There's no business like show business! As all actors well know as they spend hours trying to show their talent level and skills at a casting call.
Working with an agent or manager based in Melbourne VIC or Brisbane QLD or Sydney NSW can be a great way to work in Australia, but getting to this stage of your career can mean that you're working for many years (sometimes without getting paid!) and a whole team helping you to find video, theatre, film, media or TV work on top of training and countless auditions to get you to where you want to go.
Workers in the business will know that there's no correct amount of days you should spend looking for a role or amount of years you should spend training and getting an education since the arts can be fickle for all sorts of people and workers, whether there's a role or multiple roles that your agent or manager will put you forward for.
Don't be discouraged though, we're here to do you a service and work out how to get your first acting job in Australia or how to get the next jobs that will boost your career and training, whether you're based in Melbourne VIC, Sydney NSW, or Brisbane QLD.
A Background to Acting Jobs and the Arts in Australia
You will find that it's no secret that some time ago, actors and workers in the arts were paid less, or sometimes didn't get a wage for a role at all, yet it was easier to come across roles once upon a time in Australia.
The film and media industry in Australia is huge compared to our population, and you don't have to spend hours browsing through the media to find that acting skills and experience abound here, with famous names and faces like Nicole Kidman, The Hemsworths, Mia Wasikowska, Russell Crowe, and Baz Lurhman all hailing from our shores.
Needless to say, these people are paid a hefty wage, but were lucky and worked hard thanks to the help of a team and great agent or manager.
Now, like we were saying, some time ago, it was easier to find a role since the film and media industry has always been big in Melbourne VIC, Sydney NSW, and Brisbane QLD.
Nowadays, a full generation or two later, a career or job in the arts can pay well but is harder to get into.
You need a lot of training in one of Australia's prestigious drama schools or you will find that if you are an actor of some talent.
You might land work getting some experience with a role on a soap opera or show based in Australia such as Neighbours or Home and Away. This is usually the sort of casting actors can rely on to get themselves noticed.
Discover the kinds of jobs there are for actors in Australia.
For those that have a different sort of skill and talent set away from film and media, the theatre scene in Australia is also second to none and has been for quite some time.
Auditions will no doubt take up hours of your free time here too, as will looking through the full list of said auditions, but this can pay off as there will be plenty of work once you get a foot in the door.
The first job doesn't always lead to other jobs, but something to bear in mind is that the more work you do, the more likely you are to get an arts grant from the QLD, VIC, or NSW government to further your career.
Something to really make you stand out in the theatre sector is training and education.
Given that the acting schools in Melbourne and Sydney are so prestigious, such as NIDA for film and VCA for musical theatre, many an agent or manager will come directly to performances here to look for people to cast straight into roles later on, as they expect them to be of high calibre.
Kinds of Work, With or Without Acting Auditions
The rate of employment can vary upon the amount of female to male, mature to young etc roles needed in someone's film or show. That's one of the main reasons why this occupation can be so difficult to find employment in.
Nonetheless, finding employment here is just something you need to raise your voice in - and assuming you've been through acting training, you probably have a great voice!
Whether female or male, there are also other things needed when it comes to finding acting jobs or work towards your career in the arts such as a manager or agent. So what should you do until such time that you can find a good one of these?
You don't have to pay them, but they're certainly not free either - they will take a portion of the wage you get from working, so you need to actually have worked at any level of skills first.
Below we consider the kinds of work there is within the acting and arts, including casting and auditions, regardless of experience or level, and also alternatives for what to do at the time when people can't find the right roles (which will inevitably happen), and how you can keep working to pay the bills in these days, weeks, or years in between.
We will also show you some places you can look for employment actually within your chosen occupation. At any rate, there will be something interesting for your career, no matter where you're based or the rate of auditions you're attending!
See how much further an acting coach can take you.
Kinds of Acting Jobs
The data shows (and the data doesn't lie!) that there are plenty of services you can render as an actor, but you will obviously want to be on a serious production ideally.
So let's think about such a production first.
The dream you probably held onto throughout your education and training likely involved a role that employed the full range of your skills and really challenged you to go to the next level and be a good use of your time.
These kinds of roles are called character roles and can be just what you need to be memorable in your work. This is what an agent or manager will work hard towards getting you so that you can be a regular on a show or in a recurring stage production.
Such roles will generally go through casting with ideas based on what characters should be like ie male or female, ethnicity, physical build etc, whatever services the plotline.
It is thus worth spending a couple of hours of your free time thinking about what skills you can nurture to find your character types to see what to emphasise in your auditions.
This is the main sort of acting job to consider when you're looking for work, as it's what will be the most consistent, whether you're working in film or television.
Learn the art of the audition process with Superprof.
Jobs for When You're Between Acting Jobs or Acting Schools Australia
Other sorts of work to consider when you're between work can be acting focussed, can be based in the arts to keep you close to the action, or can be a way to harness your skills whilst working in an adjacent industry like education or kids entertainment.
A non-exhaustive list of work that actors can consider which will be a good use of their time and resume when in-between work includes:
- Life coaching since it lets you engage with people and assume a specific kind of role
- Acting teaching with people of any age or level.
- Media data analysis to allocate funding within the arts and understand audience patterns
- TV presenting as you can use the full range of skills and charisma of an actor
- Voice over artist / Voice actor to really work those pipes
- Stage manager to keep close to the other actors and still have artistic output
- Film/theatre producer so that you can still craft something beautiful with other actors
- Film/theatre director to use your keen eye for the arts to make magic
Where to Look for Acting Jobs and Acting Auditions Australia
Now, when it comes to actually looking for acting work in Australia, you will probably already have a network if you are at a higher level of your occupation and act regularly, so this section will address more casual and beginner actors with its services.
Below are the two biggest platforms for finding acting work in Australia:
StarNow takes in everything from casual modelling to soap opera character work to official film and TV production. It will even put you in touch with other kinds of work within the industry, such as for agents and managers looking to up skill or find new clients.
This is a good place for anything mainstream, or for any kind of production with a little bit to pay its cast. It generally covers straight and musical theatre, and the full cross-section of film, TV, and media.
The other indispensable resource is Backstage, which is typically more for theatre but does take into account film and TV too.
Like StarNow, Backstage covers anything from amateur theatre (which can actually require a lot of experience to be successful in) online acting and TV shows, to multilingual media and entertainment, to modelling jobs, to blockbuster movies!
Check out these resources, and learn about acting education and training in Australia.
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