Acting Dubai – The ultimate guide – From creating your own style and brand to nailing the casting call and landing your first role, this article will focus on the tricks of the trade you need in order to achieve success with your new found career goal: To start professional acting in Dubai.
We have spoken to industry experts, casting agents, model bookers, producers and directors what they thought was the best advice to upcoming and new-started actors in Dubai and accumulated the advices into this article, for you to benefit. Grab a pen, paper and a great cup of coffee and take notes from the below tips.
Read the full guide below!
Before you start your Acting career in Dubai
– What kind of acting?
Many people get confused here, but acting is a very general term for the business, since you might act in movies, act in theaters, act in commercials or just do background work as extras, secondary roles, non-monologue roles etc. Do your homework, set a goal and be determined on mastering one aspect of acting first.
– Build a acting resume
Acting is like any other job and you don’t apply to jobs by sending out a head shot in a WhatsApp message to the CEO of the company you want to work for. A resume should state your professional experience, acting desires, personal info and training you have undergone. If you don’t have any experience, don’t worry – everyone starts from scratch at some point, but it’s very important to ALWAYS tell the truth. If you don’t have experience, never put ‘experienced actor’ in your resume. Dubai and UAE in general is such a small country and production landscape, that most casting directors and producers knows exactly who did what in the past 12 months. So when you put ‘Smaller role in Fast & Furious movie’ on your resume, you better be ready to defend it when the casting agents asks if you’ve met on the set and who hired you for the production.
– Have professional acting head shots ready (read our guide to a professional head shot)
Head shots, the first obstacle you have to master on your path to becoming an actor (or at least to land a role). Forget everything you THINK you know and focus on showing the true you.. This means, no or at least very little makeup in clothes that doesn’t take attention away from your features, from front and sides, closeup on your face and full body. See examples of great head shots on Anna’s profile
– Practice, Practice, Practice.
Act! In front of your sister, in front of your friends, in front of the mirror. Location and timing doesn’t matter as much as getting training. Many undergo acting schools but although this is a very good place to start your professional careers, it is not a requirement to become an actor. You can do Acting Training or Acting Workshops in several places in Dubai and benefit heavily from these mini courses but again, it’s not required.
Reading monologue and practicing expressions helps tremendously as well if you plan on acting for theater or parts with monologue in a TV series or commercial. You can find many free monologues you can practice on here : http://www.monologuedb.com/category/film/
Creating your own brand
Creating your own brand is the process of creating a unique name & image for yourself, with a consistent theme. This pretty much sums it up, but achieving this can be tough.
– Clean up your social media profiles
yes, we are not kidding – most Casting Agents will Google your profiles, and the number #1 reason for not landing a casting call is if the Casting Agent finds intimidating posts on Social Media. Political statements, semi nudity, racial statements or profanity can be the reason you will never hear anything from the casting agent after submitting your resume. Clean up your act!
– Define your personal brand
What sets you apart from everyone else? What makes you unique as a person? This should be your defining moment- but you have to be ready for these questions on a potential casting call and make sure to deliver the message in your resume. Stand out from the crowd, be original.
Remember, first impression matters in this business – like-ability is a real thing and if the Casting Agent doesn’t like you or if he feels that you don’t have what it takes, you will most likely not hear from the agent ever.
Ask yourself questions as “What am I good at”, “What comes natural to me”, “What is my goal with starting to act”. The answers to these questions might be the exact reason a Casting Agent would choose you.
– Be consistent, Be yourself.
Don’t write something in a resume just to please a Casting Agent, it’s better to be consistent and true to yourself. The day will come where everything in your resume will be questioned by a Casting Agent and they have enough experience to sort out the fake people from the bunch.
Acting Schools and Workshops in Dubai
There is plenty of Acting schools and Acting workshops in Dubai, we have gathered a few of them so you can research for yourself.
New York Film Academy 4 or 8 week programs
Desert Monologues Acting Workshop
From DramaWorkshopDubai comes the yearly Desert Monologues 8 week Acting Workshop
Drama Scene Dubai (for kids and teens)
Impact Centres Dubai Drama Workshop
Manhattan Film Academy Acting Workshop
Getting into Casting Calls in Dubai
You now have a basic foundation for your new acting career and you are ready to start the next phase of your acting career in Dubai: Self Promotion.
– Self promotion in Dubai
Self Promotion is the art of knocking on doors. As you probably already figured out this requires you to do actual work, since the only roadblock between you and a acting role, is getting noticed. Send you resume and headshots to casting agents, producers, directors, movie makers, theaters. Don’t be discouraged by rejection, it might require 50-60-70 maybe even 100 applications before you get a phone call and casting invitation.
Another great way is signing up with services as Mixfame.com where you can create your free acting profile, add your headshots and videos as well as experience. This will allow casting agents to find you 24/7 and when there is an opening that fits your description you will receive an email or phonecall directly. – Sign up for casting calls in Dubai
Most importantly in this phase, Apply, Apply, Apply – don’t let any chance go to waste.
– Finding Casting Calls in Dubai
- Mixfame.com lists recent casting calls in Dubai
- Mandy.com lists recent casting calls in Dubai (http://www.mandy.com/castings.php?country=AE)
- FilmWorks Dubai (http://www.filmworksgroup.com/)
- Dubizzle.com lists casting calls (search for ‘Casting’ or ‘Acting’)
- Facebook Groups such as (https://www.facebook.com/groups/187303705386/ and https://www.facebook.com/groups/DubaiModelsAndActors/)
- Drama Schools lists Casting Calls but mostly theater roles (http://dramaworkshopsdubai.com/)
– Finding an Casting Agent in Dubai
Finding an Casting Agent in Dubai might increase your chances of landing a casting call, If the Casting Agent believes that you have what i takes. Several agencies in Dubai offer these services but it usually comes with a heavy price. We have seen agencies charging 50-60% of the potential pay from a role, for casting services. Who wants to be left with AED 400,- after working a role that pays AED 1.000,-? In some cases however, a Casting Agent can negotiate better terms for you and secure your payment from the client but you have to understand that a Casting Agent will have 100’s of people on his records so you will have to be pretty special to get the full attention.
You can find Casting Agents in Dubai easily or contact any of the Acting Schools in Dubai as they will know where and how to get in touch with an Agent. Scroll further down this article to find acting schools in Dubai.
Acting in Dubai !
– If you are new to the business, take the free work as well!
In the many hundreds of castings we’ve done it’s obvious that some people has an ego the size of an elephant. Because you know the steps to becoming an actor and train in front of the mirror at home, it does _not_ make you an actor.
I’ve seen so many aspiring talents turn down roles that was unpaid, because they thought they were too good to work without getting paid for it. This is the number 1 mistake an amateur can make in Dubai – your reputation will get you jobs. If you don’t have an reputation you need to create one by working anything you can get your hands on.
Apply for everything, even free work and get the experience from the work. Unless you have been to acting school, you didn’t have to give up years of your time to study for this, so give up a few days for some free work. This is how you build relationships, reputation and experience!
The Audition – Tips from Industry Experts
- Show gratitude and passion. When you get an invitation to audition for a role, show gratitude and passion. Don’t just reply an email invitation but call the director up and let him know you are excited to come and display your skills.
- Show you are confident. Acting is exactly that, don’t let somebody or something put you down. Enter the audition with confidence that you are the right person for this role, but be careful not to cross the thin line to overconfident.
- Don’t ever make excuses. Messed up a dialogue? Failed at the expression? Don’t excuse but simply ask for a quick rewind and try again. If you don’t feel you nailed it 2nd time continue on and focus on the remainding part.
- “Any Questions?” Usually this is the start of your audition, don’t be fooled and start asking questions. Instead say “No Questions” and start your audition! This shows confidence and that you own the room. Casting directors loves that.
- Don’t worry about the casting director. Many actors get nervous about what the casting director is thinking. Don’t. The casting director will see hundreds of people usually and only think about what you show them. If you show signs of nervousness this is what he will think about.
- Make the first 15 seconds count. The first 15 seconds of an audition is usually what sets the tone of the entire audition. Bring good vibes, smiles, humor and put your best performance on.
- Use variety in the Audition. Usually you will be asked to read a monologue for a bigger role. If the monologue involves emotions don’t get fixated on one expression. If a character is angry, when is the right time to show remorse? If the character is humorous, when is the right time to show a serious expression?
- Act it out. Acting is not talking, acting is showing or doing. Don’t let the casting director direct you, show him you understand exactly how to act the scene or monologue.
- Homework, Homework, Homework. Showing up to an audition without being prepared is disastrous. You might as well have left before auditioning. Be prepared, read about the role, gather as much info you can to make the casting director show that you know your stuff.
- Don’t mime or juggle 3 balls while acting. Acting is simple, its showing or doing expressions and emotions. Creating a circus around a casting is bad and removes focus from whats important. Keep it simple!
- Being quiet is acting. Sometimes a pause in your monologue can show more emotions and expressions than reading on. Remember that being quiet is a powerful tool.
- Undestand the character in the audition. Sometimes you have to read between the lines before your audition, it’s not a public reading. The casting director expects you to figure out the emotional tone and subtones in a character.
- An audition is a rehearsal. Every time you audition you rehearse your acting skills. Treat it like a rehearsal and learn from experience and mistakes.
- Keep your personal view on the character. Don’t go to an audition and act out what you think the casting director wants to see. Act out what you see in the role. Its much easier to put on a winning show with your personal interpretation on the role than trying to act out what you think they expect.
- Have fun! Many fear the audition but you shouldn’t. You should go out and have fun doing it, after all – what is left when you leave the room if you didn’t have fun doing it?