How do I get discovered? Ah, that is the 10 million dollar question! I assure you, you will find the secret to being discovered right after you find out the answer to the question "How do you lose 100 pounds in two weeks?" Of course, if you clicked on this article in hopes of actually finding the answer to immediate stardom, you may want to take a good look at yourself and why you are still trying to reach for this unattainable fantasy. Nothing in life comes that easy. Sometimes (but rarely) there are exceptions to this rule (or ANY rule, for that matter), but an exception should never be confused for the general rule, or even considered a realistic possibility.
You may have heard the legend of how the Hollywood star Lana Turner was discovered by Zeppo Marx while she was drinking a Coke at Schwab's Pharmacy in L.A. Zeppo signed her to his agency and soon after, she began working. That was a long time ago. Does that kind of thing still happen? Rarely to never. It is a FANTASY, like winning the lottery. Waiting for that to happen to you is a waste of your time. If you pursue this business as a smoke-and-mirrors FANTASY - i.e. "I'm beautiful and talented so things will automatically happen for me" - then you are in for a big disappointment and many years of wasted energy. Show me any successful career, and I will show you a lot of blood, sweat, and tears that helped get them there.
Having said that, there are many things you can do to HELP yourself be seen along the way. You need to be available for discovery. A buried treasure is hard to discover unless you know to look in the general vicinity it is located. Make yourself available. Go to plays, movies, and industry parties. Taking classes will allow you to be seen by others who may be helpful to you on your way to success. Most importantly, be prepared. This business requires a passion for all aspects of it from the auditioning to the performance and everything in between. It is your responsibility to hone your craft and prepare yourself to be a professional at the business of show business. This also means you should increase your knowledge and life experience. Read, watch, and engage in the world around you. Being an actor is an integral part of your life as a whole. The REALITY of the business of being an actor includes all aspects of your life: relationships, health, finances, family, etc. It is your responsibility to stay on top of all of those parts of your life and make sure you stay healthy and on track.
You may notice I try to use the word "business" instead of "career." The word career conjures up a steady arc of achievement that develops over time. So just starting out, a young actor cannot accurately describe his or her business as a "career," because it has not developed yet. The word "business" really captures what you need to focus on. All of the work you must do each day to keep your business going, and what it takes to "sell" yourself and get work. You are responsible for your own business.
If you pursue acting with great gusto, enjoyment, and determination, chances are you will find work. Break a leg!
John Essay has been a theatrical manager and producer for nearly 25 years. His company, Essay Management, represents actors, writers and directors in all areas of the entertainment industry. He also created www.TheActorsGuideToEverything.com, a website reflecting the culmination of all that he has learned in the last 25 years as a personal manager.