Audition: as actors we often wait, hope and pray for them. Auditions are our lifeblood. They mean getting in front of a casting director, which means getting a shot at a job, which means a little more cash in the bank account and sometimes a badly needed pat on the back and confirmation that we are on the right track and this isn’t all a pipe dream.
But acting is a business, and waiting and hoping seldom produce results in any business. McDonald’s has been around for half a century and is arguably one of the most successful companies in the world, but we’re all hoping to book on of their commercials. Yes, they still advertise. And as far as praying goes? My word of advice, is to pray with your feet! Ask God / The Universe / The Divine for a blessing but don’t ask for your work to be done for you.
So what does that leave? You guessed it, good old fashioned direct pitching, connecting, relationships and marketing.
1. Send Postcards
Yes, they have been around since the dawn of acting time. And postcards can take many different forms, from purely factual, to funny and attention getting. If you think they are outdated or don’t work, look at the flyers in your mailbox. Big companies wouldn’t keep doing this if they didn’t feel there was a return on investment. And consider this, if you are not sending out postcards, I can guarantee you your competition is.
2. Self Submit
Do sit around waiting for your agents or manager to do everything for you. This is still your business, your career and your life. Jump on some of the online casting sites and submit on whatever you feel you are truly right for and either going to pay you, give you great exposure or decent footage. The three biggies in the U.S. are Actor’s Access, Casting Networks / LA Casting and Casting Frontier.
3. Attend Workshops
There has been a lot of controversy over casting workshops in the last few years, but the bottom line is that they still work! This gives you some face to face time with casting directors that can be hard to get any other way. And hey, these people know a thing or two. Trust what they have to say. You just might learn something.
4. Do Drop-Offs
Joy Nash booked a series lead in Dietland from doing a drop-off at a casting office. If you know there’s a part that you’re right for, personally drop off your headshots and resume at the casting office and put a Post-It on it with the name of the role and part you want. Introduce yourself when you drop your packet off. Alternately, haven’t seen a CD in a while, or maybe ever? Do a quick drop off at the office and help them put a real person the the submission they receive from your agent.
5. Get Social
Please don’t groan, I know you that probably hate it, but it works, and social media is here to stay. (and yes, I have personally booked meetings and auditions and work form my social media connections.) On Facebook, jump into groups – there are a ton of agents, managers and casting directors on there. The same goes for Instagram and Twitter, but connecting is a little different. Follow, engage, be a person and not a creepy stalker begging for work. We’re all people and nothing can replace genuine connection.
6. Pitch Every Week
Another thing you probably hate hearing me say, but this is a business and ya gotta do the sales part. Take some ideas from the list above and pitch at least 5 times per week. Do this every week, week in and week out, and trust me, you will eventually build momentum.
7. Stay Positive
Yes, at times this can wear you down. But if you keep sending out ships, eventually one or two of them is going to come rolling back in. Consistently get in front of your “buyers” – casting directors, producers, and writers. Careers are long and the industry is smaller than you think! Eventually it’ll pay off!