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How to Become an Actor at 16

The glitz and bling of fame and fortune consumes the fantasies of 16-year-olds everywhere and many dream of capturing the spotlight by acting. Acting isn't quantum physics, but stardom and accolades usually come only after years of classes, small parts and dues paid, if at all. It is easy to become an actor, whether 16 or 60 -- simply learn the lines, step on a stage and do it. Conversely, it is difficult to become an actor; being great requires discipline, perseverance, practice and hard work.

Share your dream to become an actor with your parents. Their support, as well as that of friends and other family members, will help propel you towards your goal.

Get involved with your school's theatre department. Take as many classes as you can, make friends with the teachers and audition for every production. The relationships you make at 16 may well open doors to industry opportunities; because a teacher encouraged her to enter a contest, which she subsequently won, Oprah was a working radio personality at 17.

Volunteer with local theater groups. Most communities have several; upcoming auditions and performances are easy to find in the entertainment section of the local paper and on the Web. Small companies often require participants to fulfill more the one role both on and off the stage; they provide fledgling actors with the opportunity to learn about stage and costume design in addition to honing their craft.

Go to the theater often. Read the play prior to the performance whenever possible and envision how you might play one or more of the characters. Compare the actual performance to the one in your mind. Examine technique, delivery, movement, et al. Determine what worked in the actors' performances and what did not. Work to incorporate what you learn into your own acting.

Build and nurture a network of friends, supporters and mentors in the theater community. For an actor, who you know can open the doors to achieving all your dreams. Your network will provide information about auditions, classes and other opportunities that may not be posted in the media.

Audition every chance you get. Don't limit yourself with assumptions that you cannot play a certain genre or type of character. Even "odd" characters and small parts build your skill and resume; be willing to try most anything at least once. Believe in your dream and yourself; act and you are an actor.

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