Where to Look for Your First Acting Work

Accessible ways to get into acting as a beginner.

Cat Webling
5 min readJun 2, 2021


The view from the stage of an auditorium, looking out at red seats and ornate walls.
Image from Unsplash.

Acting is a difficult profession to get into. Not only is it a competitive field, but most schools, even with excellent arts programs, won’t explain how to break into the industry.

There’s no guaranteed or straightforward way to do it, unfortunately. Most professional auditions require professional credits, for which you need to book professional auditions, which require professional credits, and so on. It’s a vicious cycle that can be hard to find the start of.

Luckily, there are a few good places you can look for those first few credits.

Local Theaters

Local theaters are amazing. They’re usually very small operations that have a dedicated staff of theater lovers behind them who want to put on the best possible show for their community and bring a little bit of quality entertainment and arts education to the public.

There are two basic kinds of local theater: volunteer and professional. Volunteer, or Community, theaters are an amazing way to build your skills and resume, but won’t count as a professional credit. Professional theaters will first and foremost count as a professional credit on your resume and, as an added bonus, will pay you for your work!

Look up theaters in your area — most will have a website you can visit to learn more about them (including which kind they are). Check their current season for audition dates and requirements. For most, you’ll be able to just show up on the day, but be sure to find out if they require preregistration or time slot reservation, just in case.

Background Acting Companies

It may be surprising to learn, but background acting — being an “extra” in the background of television and movie scenes — is actually incredibly easy to get into if you live in the right area. There are hubs of production in California, New York, Georgia, and parts of Canada, but many productions film all over North America.

Most production companies will post listings on Facebook. Search “background acting” and you’ll pull up all kinds of professional pages. The best part is that, for most of them, anyone…



Cat Webling

Hello! I’m Cat, a writer and editor based out of Kansas. I write about literature, theater, gaming, and freelancing. Personal work: catwebling.com.