GETTING AN AUDITION DIDN’T FEEL LIKE WINNING THE LOTTERY!
QUESTION: Why is it more challenging to get an audition these days? When I first started out in SF, it was different. You needed a headshot, resume and an agent and I thought that was challenging, but I was auditioning all the time. Nowadays, it doesn’t seem you need to be an actor nor have an agent to get an audition, it’s a whole new kind of challenge, and now getting an audition feels like winning the lottery!
ACTOR: That’s funny, yet I’m in agreement! I’ve been down this road many times and walking into this past audition, once again, confirmed I won the lottery when I read this congratulation sign posted on the casting director’s wall.
The reason I believe it feels more challenging is because the market has been opened to everyone and anyone.
Back in the day, if you were an actor, you were taking classes, auditioning to get an agent, getting headshots, updating your resumes. Today, everyone seems to be an actor, regardless if they’ve ever acted, taken an acting class, or pursued an agent.
Back in the day, you needed an agent or manager to be submitted for a project. Today, you just need a computer and the proper links!
Back in the day, you had to carry headshots to every audition. Today, the web carries them for you!
Back in the day, your manager or agent submitted your headshot and resume, along with other top contenders, via mail. Today your headshot and resume can be submitted with just the click of a button!
Back in the day, reality TV wasn’t on. Today all you hear is “Be real!”
Having said all that, I still believe the passionate actor will stand out amongst those that are trying to act just for the big bucks. It’s important to embrace change, not fight against it.
The change I love is saving a tree, so to speak; to have my headshots posted instead of printed, is not only a big money saver, but a huge paper saver.
The change that has been most challenging, hands down, is the competition. Because your grandma, neighbor, and bosses’ best friend can submit for the same project your agent is submitting you for, the number of submissions have increased. I remember I thought 300 girls going out for the same commercial was a lot, now it can be 3,000!
I have learned not to take it personally, because I have no idea if my submission was even seen by a casting director.
Since the business has changed, how you do business must change. I’m a big believer in postcards, showcasing, and refreshing your headshots – something a passionate actor will do!
Get a list of shows you want to be on and email your postcard to the casting director, adding links to your website, FB page, IMDB, or any other sites that showcase you. If there is not an email address, do it the old fashioned way: put a stamp on it and mail it! Just don’t mail a headshot. A postcard makes your picture visible instantly. My friend got not only an interview, but a contract role on The Bold and the Beautiful because of his postcard! His 4×6 picture was lying on top of a pile of 8×10 headshot packages when the assistant walked by, recognized him from school, and told the casting director to bring him in! Postcards can also be used to update casting directors when you’re in a show, got a new agent, or just to say thank you.
I would also advise you to do live theatre or/and showcases. This is a great opportunity to let casting directors, and potential agents and managers know you are out there acting, pursuing your craft and your passion. Money doesn’t always talk!
Even though we don’t need to print 100 headshots these days, I highly recommend updating your headshots. I have seen actors with the same headshot for over 10 years! If I’m tired of looking at the same picture, can you imagine what casting directors are thinking? Fresh new headshots give you that fresh new start!
Change can be challenging, but it’s always good.
As much as the business continues to change, what hasn’t is the advice given on that sign: “Be prepared, on time, and professional.” What has changed for me is, I look at every audition and booking as a gift I get to open myself up to, an opportunity I will never take for granted . . . just like winning the lottery!