their art. These “day-jobs” generally aren’t glamorous, but you’ve got to ask yourself why you are here. Are you here for the art, or are you here for the glamour of the art? 

For as long as memory serves, Stephen Scarlato has been telling stories. He spent the last 30 years exploring how stories are told through performance. Like most performers, Stephen has had to wear many hats to make productions come to life. He has written, acted, directed, produced, designed sets and lighting, built the set, worked on the run crew, loaded in and out touring companies, filmed, and even consulted on costume design. When it comes to Acting, stage and film, Stephen has seen it all. He also holds a Master’s Degree in teaching from Centenary College of Louisiana and has been teaching English and Theatre to public school students for the last 10 years. Stephen prides himself on some of the transformations his students have undergone while studying acting with him. His plan is to continue to teach publicly and privately while he pursues another post graduate degree in either theatre or education in his never ending pursuit of knowledge.

Stephen Scarlato