We asked Industry Professionals to give us the inside scoop of Secrets every actor should know. Here are their responses.
1. Mail your headshot/resume every 4-6 months to the Casting Directors.
Make sure you have something short, sweet and specific to say in your cover letter; that you are in a show and you would like to offer them Professional Comps, or that you just finished a great class, or that you are doing a student film. Another secret that every actor should know is that Casting Directors sometimes call in actors directly for projects…so make sure you are staying in their “mental filing cabinets.” Don’t assume that your agent is doing this kind of a mailing for you.Remember when you work your agent gets 10% and until then, we work for free! “
2. If you have agent representation but are not auditioning, there may be several reasons.
Your agent doesn’t think you are appropriate for any of the auditions coming across their desk. Your agent doesn’t think you are “ready” to submit you on certain auditions. Your agent IS submitting you for auditions and the casting director is not interested in seeing you.“It is your job to talk to your agent and find out which of the above is true, so that you can work on making yourself more submittable!”
3. Performing in theatre is the best way to get casting directors to call you in.
4. Actors who simply appear to want to be in the audition room with us, with our clients, looking like they are where they WANT to be, doing what they WANT to do, goes a very, very long way….and is APPRECIATED.
5. Casting directors ALWAYS want actors to succeed.
6. One thing actors don’t realize is that whenever they go on auditions, they are not only auditioning for the project they are called in for, but for future auditions as well.
What that means is that if someone gives a bad performance on a project that they are not excited about, it means they may not be called in for something really amazing. When breakdowns are sent out, often actors call us and say “I am not right for that project.” The actor should consider that the casting director and their agent never want to waste anyone’s time and if they are called in to audition it is for a good reason. Breakdowns change and evolve during the casting process, but the written document is always updated.
7. Age is a funny thing.
There is Disney 16 and Gossip Girl 16. Mama Mia tends to cast 30-year-olds to play 40-year-olds. I can’t tell you how many 30-year-olds said I am too young to have a daughter that age. But it is an opportunity to audition for Tara Rubin and a Mamma Mia audition can lead to a Mary Poppins audition or Jersey Boys audition. You are in the business of acting and that means being something different than what you truly are. So if you have the opportunity to morph into something else, take the audition and be brilliant and it will help you get called in for the project you are meant to get.
8. Instead of trying to be what you think others are looking for, be yourself. You are more marketable trusting yourself and who you are…it’s what makes you different from all the others.
9. If a theatre calls you in for an audition there’s a good chance that the casting director and director have already had a discussion about you being “right for the role.” When you ask to read for a different role you may actually be hurting your chances!
10. I always just tell actors they should think of the audition as the ‘win.’
In this city- if out of 1000 actors -you are on the list being seen, you are doing something right. What happens after that is out of your hands so do your homework, be prepared, be in the moment and present as soon as you walk in. And think of the audition as your 10 minutes to act today. After that, it’s anybody’s ballgame and comes down to things outside of your control.
11. It’s a great idea for actors to have personal websites.
It’s a great place for headshots, resumes, reels and reviews to live and is a useful tool when a director or casting director wants to see more of an actor.
12. In an industry where so many things are entirely out of the actors’ control, it is important to take control of the things that you can.
Know your conflicts. Be it product conflicts for commercials or dates that you are not available to work. Know those product conflicts/dates and communicate them clearly with your agent. Check dates of callback and production/shoot before confirming your audition appt. Even if you think you know you’re available for the dates, double check. Your agent can’t keep track of everyone’s personal schedules, so it’s better to double check than to confirm an audition and then turn around and cancel. Casting typically doesn’t respond kindly to cancellations. Check your email and phone frequently throughout each day. Your agent works hard for you and the faster you respond to phone calls/emails, the more flexibility there may be in scheduling. Your agent will learn quickly who is an efficient responder and who needs to be called three or four times before getting an audition confirmed.
Interested in taking classes at Acting Studio Chicago? Take a look at our classes for adults HERE!