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8 tips on how to make it on Tv as a dancer

Believe it or not, as much as budgets, in certain areas, in the film and television industry might have been cut, self-tapes and auditions are still happening. More so now, more content is being consumed on digital platforms. We’ve Spent 1.6 Trillion Hours On Mobile So Far In 2020.

We can only imagine what 2021 is going to look like.

When you start to branch out into the TV sphere, you learn that there’s a whole lot more involved in finding success in this space – even if you are just doing Commercials (as I am currently), some of the things I have found noteworthy in this journey from Dancer to Television Performer and aspiring Actor are as follows:

Find an agent, Those people of power in this case are Talent Modeling Acting Agencies Research and find the one that best suits what you desire to achieve

1) Find an agent:

  • In our dance industry, we go to a few auditions and if we are lucky, we get to book some work often enough to survive or we know a few people in positions of “power” that help us get in there.
  • Those people of power in this case are Talent/Modeling/Acting Agencies. Research and find the one that best suits what you desire to achieve.

2) Build a relationship with your Agent:

Get to know your agents and let them get to know you. You do this by talking to them: let them know what you desire, what fits you best, what are your boundaries and where you may need help. It makes it easier for them to help you get where you want to get to.


  • This industry unlike the dance one here, is a game of Ding Dong Ditch without the ditch: You have to keep knocking until the doors open, many won’t but you have to keep at it until they start to open. When they do, there’s somewhat of a domino effect a – Fibonacci sequence if you will.

2020 KFC Big 50th collection advert, Genesis Shirindza (left)

4) Be Accountable:

For more opportunities to present themselves to you, you have to be accountable – attend your auditions, and communicate with your agency if you cannot make it.

5) Get acquainted with SAPAMA, PMA and NAMA rules and regulations:

  • This will help you understand your rates, percentages, usage and how to calculate them.

You will learn that Time is money in everything – even in situations such as a Wardrobe call – according to the 2015 Local Performer’s agreement (unsure whether it has been updated) the “first 2 hours of a wardrobe call are free and thereafter it is R250 per hour or part thereof.”

6) Tax:

  • Firstly, you need to have your tax number handy.
  • Secondly, since you’re a freelancer, your tax falls under PAYE, which then allows you to claim whatever was taxed from you from the job you did when Tax season starts. To be able to claim, you need an IRP5.

Your IRP5s should be loaded onto your SARS profile. If not, QUERY IT with your agent.

7) Agency Fees

  • You shouldn’t be paying for membership fees, your agents take a cut from every job you do, and it’s at a max of 25%.

Sometimes modelling agencies tend to take 30%, – I don’t know why however.

8) Dress the Part:

  • Last but not least, Dress the part! Know what you are going to audition for and prepare! If there is no script – dress up, practice the nuances and movement that you may need to do.

The television industry is not an easy one and it is not for everyone – You will endure a copious amount of rejection but keep at it, and make sure to keep educating yourself on your craft as well as the industry as whole – ask people who are well seasoned, ask your agents, read articles and speak to people on set if you get the opportunity to ever be on a set – Speak to Directors, Wardrobe, Make-Up, Producers – Don’t be obnoxious but leave a memorable memory of you.

Written by: Genesis Shirindza

Dance Africa Network Team

Africa's largest growing Dance Network. Connecting the dot's to better our culture.

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