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Laurieby Karen Michel Pavlick

My child is stuck in the body of an actor!

Here is a note that was posted on the wall at one of my most recent callbacks.

“1,100 actors were submitted,

300 were called in
62 of you were called back for 4 different roles.
So Congrats! You deserve to be here.”

QUESTIONS: I recently signed up on LA Casting, but have not yet been called for an audition. An agent showed interest in signing me, after a director I auditioned for referred me, but my mom was concerned about the commitment of multiple auditions. How often do agents send youth on auditions, and what are some other ways to get auditions?

ACTORS: First of all, acting is a commitment for both the young actor and the parent. I can understand why your mom is concerned; she would be the one taking the calls from the agent, confirming the audition and driving you after school, usually in 5 o’clock traffic! 

Yet, the concern I hear most from parents is the balancing of auditions with after school activities. And if there are other siblings, this becomes more of a challenge. To top it off, you usually don’t find out about the audition until the day before.

My honest take on acting for young adults is simple, if you don’t eat, drink and sleep it, then enjoy school. You will never get those precious moments back.

I loved school, especially high school, and was involved in every activity that came my way, gymnastics, cheerleading, flag girl in the marching band, secretary of the junior class, “Falcon Angel” where I roller skated to classrooms and announced the names of those that got a secret rose for Valentine’s day and I was Sweetheart Queen of the Ball. I treasure those memories to this day.

It saddens me when I hear young actors talk about not having a childhood, ever attending a school function or a junior prom because they were too busy working. We have our entire life to work! And even though acting is fun, it is work, especially everything that leads up to the booking.

Maybe I loved school too much! But, those special moments shaped who I am today. And those days are short-lived. Parents know this all to well; one moment they’re changing diapers, the next they’re attending graduation.

So, what’s the rush to get into the business of acting? You no longer have to be twenty to “make it.” Even if “society” is a bit behind in believing this to be true, the acting world has changed a lot. Yes, the youth are still selling tickets to the movies, but so are the Betty Whites!

That being said and done, if you have a burning desire to act and your parent’s support, then by all means, find an agent and start self-submitting.

And when you do get an agent, that doesn’t necessarily mean you will be going out all the time; it could simply mean you got an agent.

Recently, I signed with two different agents. One agent has sent me out about three times in three months while the other agent sends me out three times a day! At times, auditioning can feel like a full time job!

So, there is no telling how many times you will go out once you get an agent.

Can a casting director bring in all 1,100 actors? No. So, how in the world do you even get the chance to be seen?

First and foremost, a good agent that believes in you is your best bet. They can personally call the casting director and “pitch you.” It’s better to have someone else talking about how great you are than you talking about how great you are.

Secondly, self-submissions through different casting sites, like you are doing, is another way to get auditions. Just don’t get discouraged; remember the number 1,100!

And then there is networking. Meeting people in the business and keeping them updated with your latest theatre production or acting gig can eventually land you an audition.

Persistence is key and love for this business. See the end and keep striving for it.

Here are some “dos and don’ts” that may give you the edge over the other 1,100 actors and put you in the 300 that are getting called in!

DO post at least two headshots to choose from, depending on the role you are submitting for. I have about six different looks. That’s a lot, but I like a variety. I have the commercial mom look, the businesswoman, the NFL cheerleader, the sporty mom, a more serious look and a very playful girl next-door look.

DON’T write in the “comment box” anything like, “I am a great actor” or “this role is perfect for me,” unless you are directed to write something. Usually, I am asked if I have a reel or any comedic training.

DO fill out the resume portion, check the boxes pertaining to special skills and complete all contact info.

DON’T submit if the role is not right for you.

There is one casting site that automatically blocks your submission if you are completely wrong for the role. For example, if the role is looking for a blonde girl in her early twenties who’s an expert with horses and you are red hair and forty and never got on a horse in your life, well, they will find out and you could be blocked from ever submitting to this casting director for future roles. It’s not worth it. It’s worth reading all the fine print before submitting.

DO confirm in the appropriate box once you get the audition notice.

On LA Casting there are three boxes, Confirm, Reschedule and Decline. IF you have an agent and are not able to confirm, let your agent know before checking any box to see if they can reschedule or get you a timeframe.

DON’T assume you won’t need a headshot. Always bring a headshot with your resume stapled to the back to every audition.

DO take the time to record what you wore to the audition so you can wear the same outfit on the callback and any other necessary information such as the name of casting director, camera operator, and person checking you in. It’s networking.

A cameraman that I had gotten to know over the years just turned into the casting director! It happens all the time.

DON’T take every submission so seriously. Simply “submit” and move on. Remember, there could be more than 1,100 other actors that feel they are also right for that role. Your submission may not even be seen. But keep in mind, the number of people submitting for a role could also be far less, it just depends on the role and the type of actor the casting director is looking for.

DO have fun at the audition. The more you enjoy the auditioning process the more likely you will be remembered.

DON’T take the room home with you, rehearsing how you should have or could have done it this way or that way. You did what you did. Be nice to your self.

The other day I was in a room with two other actors, it was the end of the day and the cameraman told us before we left, “You were the best group I’ve seen all day, but that doesn’t mean the best always gets the part.”

I didn’t get the part, but it didn’t make me feel any less about myself.

But, that came with years of training!

My best advice to young actors is to love school first, act in school theatre or join a theatre group that works with your school schedule.

One of my favorite young performer theatre groups is The Belasco Theatre in Hermosa Beach. It’s a non-profit organization that caters to educating young adults in dancing, singing and acting. Many have furthered their careers by attending NYU and other reputable colleges while others found different passions to pursue.

Check out: Belasco Theatre

Go to my facebook page, Questions & Actors, click LIKE and start communicating with fellow actors and parents!