Leaving the safety blanket of drama school can be scary and it’s easy to throw away your routine and lose track of the reasons you went to drama school. You’ve gone from having a structured routine of classes and showcases with the end goal being graduation, but now you’re all alone in the real world! It’s important to remember that there’s a place in the industry for everyone and although it takes time to find it, you have to continue working hard and making yourself stand out for the right reasons.
We understand that especially during this pandemic employment can seem impossible. However, use this time to become creative, for example by making an Instagram page or YouTube channel to showcase your talents. You could create short screenplays/dances or compose music, performing them in groups over video or on your own. Another option could be writing to current actors/musicians/dancers that have also had to move to digital asking to collaborate with them on pieces of work. There are many skills you have learnt from drama school and can learn for adapting your work to the current global environment that will benefit you in the long-term.
Take a break
The first thing to do as a drama school graduate is to celebrate! You’ve just got through an intense degree and furthered your career. Take some time to celebrate your achievements, work out what you want to do next and think about the time you’ve spent at drama school.
Never stop training
Don’t stop working just because you’ve got to organise your time yourself rather than having set classes and deadlines. Keep up your good habit and keep your body/voice active to ensure all your hard work at drama school doesn’t go to waste! In order to set yourself up for success you need to practise every day, watch different shows and keep note of everyone you speak too and any feedback you receive. It will be tiring so don’t forget to take some time for yourself.
Getting an agent
While your final showcase is important, it puts a lot of pressure on you to get signed by one of the agents attending, and it will be challenging for you if your friends get an agent and you don’t. Remember that getting an agent isn’t everything and there are many ways you can get yourself out there on your own. Similarly, it is not the only opportunity you’ll ever have to get an agent so don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
Use your time to get to know the industry in the best way you can and become part of the community. See as much theatre/film as you can, from independent, student and professional work. Analyse each piece and think about where you would fit in, what works and what people like; this will help you in learning more about the industry, deciding which route of work you want to take and making new connections!
Experience is essential so say yes to every opportunity that could help you to learn new things, see what you enjoy and meet new people, even if the opportunity is unpaid. The more you get yourself out into the stage/screen industry, the more people you meet and the more your name gets mentioned which means more opportunities can open up!
Networking is a word that’s thrown around a lot in the industry, but who you know is everything and it’s so important that you build good connections with people. Go to events, meet people and make connections and friendships. Show genuine interest in others, be open minded to meet everyone and remain professional at all times. You should also get your name out on social media so you can interact with others and get important updates about the industry.
Especially during this pandemic, use your free-time to network with people over LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter. You can potentially even set up video calls to introduce yourself and improve your rapport with those in the industry.
Don’t compare yourself
Everyone’s journey is different, and it takes time to get to the place you want to be so don’t compare yourself to others and wish your friends well when they succeed. Be proactive and things will fall into place for you, so take responsibility and help yourself to achieve your goals. Remember that what you see on social media can often be only one side to a story and doesn’t show the amount of work a person has put in to achieve their goals.
Make sure you’ve got recent headshots, a professional showreel and up to date website to show your work to casting directors or agents. You will be meeting a lot of new people and need to look the part so make sure you look professional with your hair, makeup and wardrobe. The first thing casting directors will look at is the way you look so make sure your look is up to date.
You may need to get a job that can help you to pay the bills and get money needed to update headshots etc. Pick your job carefully and make sure it will leave you with time to focus on your acting and allow you to achieve your end goal; if your life revolves around your job, it’s easy to forget about pursuing your acting career.
Make a plan
Break the year down into mini goals of where you want to be at each segment of the year. Focus on these goals weekly to make sure you’re on the right track. You won’t see immediate change but creating a plan allows you to focus on your yearly goal and take a step in the right direction.
Your first audition
Your first audition will be nerve-wracking and will be hard as you don’t have your tutors and friends at drama school to fall back on. If it doesn’t go to plan, don’t be too hard on yourself and use it as a learning curve to learn what worked; practise makes perfect and you will have many more auditions in the future! Be prepared as you could be asked to do some bizarre things, such as acting in the style of a colour, and answer on the spot questions and you just have to get on with it and do it. Remember that the panel are on your side and they want you to succeed.