Do you need to live in Hollywood to act? – Casting Call

Written by | The Craft of Acting

Find out what you can expect acting in regional markets vs. Hollywood. Also how voice training can help your acting and if high school theater will help you when you start your film acting career.

I just got an acting agent and I’m a singer in a band – how much do different kinds of voice training help get work as an actor?  Greg T., Naples, FL

There are many types of “voice work,” and I will give a brief overview of each:

  • You are referring, I believe, to singing. Any special skill can be an asset on your resume. It won’t help you get a non-singing role, but it will certainly help if you are auditioning for a role that calls for singing. Remember, however, that ACTING is the key for film or TV. A great actor who can kind of sing will be cast before a great singer who can kind of act. The singing can always be dubbed.
  • Voice training of any kind can often help in being able to master accents or dialects.
  • Voice-over work is a great potential source of income for actors. Voice-over is what it implies – you hear someone’s voice narrating over a related image. You continually hear voice-overs in not just film and TV, but they are huge in commercials. Having the right voice match the tone of the production is crucial. Remember the warm and fuzzy tone of Tom Bodett’s voice pitching a motel: “We’ll leave the light on for you.” The more control you have of your voice, the better you will do.

I am 24 years old and am thinking about starting an acting career. I did a lot of theater in High School. Will that help me? Jackson Q., Tulsa, OK

Not really. Your work in theater in high school may have given you a taste of what acting is, and may have taught you the work ethic needed to be an actor, but other than that, you are really starting from scratch. Your high school theater days will make little impact on your current resume, and getting an agent will most likely be no easier. Take what you learned ‘back in the day’ and expand on it – take classes, do more theater – and if you feel ready, start auditioning for film. I would recommend taking a class on ‘acting for the camera’ first. Just remember that you are only as good as your latest work!

Do I need to live in Hollywood to really become an actor?  Jenny G., Lewisburg, OH

No. There are films, TV shows, commercials, theater productions, industrials, etc. being made all over the country. It is possible to get to the point where you are doing leading roles and not living in LA, but that will most likely be in non-union or otherwise low budget or student films. In studio or network films shooting in your area, you would, at best, get a co-starring role, but you would most likely get day player parts. That’s not to say that you couldn’t star in other types of projects that I listed above. If your ultimate goal is to truly be a ‘star’ – then LA or New York is where you need to be, but be realistic about your chances of that happening. Once you are a star, by the way, you can then live anywhere you want outside of LA or New York, as so many superstars have chosen to do.

– Catrine McGregor

For more on acting from Catrine, check out her book Acting Across America!

Catrine has cast well over 400 projects, including films, TV, IMAX, commercials, webseries and video games. She is a member of the prestigious CSA (Casting Society of America). During her forty year career in the film industry, Catrine has worked extensively all over the US as well as Europe and Africa. She prides herself in discovering and developing new talent, and has done so with many people that you see every day in films and on TV.


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Last modified: August 13, 2017

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