The Top Five Essential (and Free) Resources For Acting Students

May 28, 2014

Resources for Actors

The film industry is famously cut-throat. Regardless of whether you’re a New York Film Academy acting school graduate with years of study behind you or just hoping to pick up some extra work while on college break, finding paying gigs can feel like an uphill struggle.

No matter what experience level you’re currently at, there are plenty of tools to help alleviate the struggle. Below we discuss the five best and up-to-date resources that have helped many other aspiring actors.

As a side note, given that becoming a film star is a dream held by many people—both young and old—it’s one of those industries where scam artists will try and take advantage of naivety and impatient excitement. The web is rife with such cons that promise to further your acting career, but are really only interested in parting you with your cash. Never trust anything that sounds too good to be true and never dive into something with your wallet before doing your due diligence first.

With that in mind, this brings us neatly to…

Backstage Casting

Want to be sure you’re applying for a legitimate (and usually paying) audition? If so, you need to get yourself onto Backstage.

As well as having a gigantic, up-to-date selection of great gigs, one of the best features of Backstage is the ability to filter by a whole range of metrics. Rather than having to trawl through hundreds of posts, simply select your working location, age, ethnicity, the pay you’re looking for and any keywords which might apply and you’re ready to rock and roll.

Ace Your Audition Monologues

At some point or another, you’ll have to demonstrate your acting chops by delivering a monologue.

Unfortunately, it’s not easy as just picking any old movie speech and memorizing it by rote. Some monologues will be well suited to an actor, while others won’t quite gel with their outward appearance and style. Additionally, individual auditions might call for something in particular—for instance, it wouldn’t be ideal to march into an audition for a Disney voiceover and deliver Samuel L. Jackson’s bible speech from Pulp Fiction.

The Ace Your Audition site has over 1,000 free monologues (the link above also includes some tips to get you started). Even better, the monologues themselves are broken down by category. For example, if you’re a woman between the ages of 25-40 who is looking for a one-minute speech, you’ll find something suitable in only a few clicks.


As one of the most popular sites on the entire internet, YouTube isn’t exactly a well-hidden secret. So why do we mention it here?

Simply put, YouTube is often misunderstood by many people, especially those trying to do a bit of self-promotion. The common mistake is seeing YouTube as ‘just’ a video streaming service; rarely do people consider that it’s the third most popular search engine on the planet.

In addition, it’s almost like a search engine catered towards finding people, so if you’re trying to get your name and face out there, you’re doing yourself a massive disservice to neglect YouTube. Those who were savvy enough to recognize this opportunity to build an audience early on are now making six and seven figure salaries.

Becoming a viral superstar takes a lot of hard work and more than a little luck, but you don’t need to pull in millions of views on your videos for it to help your acting career. Even if you only get a thousand, hundred or just ten views on a video—be it a monologue, short film, or simple vlog—every bit of work you put in increases the chances of you making great connections and can make a good addition to your portfolio.

Don’t forget to check out some of the fine acting resource channels which propagate the site. There’s some great advice out there from fellow actors and actresses, both amateur and professional.

The Tom Cruise Resource List

A small treasure trove of acting advice, the team over at Tom Cruise’s official site have put together a superb list of books, online publications, studios, and unions dedicated to the craft of acting. If you’re just starting out, or looking to take your career to the next level, it’s well worth checking out the Cruise-approved master list.

You might want to also check out their guide to various disciplines within the industry, from script writer to the iPhone filmmaker.

Actor Website Templates

If you don’t have a dedicated website for your acting work, you’re selling yourself short and decreasing the chances of someone connecting with you. It’s also a lot easier to fire over a URL to an agent or potential director, rather than having to post a physical resume into the void.

If you’re stuck for ideas, check out the link above to view 20 portfolio website designs (many of which are downloadable for free, though some require a small payment). If nothing else, it should get your creative juices flowing on how best to present what could be your first impression online.

Taught from December to January, our 6-Week Holiday Acting for Film workshop immerses students in the world of acting for the screen. Taught by professionals from the film industry, this workshop teaches students the fundamentals of screen acting. Visit our 6-Week Holiday Acting for Film Workshop page to learn more.