If you’re passionate about performing arts, and dream of turning that passion into a career, then this article is for you.
The entertainment industry is hugely competitive, so you’ll need to have a natural talent or be prepared to train hard. In fact, whether you’re naturally talented or not, you’ll still need to spend a lot of time practising, honing your skills and learning from your mistakes.
And even then, it’s not easy.
So, let me entertain you with a few suggestions on how to become an entertainer!
A natural aptitude for comedy, singing or acting is a great start, but the following attributes are also essential if you’re to make a success of your chosen career:
Performing can be a nerve-wracking experience. Getting on stage in front of an audience requires a considerable amount of confidence and self-esteem as you are inviting others to judge your talent.
However, if your confidence needs a boost, there’s a lot you can do to improve it. Joining an amateur dramatic society, orchestra or dance group will help, as will entering talent contests or competitions.
Most entertainers are self-employed and will need to write their own scripts and choreograph their own performances. You must be able to develop original shows and think of creative ways in which to express yourself to an audience.
Working as a professional in the world of entertainment requires excellent planning and time management skills. In a production environment it’s imperative that you are aware of deadlines and can manage your schedule to accommodate multiple projects or tasks, including juggling a second job if necessary.
For most people, getting into the entertainment industry will require continuous effort. If you’re determined to succeed, you will need to be persistent. No matter how many unsuccessful auditions you attend, you have to keep going; one day, you will be selected – but only if you persevere.
This is often confused with perseverance. However, resilience refers to our ability to bounce back in the face of adversity. For an entertainer this might mean multiple rejections, having your comedy routine fall flat, or fluffing a note during a solo. However, if you can put your feelings aside when you suffer a setback, learn from it, and move on to the next opportunity, you will become more resilient and adaptable.
Skills & Qualifications
Having good interpersonal skills is vital. Clearly you need to interact well with your audience, but you will also need to communicate with potential clients, venue managers, other entertainers and, in the longer term, fans.
When you are in the spotlight, everything you say or do is judged, not just your entertaining skills, so no matter how bad your day may have been, take a deep breath, smile and think before you speak.
While you don’t need any formal qualifications to become an entertainer, there are several colleges and universities where you can study performing arts:
- RADA – Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
- LAMDA – London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art
- LIPA – Liverpool Institute for Performing Art
- Royal Academy of Music
- BIMM – British and Irish Modern Music Institute (based in Dublin and UK).
Bear in mind, however, that while these colleges are renowned for their excellence, entry onto their courses is very competitive.
Many entertainers are self-taught. To gain experience as an entertainer you could:
- Offer your skills for free at a charity event or elderly day-care centre
- Take part in a talent contest or open-mic event
- Join an amateur dramatic society
- Offer to help at a children’s drama club
- Perform at a local fete, street performance or fringe festival
- Network with other aspiring entertainers
- Volunteer at a holiday camp or theme park.
We’ve dedicated an entier article on how to get more gigs. However, here are some of the key points:
If you’re doing a gig and someone is interested in booking you, a business card is so much more professional than scribbling your mobile number or email on a scrap of paper, and it’s much less likely to get mislaid.
Everyone needs to start somewhere, but once you’ve put yourself out there and become known in the local area, it’s time to start marketing yourself and making some cash. OK, so you could hire an agent, but there are less costly ways to promote your business including:
If you have the skills to create your own website, this is a great money-saving option. However, it is well worth paying an expert to create a website where you can promote your business and where clients can make bookings.
You might also consider advertising your talents on a website such as Party Wizz.com, which partners with quality professionals to provide its clients with the best hand-picked and vetted entertainers.
Building a fan base on social media will be critical to your success by enabling you to engage and communicate with fans. Amassing a social media following is, however, reliant on much more than simply creating a fan page and posting photographs.
- Less is more
Having a good social media presence on a couple of platforms is more effective than stretching yourself too thinly across multiple sites. Your rule of thumb should always be to do only the number of sites you can do well. When you have decided which sites to post on, make sure you link them for maximum exposure.
- Research and analyse
Working out who your target audience is will enable you to use the social media platform they are most likely to engage with. Take note of whether users are engaging with your posts or not; it’s pointless continuing with the same strategy if they’re not.
Don’t forget to respond to comments. The more engaging you are, the more likely people are to book you, and to leave positive reviews.
Be a professional entertainer
Finally, whether you are offering your skills for free or are lucky enough to be gaining paid experience, it goes without saying that you should act (no pun intended!) in a professional manner. In practice, this means turning up well ahead of time and being well prepared. It’s the same for every job, entertainment related or not, but it’s especially important in an industry where the competition is tough.
We hope this article has helped you in your quest to become an entertainer. And, while we won’t have covered everything, we trust you’ve found our suggestions useful and that they’ve inspired you to pursue your passion.