So you wanna be an Actor

So you wanna be an Actor
Jim Calarco- A Champion for Film/TV Industry

As an agent the one question that I was always asked was: “How do I become an actor?”

 An average annual salary for a film /TV actor is roughly $15,000.00. At any given time 80%-90% of all actors are unemployed.

 As an Agent I received requests weekly from people who wanted to join the Agency. Unfortunately, most people did not have the experience necessary to join. Many inquiries came from people who were doing Background work (EXTRAS). Background work, while providing on camera experience does not prepare people for a speaking part. An actor must be able to take direction, learn lines, hit their mark on set, work with the camera and do the whole thing over and over until the role is captured to the satisfaction of the director.

 A Professional Film /TV actor belongs to the actor’s union (ACTRA) . Non-union actors are eligible to join the union once they are hired for a speaking role. My job, as an agent, was to find work for the actors I represented. A production company would contact me when they required actors. As an agent, I would be sent a “Breakdown” which is a document that spells out the roles available .This Breakdown will also specify the age, appearance and size of the role. A role can be an Actor level ( fewer than five lines ) or a Principal role ( more than five lines).The pay rate is then based on the size of the role. An Actor role pays about $600.00 per eight-hour day while a Principal role is paid $800.00 a day. There are other factors in contacts to be considered but I believe you get the point.

 Usually, I would choose the appropriate actor or actors from my roster and send their resume and head shot to the casting director who would then decide on their suitability. The casting director would then arrange for an in person or taped audition. After that it’s out of my hands.

Once an actor is cast in a role, I would be sent a deal memo(contract) which spelled out the terms of employment for the actor. When the deal is accepted the actor would then be given the contract to sign. An Agent can also sign on behalf of the actor, but I preferred that the actor sign their own contract.

 I was once contacted by a mother who told me that her daughter was perfect for film. She said her daughter was well behaved and a perfect choice for any children’s role. When I asked how old her daughter was the mother replied, “three months.” Obviously, this was not someone that needed an agent. My advice to the mother was to wait a few years until the child could decide if she was interested in acting. Acting is a very demanding and stressful occupation and children should not be pushed into becoming an actor.

 If you want to be an actor, then you must do the necessary work. Take courses, study , read books about acting, volunteer to work on local student films and above all treat acting as a career not a hobby. If you wake up every day and think about acting then you’d better pursue it. If you don’t then acting is not for you .

Watch for more columns from Jim next week


 Jim Calarco, a member of ACTRA has most recently appeared in A Masked Saint,Orah, The Captive and the TV series Hard Rock Medical.Formerly a Drama consultant with the Near North Board of Education he retired in 2000 and began working exclusively in film and TV. In 2008 he established North Star Talent with producer Brigitte Kingsley in order to represent Northern Ontario Actors . In the same year he started Real to Reel BG Agency. In 2010 he started Cast North , a film and television casting and audition agency .He is winner of the Quonta Best Actor Award,And a Best Actor in a Short Film  Award(Belgium) and in 2008 he was inducted into the Northern Entertainers Hall of Recognition .His two most recent shot films that he wrote and directed have won 23 awards internationally.He continues  to works as both an Actor/Director and Northern Film Consultant.


Hello Awesome People!

It looks like you are using Ad Blocker. We can understand that you don't like to see the ads frequently. But please try to understand that our business survive on the ads. Main source of revenue is Ads, please support us by disabling ad blocker.

Thank you for visiting Report North Bay!