Decide whether you want to be a professional actor (addressed here) or an amateur. If you want to be a professional, read on.
Step2Move to a major city. Eventually, New York or Los Angeles will be your destination, but as you build your resumé of experience you can work in other major metropolitan areas that have good theater or film communities.
Step3Enroll in acting class. Good actors study their entire lives. To choose a good class, ask trusted, successful professionals for references.
Step4Get a headshot (see "How to Get a Headshot," under Related eHows).
Step5Compose a resumé of all the work you have done so far. As your body of work grows, drop the less professional work (such as school plays) from your resumé.
Step6Send your headshot and resumé with a brief cover letter to all the casting directors and agents in your area. Follow up with postcards every four to six months, updating them on your current acting projects.
Step7Read the trade papers regularly: "Backstage," "Dramalogue," "The Ross Reports" and "Variety," as well as online publications such as newenglandfilm.com, as appropriate. Know what is being cast where, and send headshots and notes directly to directors and producers whenever possible, requesting auditions.
Step8Always accept invitations to industry events and parties, and meet industry professionals whenever possible. Who you know is extremely important.