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How to become a professional actor in Bollywood movies

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How to become an Actor in Bollywood.

Being part of the production process, lots of people ask me how they can have a successful career as actors. Mind you, whether you become a star or not depends on plenty of things, like your own charisma, your talent, the opportunities you get etc.

But there is still a lot you can do to launch your acting career. These are the broad outlines, and I will make follow up posts with more details, like which acting classes, which casting directors etc.

- Groom and train yourself
As an actor you will be required to play various roles. You need to be fit, be able to ride a bike, a motorcycle, a car, a horse etc. You also need to be able to dance. Enrol in a good training course for acting where you learn the sublimities of actor training, voice control etc. You should not even attempt to start your career if you haven't done this already.

- Join a good theatre group
Whichever city you are in (and if you want to make a career in Bollywood, we recommend you move to Mumbai), join a good theatre group near you. It will give your acting skills the much needed exercise, remove any stage fright and inhibitions related to performances, and et you noticed.

- Get a portfolio shot.
You should now get plenty of photos of yourself shot. Find good photographers and get a variety of pictures shot of yourself, in the roles that you think suit you. Often, making friends with photographers help at getting this done.

- Meet Casting Directors
Casting Directors are specialists in finding acting talent for film makers. You need to know them, and they need to know you. 100s of films are being made very day (including TV Serials, TV Ad films, feature films, short films etc), and there is a huge demand for all types of acting talent. You must be at the right place at the right time. One wy to start that is to find a good casting director and send them your updated portfolio.

- Act in short films
Short films are a great way to get noticed as well as to test your own acting skills. Hundreds of short films are made every year by aspiring and established film makers. Often these films don't have budgets yo pay you for acting skills, but they generally will cover your expenses like local travel, food etc. These short films reach festivals, or become viral hits on social media, giving you a good platform for visibility.

- Social Media
This is a great tool for self publicity. Be active on social media. Every theatre workshop, performance, short film, anything, is an opportunity to post some photos of your self and gain a but of publicity. Social media is the new Page 3.

- Find good producers
Often you will find people around you willing to put money in films. The charm and potential windfall profits of films attracts many people. If you know anyone like this, you can help them get their film on the floor, provided you get casted in a role you desire.

- Find good directors
And last but not the least, find good directors. Directors are always looking for good talent for their own films. If you are top of mind with them, your chances of finding a good role increase. Find good directors, whose work you admire, and understand their scripts. See what they are looking for. As an actor, try and mould yourself in the characters the scriptwriter and director have written. People often like to wrk with known people, and this is a good way to find work.


In subsequent posts, I will write in more details on these heads. Keep a watch on this thread.



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  • 2 months later...

Elaborating on my post above:

Groom & Train Yourself:

This is possible by joining acting schools and classes. Some of the best are:

National School Of Drama (NSD) (Delhi): One of the premium institutes to learn acting, has produced stalwarts like Nasir Uddin Shah and Irfan Khan. The National School of Drama provides a three-year full-time Diploma Course for entrants intending to make theatre their profession.

FTII, Pune : Two Year Post Graduate Diploma in Acting, it has produced actors like Nasir Uddin Shah, Om Puri, Shabana Azmi, Jaya Bachchan, Shakti Kapoor, Mithun Chakratary and in the new lot, Raj Kumar Roa, Sayani Gupta etc.

Jamia Milia MCRC: Respected Institute, it has a full time post graduate in Acting course.

Barry John's Academy for Acting (Mumbai and Delhi) :  An old and highly respected institute. Barry John sits in Mumbai and goes into class occasionally, but he is not the lead teacher for any batch. He also attends the weekly film screening and discussion when he’s in town. He comes to Delhi occasionally and goes into class and meets with students and teachers. Classes in both cities are handled by BJAS graduates who are experienced teachers trained by Barry John.

Roshan Taneja's School of Acting, Mumbai.

Kishore Namit Kapoor Acting Institute (Mumbai)

Anupam Kher's 'An Actor Prepares' : (Mumbai) : "Students of ACTOR PREPARES are taught with the most modern methods, techniques and tools. Training is imparted by qualified teachers from India and abroad; all students also receive my personal attention and care. The training ensures that when the students step out into the world as performing artists, they are well equipped to face the challenges of any medium — be it stage, television or film."

The Drama School, Mumbai : Our different curriculum and course formats, from the full-time One Year Certificate Course, to the shorter specialist engagements such as the 4 week long Indian Theatre Programme, Masterclasses and part-time evening course modules has emerged out of a desire by a large number of practicing theatre artists/teachers to create a new standard of teaching. Training that is rigorous, focused and that demands a high level of commitment from both the teacher and the pupil.

Whistling Woods Actors' Studio, Mumbai : The Actors' Studio has been set up with an objective to help aspiring actors get a holistic understanding of Acting, by teaching them the various nuances of acting primarily for cinema, while also equipping students with the understanding and nuances of other allied acting methods. Students pursuing this course can build an acting career in films, theatre and television. The degree course in Acting is accredited by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences.

There are many more.




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After you had done the above, you need to have a portfolio shot. For this you need to get the hang of photographers who can do it for you.

Have yourself shot in various costumes, in various locations and poses, which you think suit your profile and the kind of work you want to do, and select the best ones. Then meet Casting Directors. These people are essential in getting you paid work. You will have to give them your photos and tell them what kind of roles you seek. Discuss the money terms very clearly. Different Casting Directors work differently. Some charge a commission on your earnings. Some don't.


A comprehensive list of casting directors with their phone numbers is here. Thanks to Aditi for posting this.

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