Going Hollywood! Frequently Asked Questions About Acting

Chavon, a young filmmaker, journalist, and Hollywood resident recently shared some FAQ’s on acting with Minority Speak. For those of you aspiring to get into the industry and make it big, we hope Chavon’s insight gets you going in the right direction! While your in Hollywood be sure to catch a screening of “Played”, a film directed, produced, and written by Chavon herself!

– Minority Speak

1. Do I have to move to Hollywood to become an actor?

Answer: The auditioning process for the majority of television and film roles takes place in Los Angeles. If you are not physically in Los Angeles, you will not be available to go in and audition for the parts that are being offered.

2. Do I need a headshot?

Answer: Generally before casting directors will set an appointment for an actor to come in on an audition, they require a photo/headshot of the individual so that they can see what you look like and determine if you meet the physical requirements for the role in advance of the audition. Most casting directors are looking for a certain “type” for each role (ie: male or female, Caucasian or ethnic, fat or thin, pretty or plain, etc.). Therefore, a headshot is essential to beginning the process of choosing the right actor. Some organizations in the industry provide their members with a list of casting directors for plays, commercials, television shows and films.

3. What is a resume and do I need one?

Answer: An actor’s resume is a list of the television, film, theatrical and/or commercial work they have done.

4. How do I get the work experience for an actor’s resume?

Answer: Some actors join local theatrical groups and perform in plays as a way to hone their craft and get exposure. Often times agents will come to see plays as a way of discovering new talent. Beginning actors also will work as extras or background players as a way of adding to their resume and gaining experience in front of the camera. This is also a valuable way to learn the dynamics of making a commercial, film or television series.

5. What is an extra?

Answer: An extra or background player is someone who is in the scene but does not speak. For example, a background player may be someone walking down the street while a scene is going on.

6. How do I get a job as an extra?

Answer: There are talent agencies whose sole purpose is to provide extras and background players to productions. If you contact them, it is fairly easy to get them to represent you as an extra. Some organizations in the industry provide a list of those agencies, their addresses and phone numbers to their members.

7. What is a supporting character role?

Answer: After some experience has been achieved as a background player, actors then generally find it easier to be able to audition for supporting characters (very small roles/non speaking in the scene and speaking with very few lines). Generally, a talent agent (not the ones for extras casting) is needed for these types of roles and those larger than these.

8. What is a guest star role?

Answer: After landing a few supporting character roles, actors generally begin to audition for guest star roles that are one time appearances in television shows.

9. What is a recurring character role?

Answer: Recurring characters generally appear in 3 to 6 episodes of a television series. A television series season may consist of 13 to 21 episodes.

10. Do I need an agent to begin doing Commercials?

Answer: Generally, yes. There are agents that specifically send clients out for commercials. However, at times there will be open casting calls for commercials where even individuals without representation can come and audition for the parts offered. Commercials are a good way to become comfortable in front of the camera and gain experience.

11. How do I get an agent?

Answer: Research to find commercial agencies. Some organizations provide a list of commercial agencies, their addresses and phone numbers to their members.

12. Do I need an acting class or coach?

Answer: Yes. No matter how successful or famous you become you will always need to work on your craft, improve yourself and grow.


Chavon James is a young filmmaker, journalist, and Hollywood resident who wrote, directed, and produced the the film \"Played\" currently screening at select location theaters in Los Angeles, California.

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