Keeping it Reel

How to get Experience as a Young Actor

If you know you have a passion for acting and you are only in high school, you have a head start on a lot of people. Actors like Samuel L. Jackson, Sylvester Stallone, and Tim Allen didn’t start acting until around there 30’s or after. But how do you take advantage knowing you want to act at a young age? How can you make sure you spend your time wisely now so that when it comes time to audition for the role of your dreams, you are ready?

Well…we have a few tips.

1. Your High School

I know it is incredibly obvious, but it is entirely worth mentioning. If you are looking to get acting experience look around your high school. Most high schools have theater programs and offer some kind of film course. If you haven’t auditioned for any of your school’s plays or musical productions, consider it. Stage acting is vastly different from acting on camera, but experience is experience. Acting on stage will provide you with the fundamental skills required of all actors including memorization techniques, character and script analysis and development, taking direction, and developing chemistry with other actors.

As for film classes, taking one would be ideal in preparing you for a life in acting. The opportunity to learn about the entire filmmaking process is one you don’t want to pass up on. If you don’t find yourself able to take a film class, however, it never hurts to ask around to see if any other students may need actors for their projects.

2. Community Theater

Getting started in community theater is an amazing way to help you improve your acting skills. Working with older, more experienced actors will allow you to learn tricks of the trade and immerse yourself in the acting lifestyle. All it takes is a little googling to find out if there are theaters near you, then it is as simple as finding a show you are interested in and making it into the audition room.

Working in community theater can allow you to improve upon your audition skills, help you learn professionalism on set, and help you develop fundamental acting skills.

3. Local Colleges, Craigslist, Independent Films

There are always people looking for actors for their latest personal (or school related) projects. With a little searching on the web, it is incredibly easy to find opportunities in your immediate area. If Craigslist isn’t your thing and independent films are too much of a commitment, visit colleges near you or email a film professor and see if there are any students in need of actors.

This is an easy way to get yourself real experience in front of a camera, and since the crew will be learning too, you can relax and experiment with your acting style.

4. DIY

Too many people waste their time waiting for opportunities to come to them. If you want to improve your skills and become the best actor you can, you always have the option of shooting something of your own. Pick up a camera, grab a few friends and create something. Even if it is something as simple as a vine, the experience of getting in front of the camera is worth having. Fool around with your computer and your phone and learn something about camera angles. Pop in a movie and assess your favorite actor’s character choices. Make the snap story of all snap stories! It doesn’t matter what it is, just get out there and do it.


What is the endgame for you? Do you want to be a televisions star, movie star, broadway star? What does it mean to be an actor? Download our Film Career Guide below to find out more about the career opportunities open to someone pursuing an acting related degree.

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Written by CCH Staff

This blog is a collaborative effort by CCH staff and administration who want to share their knowledge with the film school community and prospective students.