How Long Should Actors Spend in Dedicated Training?


Hi there,

I am wondering how long actors should train before thinking about moving forward into getting a showreel together, going for auditions etc?

My previous experience comprises some lead roles in elementary school plays and a few non-speaking roles in student short films at film school.

I recently took a weekly two-month course (mainly to see if my latent acting ambitions were worth pursuing) and got some very positive feedback - ultimately feeling that I have enough potential to warrant moving forward. I had been thinking to go into another two-month weekly course which ends with filming scenes to be used in showreels.

After doing more research on training and the business side of things I am not sure if doing one more short course then having a showreel from scratch made will be a waste of time or if I should carry on doing more courses and making sure I am prepared before trying to break into anything. I'm just not sure at what point I will ever be fully prepared or if the “baptism by fire” approach could be more useful than spending an indeterminate amount of time and money on courses.

I'm 32 (though look considerably younger) and in a way feel like the clock is ticking. I don't expect things to magically happen without the requisite knowledge and hard work, but stories about great actors bypassing training and going straight into iconic roles are near the front of my mind.

As a filmmaker I have connections that could potentially result in me getting recommended for auditions for independent films, though I will need some form of showreel for this and of course the the ability to nail auditions and ultimately perform roles successfully. I've read that being nervous at auditions is not good and nerves can be a problem for me at present.

I'm intending to cast myself as the protagonist in my first fiction feature film, though this is not scheduled to be completed until 2019 (and has very little dialogue).

Part of me thinks I should do more courses, carry on reading up on technique, focus on creating my own content and then that will be my best calling card. The other part of me thinks two years is a long way away and that I should try just one more short course, get a showreel together then start going for roles.

Any thoughts/input hugely appreciated.

Do everything you can afford and can fit into your schedule. ALL of it is beneficial, even if it's not always positive. :D

And fear is always your biggest enemy. It's better to try and to fail than to fail to try at all.

Some say risk nothing, try only for the sure thing,
Others say nothing gambled nothing gained,
Go all out for your dream.
Life can be lived either way, but for me,
I'd rather try and fail, than never try at all, you see.

Some say "Don't ever fall in love,
Play the game of life wide open,
Burn your candle at both ends."
But I say "No! It's better to have loved and lost,
Than never to have loved at all, my friend."

When many moons have gone by,
And you are alone with your dreams of yesteryear,
All your memories will bring you cheer.
You'll be satisfied, succeed or fail, win or lose,
Knowing the right path you did choose.

- William F. O'Brien



Staff member
Like AlcoveAl said - all of the above!
Seriously, I'd start putting yourself out there for auditions but keep studying and reading and everything else. If you wait until you're where you want to be, you'll never get anywhere.


I agree with everyone. Get your reel done & audition. You'll find out if it's a mistake sooner.
Anyway you should always be learning whether it's through a job, class, self study, etc. I can't remember who it was but I heard someone say most movie actors are limited because all they do is act for movies. Actors who are also good in the theater, even though it's different, are well rounded. So do plays too, & commercials, anything that will challenge you.


I would say that you should do every audition that you can, take community college acting course, and get your reel done. Also you should work on some of your own content as well. In addition; do not be afraid of doing voice acting, take jobs in minor roles, or even start an youtube channel.
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The largest sound merger on IT ever :P

On topic:
neither approaches are mutual exclusive:
you can put a showreel together AND still train.
This will give you 2 roads to improve :)


I think you can never be fully prepared; You have to just jump into it. Of course you should study, make your reel, etc. but, even if you've tried to be totally ready, there will still be much to learn that you can only learn through actual experience. I also think that even your first paid gigs can be thought of as getting paid to practice. Even professionals should remember they can always get better.