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Last Updated on November 8, 2020 by Hunter Phoenix
With so many acting hopefuls arriving in New York and LA everyday, with big dreams of fame, fortune and celebrity lifestyles…. or at least of finding acting work or modeling or voiceover gigs, the competition can be pretty stiff! On the major casting sites, such as Actors Access or Casting Networks, it’s pretty typical for casting directors to receive 3,000 – 5,000 submissions for every single role available. Yup! No kidding. Even in markets that are less crowded, such as Atlanta, Chicago, New Orleans, Toronto, Vancouver, London and Sydney, the competition is pretty tight. Finding places to apply or submit for acting auditions is the first step, but actually being called in (pre-Covid, almost everything is remote and virtual these days) or being invited to audition is a whole next step. With so many people competing for the same acting job, how do you improve your chances of getting one of the coveted audition spots? And yes, they are limited.
Here are the best ways you can stand out from the crowd and improve your chances of getting an acting audition in LA, New York or your home town.
1. Keep the Crazies in Check
This is a business, and as I already mentioned, a highly competitive one. I know it can be tempting to resort to gimmicks to stand-out from the crowd, but do you really want to be “that” person? Be careful with what you want to be known for; professionalism, talent and good work ethic are all exceptionally memorable.
2. Respect the Process and the People
I cringe every time I hear about an actor blowing off an audition, yet casting directors and agents say this all the time. Big budget projects get thousands of submissions, and it’s not uncommon for smaller budget and indie projects to get at least a couple of hundred per role. So yes, if you land one of those audition spots, which are usually 20 – 30 at the outside, it’s gold! You are already in the top 10% or even less. Respect the project, the people and the process. If you really feel that the role is not a good fit for you or you have a conflict with dates, let everyone know upfront. The industry is smaller than you think and memories are long.
3. Have Professional Materials
If I haven’t made the point super clear, let me drive it home again, this is a ridiculously competitive business. And it is a business. Sub-standard materials just aren’t going to cut it. If everyone you’re going up against has professionally taken headshots, having a friend bang out a few pics of you on their iPhone just isn’t going to cut it. Your headshots need to be professional and industry standard for your market, and your resume the same. Make sure that your online casting profiles are up to date, including your IMDB page if you have one. Professional materials get considered where as non-professional stuff hits the trash pretty fast.
4. Don’t Neglect Your Social Media
Will your social media make it or break it as to whether you get cast or not? The jury seems to be out on this one. It really depends on the project, what their goal is and what their parameters are. For some projects, absolutely, for others, not at all. BUT if you’re looking for auditions, assume that casting directors, directors, writers and producers are looking at your social media. Especially since Covid hit, entertainment industry professionals have taken to social media like wildfire. Suddenly, and industry that usually needs everything done yesterday ground to a screeching halt, and, industry professionals, probably for the first time in decades, found themselves with time on their hands. Yes, they are on social media. I’ve heard a number of casting directors say that “your Instagram profile is more important than your website”. Ideally, you should have both. But honestly, I think actors’ websites are soon becoming a thing of the past. Your social media doesn’t have to have huge numbers, but make sure your bio is tight and all of your materials are up to date.
For more on what to include on your social media profiles read:
5. Keep Training and Updating Your Skills
One thing that casting directors do look at is training. They want to know that you are a pro and take your craft seriously. It also helps them to see where your strengths are. Have you done a lot of classical scene study, sit-com training, stage combat, improv or singing? Your training paints a picture of who you are as an actor and where you are focusing your energy at this point in your career.
6. Know Your Type
No, you can’t play anything and everything, neither can I…. or anyone else. Even Meryl Streep who is arguably one of the most sought after and versatile actresses of all time, has her limits. She is not going to get the same roles as Julia Roberts, Charlize Theron, Jennifer Lawrence, Zoe Saldana, Mindy Kaling or Emma Stone. In fact none of these incredibly talented actresses are in competition with each other. Know what your type is what roles you are most suited for, where are you most likely to be cast? Just because you love the project or love the script doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good fit. Queen of the South (about high-powered drug smuggling from Mexico) is one of my favorite TV shows, and as much as I love it, it doesn’t have a lot of roles for my type. (Lol!) Try to submit on projects and for roles that are the best fit for you – especially if you are paying for submissions. Just blindly submitting on every random project is tiring, gets poor results and can be expensive.
Which brings me to the last point….
7. There’s Enough to Go Around
Take a look at the example of the A-list actresses above; it would be ridiculous for them to fight over roles because they are all very different types and we love seeing all of them! Yes, certain characters and types go in and out of style, and yes, that sucks, but it tends to be a bit of a revolving cycle, meaning it all comes around again. Right now, focus on where you do fit in, not where you don’t.
I hope this has been super helpful for you, now I’d love to hear from you….
- What kind of auditions would you love to get?
- What tv shows would you love to be on?
- Is there a movie franchise you are dying to be cast in?
- And where do you live? What city / country / market?
Head to the comments section below and let me know! I’ll be sure to respond to everyone.
Sharing is caring! If you liked or loved this article or think that maybe it can help someone else… share it, post it, pin it tweet it! It’s a tough business and we could all use a little help!