You sound like you're on the right track to me! Keep doing what you're doing.
Since you'll be off to high school by next year, try discussing with your parents the possibility of going to a high school that's especially geared for performing arts aspirants. There are many in NY area, and I think LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in NY may be very close to you! Being associated with a reputable school in a big city will heighten your chances of being exposed to the industry.
I'm aware that the performing arts is an expensive discipline to go into, so ask your parents what the financial implications would be. If finances are a bit tough, then be pro active by looking for scholarship offers to study at such schools, find out their requirements and work hard to fulfill them. Being on scholarship will mean that school will have to be your priority, as you will be required to stay within a certain GPA margin in order to keep qualifying for the scholarship. Watch out that you don't fall into the temptations of "better offers". She who finishes what she started is the one who will endure the race of life.
At school, befriend creative partners who have a strong message to get out there, spend your free time making projects and working hard to excel in them. Get good mentors to refine your professional identity. Ace your grades and be the top student. Practice, practice, practice... work as hard as you can, even harder than every body else. Learn everything you can.
If your parents aren't cool about you going to a high school specialised for performing arts, then don't force it on them. Go to the high school they want you to, and take as many dance and drama and performing arts classes as you can, as well as subjects that might enrich your intellectual reference for the content of your performances, such as history, psychology, foreign language, literature or science. Join performing arts clubs of your interest and enter competitions as a representative of your school. Get a Duke of Edinburgh award and perform at the Eisteddfods, among others. If you are academically very strong, you might like to look for schools which offer the IB (International Baccalaureate) program, as one of the groups of subjects offered is the arts, of which theater and dance are options. IB alumni typically have bright futures as their endurance in the program proves that they are disciplined and dilligent enough to excel high standards.
As a side project, join readings and workshops at a local theater company as an understudy for a production (one that you love to bits, and only one). Stay in the ensemble for years and get to know your characters very well--become them! Watch the actors you are studying under perform the character over and over again, and learn something from them. Make goals that at some point you actually become the primary actor. This will give you experience as a stage actor.
As for film and TV acting, I suggest you start by doing video projects for school and polishing them to look real good, both in terms of acting as well as in terms of aesthetics and technicalities. Compile these into a portfolio. Have professional cast pictures of yourself taken for your profile, and write your CV stating every experience, skills, qualifications, and accomplishments under your wing, and any evidence thereof. Sign up for professional agencies and actors unions, as these will facilitate you being connected to the industry.
If you get job offers, great. But remember that you should still put your school on top priority, because you want to shape yourself as someone who always finishes what you started. This philosophy will give you something to hold on to even when your career, the industry, or your life is going shaky. Don't take up jobs that will make you compromise school--at least not in high school.
In college you may be a little more flexible, as you will be more financially responsible for yourself and age begins to matter less then. You can take up minor jobs anytime, like recurring roles in a TV series for x number of episodes only, or a minor character in a movie, or a dancer in a music video, as long as it doesn't interfere with your semester's course work. In college you can be more aggressive than in high school in aiming for major breakthroughs in your career as an actress. If you land with a major contract while in college, it's best that you get a job that requires you to start working after wrapping up your current semester; if necessary then you can take a semester break from college to focus on your career first, and resume your studies after the project.
Again, always finish what you start. This will give you the kind of quality and integrity rarely found in today's world, and the people you work with will respect you for that.
All the best, you have a bright future ahead of you!
Answered By: Mizz G - 2/7/2010