Starting a career as an actor can be exhilarating, nail-biting, and expensive as hell! The ultimate goal of every new actor is adding credits to their resume, gaining experience, and networking their way to that one job that transforms them from beginner actor to household name.
What things must every new actor spend money on before going on that very first audition? I've compiled a list of five things in order of importance and their average costs to get you started.
There are two types of actors, those who believe in acting classes and those who think acting schools are unnecessary! Most actors who've had longevity in this business have attended some sort of acting school. There are exceptions to the rule, like Will Smith, who never attended an acting school. In my opinion, the acting school aims to give you tools that an actor then combines with their natural ability. And watch out, world!
This is why it is first on my list, that and it will be an actor's most significant expense. There are two main types of acting schools four-year college and a theater institute.
Average Cost of Classes:
Four-year college: $75,000/year
Theater Institute: $20,000/year
If you opted to attend a four-year college, return to this blog in four years to learn your next steps. I kid! I opted to skip college and participated in a theater institute. Once you've got about six months of training under your belt, would be a great time to start doing your research for great headshot photographers. Before COVID, a new actor could spend hours perusing through tons of coffee table books full of headshot photographers at a reproductions studio. Now I would suggest researching headshot photographers in your area on Google.
Average Cost of Professional Headshots:
$300.00-$1,000.00 including MUA and retouching.
If acting classes have tapped out your budget, I suggest finding newly monetized photographers.
Whether you invest in a DSLR camera or use your iPhone to self-tape that first audition. Pay a web designer to create a professional actors website or set up a professional business page on IG. Solidifying your marketing plan is the next important step a new actor should take before going on that first audition. No matter your budget, these things should say I am a professional.
Average Cost of Marketing:
Websites - $350.00-$1,000.00 including domain, web hosting, and web design
Equipment for Self-taping - $30.00-$700.00
Voicemail/Answering service - $10.00-$45.00/month
What you wear during that first self-tape audition matters almost as much as the performance you give. Which why it is number four on my list. The professionals have specific standards they prefer us actors adhere to when self-taping our auditions. Failure to do so can result in your self-tape ending up in the virtual trash can. One pitfall new actors fall into is wasting their money on costumes. Costumes are not only distracting to the casting director; they can also be expensive. Instead, check out the actors who are getting your roles and study their style.
Average Cost of creating an audition wardrobe:
Basic looks $140.00-$500.00
The last thing an actor should budget for is their beauty maintenance; after all, actors make a living based on their look. Haircare, skincare products, make up, even working out all fall under the category of beauty maintenance. With the revamping of online shopping and service apps like Thumbtack, acquiring specialty products and virtual personal trainers has never been easier. Will a subscription service work best for you? Or will a trip to your local Duane Reade or Walmart for skincare products be your best option?
Average Cost of Beauty Maintenance:
Virtual Personal Trainer -$40.00-$150.00/session
- $50.00-$100.00/2-3 months
- $30.00/2 months