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6 Steps on How to Get into Acting in NYC


Are you an aspiring actor looking to make it big in the Big Apple but feeling overwhelmed by the sheer size of the city’s acting industry? You’re not alone. 

Entering the vibrant entertainment scene can be challenging. You might wonder, “How do I get into acting in NYC?” or “Where do I even start?”

First, know that New York City is a bustling hub for acting talent, offering tons of opportunities. One of the best ways to get started is by enrolling in NYC acting classes. These classes provide the essential training you need, helping you develop the skills necessary to be a great actor on stage and screen.

This blog aims to guide you through the journey of launching your acting career in NYC. We’ll cover everything from finding the right training to landing roles and making connections with key industry players. If you’re just starting or looking to take the next step, consider this guide your roadmap to success.

Key Takeaways

  • NYC offers diverse opportunities for acting training, including classes at acting schools like the Maggie Flanigan Studio to build essential skills.
  • Participating in student films and theater productions, and networking at industry events helps actors gain experience and build connections.
  • Continuing to study acting techniques, refine skills, and set goals helps actors stay competitive and thrive in NYC.

Understanding the New York Acting Scene

Emmy awardee and private acting coach Erin Cherry teaching a class at Maggie Flanigan Studio.

In NYC, actors can find a tremendous amount of opportunity, from Broadway, off-Broadway, and off-off-Broadway theater productions to film & television opportunities and independent films. This variety provides well-trained, serious actors a way to pursue a professional acting career.

To support this journey, the best NYC’s acting schools and acting classes offer comprehensive training, helping actors develop the skills and techniques to create organic, vivid, fully realized human behavior. 

Conservatory training should offer classes in voice, movement, theater history, script analysis, film history, classical text, Shakespeare, cold reading, and dialects. This approach to training actors will build a solid foundation, and help you to sustain a long and productive acting career.

Casting directors and talent agents play key roles in helping actors secure roles across film, TV, and theater. Additionally, theater companies and industry events offer invaluable networking opportunities, connecting actors with industry professionals and other actors, writers, and directors.

These connections can foster relationships that lead to future roles, helping actors build relationships and grow their acting careers in this bustling city.

How to Get into Acting in NYC

Students taking movement classes at Maggie Flanigan Studio.

New York City offers a vibrant environment for actors with its diverse opportunities in film, TV, and theater, making it an excellent environment to pursue an acting career.

Here are essential steps to help you launch and grow your acting career in NYC:

1. Start with proper training

Proper training is crucial for building a successful acting career. Maggie Flanigan Studio provides comprehensive programs that help actors build a strong foundation and prepare them for success in the entertainment industry.

Our acting studio’s two-year conservatory program is divided into fall and spring semesters, with a summer semester offering various programs, including the Six-Week Summer Meisner Intensive and the Professional Actor Training Program (PATP). This flexible schedule allows students to take acting classes year-round.

The studio’s first-year curriculum includes Acting 1, along with classes such as Voice 1 & 2, Movement 1 & 2, Film History, Theater History, Breathwork for Actors, Dialects, Chekhov, and Stage & Film Combat. The second-year program also offers additional classes, such as Acting 2 Script Analysis, Movement 3 & 4, Voice 3 &4, Classical Text, Shakespeare, Chekhov, Dialects,   and Cold Reading.

This comprehensive curriculum covers the full two-year progression of the Meisner Technique, as well as a movement progression focusing on the Williamson Technique, Laban, Suzuki, Viewpoints, and Kristin LInklater’s incredible voice training. This conservatory approach greatly helps actors develop a solid foundation. 

Our studio also offers the Meisner Summer Intensive, a six-week professional acting program. Its goal is to introduce aspiring actors to rigorous, professional training, while also nurturing actors, and providing them with a safe and supportive space to realize their fullest artistic potential.

2. Gain practical experience

Practical experience is essential for actors to grow their careers. Participating in student films or indie films provides an excellent way to build a portfolio and gain experience. These projects offer valuable acting opportunities and help actors put into practice their acting training, preparing them for the professional demands of the industry.

Theater productions offer another valuable avenue for experience. Off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway shows provide essential stage experience, helping actors develop stage presence and hone their acting techniques. 

Working as background actors can also offer invaluable on-set experience, providing insight into the film industry and the chance to work alongside seasoned film actors. This experience helps actors learn the dynamics of film production, from interacting with industry professionals to working effectively on set, building their acting skills for future jobs. 

That said, if you are serious about pursuing a professional career, you will want to limit how much background work you actually do. You don’t want to run the risk of casting directors only viewing you as an extra actor.

3. Build your network and industry connections

Maggie Flanigan Studio students with personal performance and business coach Micky Chorny.

Joining acting groups and theater companies can give actors the chance to meet other actors and creative artists, and gain valuable insights into the industry. These groups can also help actors connect with peers and build relationships, facilitating collaboration and mentorship. 

Many actors find that these acting groups create opportunities to share experiences, seek advice from acting coaches, and discover valuable acting opportunities.

Attending industry events and casting calls provides additional networking opportunities, connecting actors with industry professionals and helping them build relationships that can lead to future roles. 

These events allow actors to interact with casting directors and talent agents, gaining valuable feedback and establishing connections that can lead to acting jobs across film, TV, and theater.

Casting directors and talent agents play crucial roles in securing acting opportunities. Developing relationships with these professionals helps actors advance their career paths. They provide insights into casting preferences, enhancing an actor’s chances of success in the audition room and landing a major role.

4. Build an online presence

Creating a professional website is essential for actors looking to showcase their achievements and acting goals. This helps present a polished and cohesive image, making it easier for casting directors and talent agents to assess an actor’s suitability for roles. 

A well-crafted website with a professional headshot and edited demo reel is a professional standard, and provides a comprehensive overview of an actor’s work. This helps actors present themselves as a serious professional and will attract more opportunities across the acting industry.

To engage with the industry, network with peers, and promote their work to a broader audience, maintaining an up-to-date social media presence is also a must. This engagement helps actors stay relevant, connect with other actors, and potentially land acting jobs and auditions.

Joining casting websites also provides more exposure, increasing the likelihood of securing acting jobs and landing auditions. These platforms help actors stay informed about new roles, casting calls, and trends in the industry, supporting their career path from the very beginning.

5. Master the job market

Mastering audition techniques is crucial for success in the acting industry. Preparing for the audition room and creating a particular character effectively helps actors stand out, making them more appealing to casting directors and talent agents. 

Since many actors need to support their aspirations, especially at the start of their acting career, having a survival job is often necessary. Balancing acting with a day job helps sustain a budding career, providing financial stability and flexibility to pursue opportunities. This balance allows actors to stay dedicated to their craft and progress towards their acting goals.

To further diversify an actor’s portfolio and increase acting opportunities, most actors develop additional skills, such as stand-up or improv comedy or dance. These special skills make actors more versatile and appealing for a range of roles, opening up avenues in film, TV, and theater.

6. Keep growing

Watching movies and reading scripts is essential for actors to study techniques and styles. 

By consuming film & television, and reading plays, actors are able to observe the nuances of different performances and gain more insight into how to approach a piece of material. This helps them learn from successful actors and apply those insights to their craft, helping actors refine their skills and stay up-to-date on trends in the acting industry.

Advanced training is also crucial for growth. Returning to acting coaches, enrolling in an advanced scene study, or attending improv classes sharpens skills, helping actors reach their acting goals. This formal training can make actors more versatile and competitive, whether they’re aiming to become TV, musical theater, or film actors.

To stay committed to their careers and continuously develop their craft, it is essential for actors to have a clear vision of the kind of artist they want to be. This approach provides a clear career path for actors to follow, allowing them to track their progress and stay motivated in the acting industry.

Maggie Flanigan Studio: Your Path to Acting Success in NYC

While knowing the steps on how to get into NYC’s acting scene can help, having the right support and training is essential to turn that knowledge into a thriving acting career. 

The Maggie Flanigan Studio provides comprehensive programs designed to help actors build the skills needed for success in film, TV, and theater. Our two-year conservatory program offers acting classes that cover everything from the Meisner acting technique to movement and voice lessons, helping actors build their craft. 

The Professional Actor Business Program provides additional insights into the entertainment industry, including managing a social media presence, mastering your audition technique, working with casting directors and talent agents, securing your headshots and demo-reel, and creating a professional website.

This diverse curriculum gives actors the flexibility to take acting classes year-round. 

Ready to kickstart your journey and become an actor in a major city like NYC? Call us today and let us help you achieve your acting goals.


Starting and growing an acting career in New York City is a challenging but rewarding journey. With its diverse opportunities in film, TV, and theater, NYC provides a vibrant landscape for aspiring actors and seasoned professionals alike. 

By taking acting classes at the Maggie Flanigan Studio, actors can develop the skills and techniques necessary for success, from mastering the Meisner technique to building a professional network. 

Staying committed, balancing career aspirations with a day job, and engaging in ongoing training can help actors succeed. 

For those ready to start acting or take their career path to the next level, NYC offers countless opportunities to help you become a professional theater or film actor and thrive.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do beginners get into acting?

Beginners can start by taking acting classes to develop essential skills and techniques. Acting studios like the Maggie Flanigan Studio provide comprehensive programs, including classes on Meisner’s acting method, movement, and voice training, helping beginners build a solid foundation. 

Additionally, participating in student films, independent films, and local theater productions provides valuable experience and networking opportunities.

Is New York a good place for acting?

New York is an excellent place for acting due to its vibrant entertainment industry and diverse opportunities. The city offers a range of theater productions, from Broadway to off-off-Broadway, along with film and TV projects. 

Acting schools and industry professionals in NYC help actors build skills and connections, making it a thriving hub for aspiring and successful actors alike.

Should I move to NY or LA for acting?

Choosing between NY and LA for acting depends on your interests and career goals. 

NYC offers a rich theater scene, with opportunities across Broadway and off-Broadway shows, while LA is known for its film industry. Both cities provide acting schools and casting opportunities, so consider which industry’s focus aligns with your aspirations to become an actor.

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