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8 Tips for Breaking into the Film and TV Industry in Atlanta

Looking to break into the Film and TV Industry here in Atlanta? Read my top eight tips below. 
 

1. Discover your “Why?” 

Why are you considering a career in film and television? Do you have what it takes to be in front of the camera? Please note—nothing in this industry happens overnight. It could take years for your career to take off. Be sure to exercise patience and that hearing “no” is part of the process. Holding on to your “why” will help you navigate through these tough times.

2. Work as a Background Artist. 

Working as a Background Artist has a lot of benefits, where you will learn on-set etiquette, terminology, and determine if it’s a right fit for you. Finding work as a background artist is simple - especially if you’re on any social media platforms.

Below are a few Facebook pages where you can find work. Be sure to “like” and follow these pages to keep up-to-date on their casting calls. 

Extras Casting Atlanta

Bill Marinella Casting, Inc. 

Central Casting

On Location Casting 

3. I’ve Worked as a Background Artist. Now What? 

Once you have worked as a Background Artist, it may be time for you to start looking for speaking roles. Oftentimes,  local creatives look for talent to fill speaking roles.  They post their needs on social media.  You may notice most of these roles are unpaid but don’t allow that to discourage you! Opting to work for free will provide you an opportunity to get an IMDB credit, and gives you material for your demo reel.

        Below is a shortlist of where to find speaking roles

        Atlanta Film Production Group 

        Atlanta Film Community

        Atlanta Actors Network

4. Take Acting Classes

Every great actor takes acting classes or workshops to hone their craft. There are several reasons why an aspiring actor should take acting classes. First, you will see a boost in your confidence. Secondly, you will learn how to communicate effectively and make new friends. Lastly, you will learn acting techniques that will assist with taking your career to the next level. 

    Shortlist of Acting Classes in Atlanta

     Dwayne Boyd’s Premier Actors Network

     The Alliance Theatre

     Catapult Acting Studios

5. Get Headshots          

Once you decide you want to book bigger roles, you will no longer be able to submit a selfie. You will need a commercial and a theatrical headshot taken by someone who specializes in headshot photography for actors.  FYI—casting directors have reviewed hundreds, if not thousands of headshots. Do not submit a selfie because they will know the difference. Spend the money to get professional headshots done.  Remember, it’s an investment. 

Shortlist of professional Headshot Photographers 

Tracy Bosworth Page

Dwayne Boyd Photography

Ira Carmichael Photogrpahy
 

6. Create a Demo Reel 

If you have had several speaking roles on a few projects, gather the footage and get at least a one-minute demo reel created by someone who can assist in that area. Most professional demo reel locations do have the option where they can create a custom demo reel for you if you don’t have any footage.

Shortlist of Demo Reel Companies

Cart Reel Films 

Compass Actor Services 

Atlanta LA Reels

7. Attend Networking Events

As someone looking to break into the film and tv scene (no matter the market) networking is essential. Vibrant Web Creations  state, “connecting with the outside world by establishing relationships, and by showing what you have to offer is one of the strongest tools you can use to expand.” In other words, don’t only  connect with others behind the keyboard. I’m not saying, don’t try to reach out to them via social media or email. Those are great tools! However, ask if you can either meet virtually, or for an in-person coffee.

8. Search for Talent Agent

Once you’ve completed steps one through seven, it’s time to search for a talent agent. One of the best ways to find a talent agent is to ask some of the friends you’ve met in acting classes or those you’ve networked with what talent agency they are signed to. Just a precaution, never submit to anyone who asks you to submit anything other than a professional headshot, demo reel, and an actor's resume. If you are asked to pay money, run far away! Talent Agents NEVER ask for upfront money or pressure you into signing their contract. A talent agent ONLY gets paid when their talent book a job through an agency.

Below are a few talent agencies here in Atlanta:

Smith and Young Talent

Carol Shaginaw Talent

Ursula Wiedmann Models and Talent

Let these tips guide you as you begin your acting career.  Be patient, work hard and invest in yourself.  It will be well worth it!

Mandisa A. Johnson, M.S., M.F.A. is the founder of Atlanta FIlm and TV, an entertainment journalist and coach. She can be reached at atlantafilmandtv@gmail.com. For more information, please visit atlantafilmandtv.com

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