Agent-Free Auditioning

Hmm… getting auditions on your own. Well, it ain’t easy! (Not that it’s easy even when you have a team of professionals pitching you and calling in favors and hustling and leaning on relationships to get you that shot at something, mind you!) But if you’re looking for sources of audition information — and I mean sources that the casting directors actually look at, to review submissions — I have a few suggestions to share.

Actors Access

Of course, I’m going to recommend Actors Access first. No, not just because the fine folks at Breakdown Services and Showfax have hosted my weekly column since 2004, but because even before I started writing The Actors Voice, I was a brand-new casting director listing SAG micro-budget feature film breakdowns on this “new” thing called Actors Access. There was no electronic submitting at first. It was just a PDF of my breakdown that actors could see, free, and my mailing address for hard copy submissions. Within a few months of my casting start-up, electronic submissions were introduced and my casting life was forever changed. Never again would I have to open headshot envelopes to preview actor submissions on specific roles. Awesome!

I had been casting 11 months when I released my first electronic submission breakdown at Actors Access. I still have it in my account. I received 179 submissions on one role from seven agents and two managers, plus Actors Access direct-from-actors submissions. This was in January of 2004. Cut to my record-holder role, 3076 electronic submissions from 374 agents and managers (from California, New York, New Jersey, British Columbia, Florida, Texas, and Nevada) and actors submitting directly via Actors Access. (Note: I received those over 3000 submissions within 48 hours of the breakdown being released.) I especially love tracking the actors who’ve been in the system and submitting electronically from the beginning. Well done, early adopters! It’s been fun, growing with y’all.

Okay, so I specialize in low-budget SAG indies and webseries and the occasional pilot, promo, or play, so you will always see my breakdowns go out on Actors Access (the real reasons on that, I’ve written about before, here). Not every casting director will list her breakdowns on Actors Access, though. In fact, the majority of the “big projects” won’t go out directly to actors anywhere unless the casting director is seeking someone very specific and needs to do more outreach than just to agents and managers who subscribe to Breakdown Services.

Still, you can find a lot of good, legitimate, paying projects on Actors Access and I would recommend that you make it a daily (yes, daily, if not hourly) practice to check in and submit yourself early on projects for which you’re a good fit. When I learned about the hoops that Breakdowns puts its casting directors through, before allowing them to post their first project at the site, I knew we were dealing with professionals who have actors’ safety and professional dignity in mind. Some sites do no vetting whatsoever to list breakdowns and then charge actors to see them. Not only can you see the breakdowns at Actors Access for FREE, but the folks posting the breakdown have been checked out, and scammy types are not welcomed.

LA Casting

LA Casting (AKA Casting Networks, outside of Los Angeles) is the leading site for commercial breakdowns, even though Actors Access lists commercials too (and LA Casting lists theatrical breakdowns as well. Each site has its area of specialty, it seems). Same as above, you should check the site frequently and submit immediately on any project for which you’re a good match. With any online submission site, your submission is going to have the most impact when it is submitted right away (because it’s far easier to get on our radar when we don’t have loads of other options than it is to displace someone from our short list if you’re submitting after we already have our top choices in place for sessions). This is especially true for commercial casting notices, which is LA Casting’s dominant area.

Another tip has to do with video. LA Casting offers “skill clips” which show actors’ ability to do some of the things listed on the special skills area of their resumés. Whether at LA Casting or any other online profile and submission site, it’s recommended that you have some form of video available, if you’re not known to many casting directors. We’ll usually save a few slots each session for actors whose work we don’t yet know, but you can make it more likely that one of those slots will be yours if you can help us lower the risk factor. Meaning, if all we have is your headshot, we can’t know for sure that this is exactly how you will look when you walk in the room, nor do we know how you sound or how you connect with other actors when you’re acting. Demo footage helps immensely with this! So, if you’re not yet on the radar of many casting directors, having something that lowers the risk we perceive as involved in calling you in can only up your chances of getting called in that first time.

Now Casting

Now Casting looked like it would have an impact on the theatrical breakdowns’ scene a few years back, but it seems to have become more specialized in the nonunion, copy-credit-meals, spec projects, and student films territory, with the occasional available-to-actors “bigger” project in the mix. The more “beginner” focused breakdowns at any of these casting websites are fantastic for actors looking to get their first credits, build relationships, compile tape for a demo reel, and create a resumé that will turn the heads of folks on the larger projects later, BUT, be sure you check out these producers on IMDb (or with a good Google), as not every site screens those who post casting notices!

Something I really want to stress about submitting on breakdowns at any of these sites is this: Check your messages! I recently visited an acting class in which one of the actors told me she thought “Actors Access was a scam,” because she never got called in, but had submitted “millions of times.” A quick check of her profile from the wonderful folks in the office confirmed what I suspected: 18 submissions in six months, usually five days after the breakdown was released, and no video. So… there’s the math on what went wrong there, right? The other major issue is the message center. I’ll speak with actors who are shocked when I tell them I had them scheduled for an audition, when they ask, “Why don’t you ever call me in?” I’ll ask them to log in and check their on-site messages (C-Mail at Actors Access) and, sure enough, there sits a backlog of audition notifications they never happened to check. What’s with that? Look, part of the beauty of electronic submissions is the whole electronic scheduling component. If we don’t have to call you to schedule you, we might not! So, check your messages, CONFIRM your appointment, and break a leg!

Backstage

Backstage lists loads of breakdowns by independent and student filmmakers; producers of theatre, nonunion, spec, and copy-credit-meals projects; modeling opportunities; and open calls. You can preview their breakdowns at the backstage.com website, but must be a subscriber to get much deeper than that. If you’re a theatre lover, I strongly recommend you hit open calls and auditions for the ton of stage stuff taking place in Los Angeles and New York, just to exercise that auditioning muscle and get better at the whole process. Same with student films: Get out there and connect with folks who are learning how to do this while you’re learning how to do this. Better still, mentor the producers out there who may have less experience than you do! Show ’em how the pros do it so they learn how to be professional.

AEA and SAG-AFTRA

Both Actors Equity and SAG-AFTRA list auditions their members-only sites. It’s a perk of union membership to have a basic profile up at these sites, so please do so. iActor (SAG-AFTRA’s profile site) was late to the online submission party, so most casting directors had already built up history at other sites by the time iActor launched. Still, there are opportunities for you within your union’s websites, so take advantage of them.

Craigslist

Proceed with caution! Well, that’s true no matter what the site, no matter what the project. Look up principals on IMDb and if no producers, no director, no casting director is listed, run away screaming like your hair is on fire! It’s just too risky. I mean, I guess if there’s a production company listed and you can track a history of legitimate productions from that company, that might be okay, but truly, in this business, who’s out there trying not to get name recognition for their successes in producing? Think about it!

Never attend an audition taking place at a private residence. Never disrobe during prereads, even if nudity is required in the project itself. Never ignore your spidey sense where your safety is involved. I’ve heard horror stories about actors who have encountered everything from truly unsafe propositions masquerading as casting opportunities to bait-and-switch situations in which the actors — after being cast — are told they have to come up with money to see the project actually completed. Be careful out there!

Unnamed Sites that Sell “Real, Hollywood Breakdowns” to Newbies for High Fees

Well, above when I mentioned my reasons for posting all of my breakdowns on Actors Access (even when I need name actors), I linked to a column in which I had previously written about the thing that makes my blood boil the most, as far as actors and scams targeting actors are concerned. People steal breakdowns that are meant for agents and managers only. They then sell these breakdowns to newbie actors and add information like a mailing address for submissions while deleting information like submission deadlines and “name actors only.” It’s gross. And people fall for it like crazy. It infuriates me. It not only costs actors money to see these now phony breakdowns but to submit on something they have no shot at booking (since often times the project has already wrapped). Worst of all, it costs “dream points.” I hate that actors think they actually have a chance on a project they paid to see (edited) and may feel like a failure when nothing comes of it. Same goes for clearinghouse blogs by folks who have no business sharing “leads” from major studios or networks. They’re skeevy. They’re not authorized to repost the info they’re sharing and they’re misleading wannabes all over the world — even though they’re not charging money for the information. *sigh*

Sure, in minor markets there may be other sites that are used for direct-to-actors breakdowns — and legitimately so — but in Los Angeles, the biggies are Actors Access and LA Casting. Do you want to be on other sites too? Up to you. There are many places to search for what’s casting. But between those I’ve just listed, you’re going to see 95% of everything that is intended for actors’ eyes, in the current casting landscape on any given day.

Pirated Breakdowns

Okay, so if you don’t want to heed my warning and really do want to see breakdowns that were never meant for actors’ eyes, I can’t stop you. It’s like shooting guerrilla style or speeding on the freeway. Good luck to you and just be smart about it. Being smart about looking at breakdowns that are meant for agents and managers means this: Read ’em. Digest who is casting what and when. Track trends. Get to know which offices are active so you can plan your networking activities with personnel in those offices appropriately. And if you’re really, really, really right for something that’s casting right now, maybe do a mailing or a drop-off or even a taped audition using sides posted on Showfax. But don’t ever think that this isthe way in. Sure, it could happen: You could pick a series of winning lottery numbers by submitting yourself on a role you were never meant to know about, getting called in, and booking it. But know that that’s what it is: a winning lottery ticket. It’s not likely to go that way, and in some offices, you run the risk of rubbing folks the wrong way for trying to work around their system.

That said, I’m generally a fan of the taped audition but usually as a matter of watching sides go up on Showfax rather than by pinching stolen breakdowns. I know an actor who saw sides go up on a show he was targeting, downloaded the sides, taped himself, dropped the DVD off at the casting office with nothing more than a quick thank you, and then got a producer session out of it. It can happen. But it’s all about the attitude of professionalism and the lack of expectation that anything may come of it. It’s the longshot, not the daily practice (that’s the reading all the breakdowns and submitting consistently).

Actor Cast, Let It Cast, Casting Frontier, CAZT

Actor Cast is new to the scene, in that it’s an arm launched off the long-standing CastIt.biz site that many studio casting directors use to log and generate their lists on projects. (Take a look back at my column on Technology and Casting from a panel discussion I moderated a few years back. Yes, it’s old info, but you’ll see how these private, studio-only or network-only systems are evolving and inching their way into actor-level submission territory, now.) I’m eager to see what comes out of Actor Cast because I haven’t heard of many people using it, nor much about breakdowns going out on Actor Cast to the actor population, but I do know a few casting directors who will — if an actor is in the CastIt.biz database via Actor Cast — link to their profile when generating a list to show a producer.

Let It Cast is an international site through which actors can upload audition footage for directors, producers, and casting directors who are actively looking for actors via their self-taped audition footage. This is new ground, for sure, but it’s the logical evolution of the self-taped, dropped-off or self-submitted audition that’s been going on for years.

Casting Frontier started as a bar code system for commercial casting sessions but has transitioned into a site that links actors’ profiles to their auditions, right after they’ve taken place. They’ve rolled out a submissions process mostly for commercial auditions, in addition to offering post-session services for casting directors, which makes this site’s evolution a speedy one.

CAZT is an LA-based casting facility that offers audition space to producers of micro-budget projects free in exchange for requiring the auditioning actors share their email addresses, so they can be offered the opportunity to watch their audition footage (for a fee), and get feedback on their auditions. Cool premise, but one that has been fraught with “best practices” snags along its evolution. Lately, actors have been required to “like” the facility at Facebook in order get their feedback, which is a social networking advertising strategy.

Because sites are popping up every day, offering services to actors along their journey, this is by no means a comprehensive list, nor is it guaranteed for accuracy, as existing companies are always refining and changing their offerings to their customer base.

Tracking Production

I am a huge fan of tracking production and updating your show bible using sites like CastingAbout, IMDb-Pro, Production Weekly, The Futon Critic’s Devwatch, Cinematic Happenings Under Development (CHUD), Jeff Gund’s Info List, Cynopsis, Deadline Hollywood Daily, Baseline Research, The Wrap‘s Power Grid, the Black List, the Paley Center, KabookIt, Who Represents, Actor Genie, Hollywood Reporter, Daily Variety, Studio System News, and the sides posted at Showfax as well as the scripts posted at Screenplay Online.

Not only does this provide you with a really good overview of exactly how much is in production, regularly, in Los Angeles and worldwide, it adds to your knowledge base of who’s working, who’s working on what, and the ebb and flow of production “seasons” (if there are such things anymore). Could any of that tracking lead to auditions? Sure! If you’ve done a great job of connecting people to projects and your type to trends affecting your type, you’ll be able to lean on relationships that could lead to auditions.

Also check with your friends and your community of actors. What are they going out for? What are they hearing about? Heck, which of the sites and services out there are they most excited to use, and do they share their thoughts at Actor Rated or The Workshop Guru? Poke around. You’ll learn more about what’s happening in informal ways than in what look like more traditional ways, almost always.

Other Markets

Yes, most of the above is tailored to the major markets, but over the years, in moderating the columns at The Actors Voice: POV, there have been a good many suggestions, and here are a few (do your research, because more may pop up, and your mileage may vary with these): Casting Workbook (Canada), e-Talenta (Europe), Spotlight (UK), Equity (UK), AT2 (Australia), Showcast (Australia, New Zealand), and ALWAYS check with your local film commission for projects that are coming to your area. Here’s a database of film commissions to search! Depending on your market size, also check for Meet-Up groups, Yahoo Groups, hotlines from your local film commissions or production guides, and of course, keep an eye on Casting Qs and The Actors Voice: POV.

Good Ol’ Fashioned Mail

So, do direct submissions, general submissions, mailings to offices not about any roles in particular help actors without agents get auditions? How about…

Drop-Offs

…? Well, as more and more casting goes electronic for its first wave, there’s very little going on that is a direct result of general mailings and/or drop-offs, but that doesn’t mean they don’t or can’t work. We all know actors whose general submissions or non-role-specific drop-offs have yielded meetings or auditions either right away or months later.

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But as I always like to say: It’s not the one thing you do; it’s all the things you do. So don’t focus too much on any one element to your self-submitting plan (and of course, keep getting out there and creating your own work, to keep busy between submissions and auditions) and you’ll find the process to just be part of your routine rather than another big THING you have to conquer in this biz.

And if you’re doing all of the above and you have agents and managers submitting you (Yay, you!), please always pay commission on work you book, even if you “got the audition yourself.” You’re a part of a team and you need to pay your teammates as contracted. You may be sure that it’s your submission that got you in the room, but it could be that it was your submission after a year of pitch calls on other projects from your team. Pay ’em for that. It’s good karma, if nothing else.

Keep in mind that the likelihood of getting called in for one of the very few slots offered to unrepresented actors we don’t already know is sometimes very low. So, focusing on roles in projects that are just a tier above where you currently are might be the right choice ’til you’ve built up relationships, momentum, credits, and footage that can help you edge your way into higher-profile offices where your work is not yet known.

Remember, it’s about relationships. And building relationships takes time. A new-to-town actor recently emailed me to say Self-Management for Actors was no good, because he read it, loved it, and then moved here after having landed a small supporting role in a mega-budget film and didn’t have an agent after two months. I told him he needed patience and he scoffed at that. So, I backed off the “you need patience” line and said instead, “building relationships takes time. Whether you have patience about that process is up to you.”

I don’t know any example of the signing coming first and the relationship coming later, if we’re talking about one of the GOOD agents (certainly, there are many craptastic agents and managers actors can get for the sake of having someone, should they really think that’s all that matters). But what I’d always advise is a long-haul approach to this career — knowing that relationships take time to build. Work on building a resumé that ATTRACTS the right representation, rather than busting ass to sign anywhere then having no relationships on which to build forward.

Let’s work toward building the kind of career the right agent or manager wants to be a part of! Remember, it takes time. The patience is up to you.

Have any Agent-Free Auditioning tips you’d like to share? Pop ’em in the comments section below. πŸ™‚ Let’s jam!


Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!


Originally published by Actors Access at http://more.showfax.com/columns/avoice/archives/001178.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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25 Comments

  1. Michelle Luchese April 10, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Heya Bon:
    Awesome tips! Also, do you know about http://www.thecastingdirector.com? They are casting TONS of webseries right now, which is awesome for folks who missed the window to join AFTRA and just wanna get SAG eligible. They are really helping a ton of non union folks make the next step. To become a member (and get a profile for which to submit) here is a small fee per month that gets you headshots, classes, and mock auditions. But the coolest thing, is if you want to be seen for something and haven’t been picked by the CD, you just make a call and they will make sure the CD sees you. Pretty neato perk for those trying to start out! Hope that helps.

    Reply
  2. Bonnie Gillespie Bonnie Gillespie April 10, 2012 at 11:23 am

    GREAT share, Luchese! Thank you! πŸ™‚ Of course, you know I caution against “premature moves” if someone is actually not yet ready to play at the union level (like, they still have a few years of relationship-building, experience on set to gain, things to learn on smaller sets), but for those who are ready to make the leap, groups that help make that easy are awesome to be a part of!

    Of course, with the SAG-AFTRA merger, the eligibility fine print needs to be checked and double-checked, as some of the “ways in” that worked a few weeks ago are now being phased out or upgraded to fit the new mega-union! πŸ˜€

    Please share the monthly fee, if you don’t mind. I know it’s reasonable, but would love to know exactly what it is, for folks who are checking this out and looking at their overall budget for their acting career investments. πŸ™‚

    I love that there are so many groups out there, pooling their collective resources and helping improve our creative community. It’s such a good time to be an actor! SO many more opportunities than ever, now. Yay! Thanks again, Luchese! XO

    Reply
  3. Daniel Storrow April 10, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Great article! Yes, thecastingdirector.com membership cost is $20/month. They are located in Van Nuys but are currently moving their office to Hollywood. The people that work there are all actors, and it’s a friendly, supportive group.

    Reply
  4. Bonnie Gillespie Bonnie Gillespie April 10, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    Outstanding, Daniel! THANK YOU! πŸ™‚ Very, very cool. Let’s keep the resource-pooling GOING! XO

    Reply
  5. Bishop Nelson Jr. August 3, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    These workshops and the like are ruining the market. Here’s why to me, first I and i’m sorry but the finnancial incentive will cloud the evaluation process. Why would I as a CD choose a good actor when I can make the same money I would have casting the right person without the workshop ? I could make more just string the actors along. Second I would think a major corp would not want any possibility of liability issues dealing with a CD who does workshops. Last, filmamkers such as myself would just like to see the best talent available so I run into issues on the trust of CD’s to bring me the right talent. Not just look but actual talent. Any good director can shape talent more than they can with just a look . In closing I wish somehow this model does not make a profit. I hope all actors would resort to the old school way of just getting together and working on the craft and the various mediums i.e theater, TV and film. If cd’s don’t wake up and look at the fact of yes you making additional incomes but that is short term so in the long run the talent that you really need will go elsewhere because the other markets are more attractive to both productions costs and actor opportunities. A better model would be that similar to what the professional organization such a baseball and hockey and I think the NBA to a certain extent. A farm system of talent that is ready to use because they have advance to a level where that pure talent can be evaluated across the board. Thus when you need a talented professionally trained actor you have a more proven field of applicants to pull from.

    Reply
  6. Briana Cap August 12, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    Hi Bonnie!

    Great tip about including video on your LA Casting profile. I heard that even moves your submission to the top of the pile. Is this true?

    On that note, if one doesn’t have any really strong demo material, is it ok to post a video clip on your profile of a current commercial that is airing. Is that better than having nothing?

    Reply
  7. Bonnie Gillespie Bonnie Gillespie August 12, 2013 at 10:47 pm

    Heya Briana, I don’t know for sure about LA Casting, but YES, at Actors Access, profiles with vid get sorted ahead of the rest. THAT is true. For sure!

    I am a BIG fan of leading off with an awesome clip that gets the job done (and the job is different every time, right? Each submission is unique and what they need to see is different, based on what they’re casting and how you line up with that). I love the idea of having various clips to choose from and then choosing which clip to submit based on what they’re looking for.

    Do be careful with using commercial footage, though. You may have signed something that prevents you from showing the footage (commercial clips are especially classified, by category). Be SURE you’re not in violation of an NDA, because even though you’re just using it in websites designed FOR FUTURE CASTING purposes, sometimes it can burn you to put that stuff out there too soon.

    Good luck and keep rockin’, girl!

    Reply
  8. Ed August 13, 2013 at 6:42 am

    I have found that in casting in my smaller projects, reels are somewhat irrelevant. Does the CD really have the time to look at 100 reels? Let alone 1,000? Perhaps after the first round of headshot picks are done and there is time looking at the reel is done. At least from what I have found from the other side of the camera. Not saying that reels should not be done, but…. Bonnie, can you correct me or confirm or just plain elucidate? πŸ™‚

    Reply
  9. Bonnie Gillespie Bonnie Gillespie August 19, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    Confirm, confirm, confirm, Ed! For sure, when only a few reels were being submitted on projects, they were a novelty and there was time to look at ’em, and they answered a lot of questions that would help us decide whether we even needed to bring the actor in for a read! These days, yeah, the reel can make a difference *if* we have time to look at it, but sometimes just HAVING the reel can give production a sense of confidence that there *is* footage, and therefore there has been work! So, it can help… even without being looked at, sometimes.

    Reply
  10. Mary McGloin November 11, 2013 at 6:03 am

    Hi there! Bonnie, thank you this is a great list of resources. In terms of the production listings one, is there one you find better than the others? Do any of them allow you to filter NY vs LA? I am based in NYC.

    As to Ed’s question, I am an actress but I am also a producer. I have produced both SAG New Media and Off-Off Broadway and I have been the casting director both times. I had 1500 submissions for the play and around 700 for the webseries. This is the order of who I looked at more closely for my 105 audition slots (play) and 49 audition slots (webseries)
    1. People I know
    2. People who know people I know
    3. People who sent me headshots, resumes, and reels in a professional format and as they were requested via email
    4. People who sent me their stuff on Actor’s Access who had reels and were the right type for the role in question
    5. People who sent me their stuff on Actor’s Access who were the right type from H/R and who wrote me a cover note
    6. People who emailed me H/R who wrote a cover note and had training
    7. Everyone else

    That was also the general order of who got slots. I would also say that to me, it was better to have a clip of you doing a monologue or a scene with a clear picture and good sound than to have several clips from films that had bad lighting or bad sound or that were from a totally different genre from what I was looking to see. Though I did call in some folks who’s reels were 90% not the right type of character but who were good actors.

    I can’t say everyone will do that and I doubt most casting folks would take that time with submissions when they have a stable of people they go out to get to know, but as an actor slash producer I wanted to give everyone an eye……..

    Reply
  11. Bonnie Gillespie Bonnie Gillespie November 17, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    Hiya Mary. The CastingAbout listings have NY and LA versions. The problem with most of the others is that they don’t separate out their listings at all, so you’d not know whether it’s NY, LA, Toronto, Chicago, or London for that matter, sometimes.

    Your point to Ed about the value of footage that shows the actors doing what you’re looking for, when you’re casting (vs. a bunch of stuff that’s NOT what you’re looking for, at all) is exactly my point in this post: http://bonniegillespie.com/the-evolving-demo-reel Amen, amen!

    THANK YOU for sharing your process and hooray for being a hyphenate! I celebrate you and I’m grateful to have you here in the archives. πŸ˜€

    Reply
  12. Veronica Person November 18, 2013 at 8:13 am

    OPEN CASTING CALL for short film must be available on NOVEMBER 20th & 21st for reading and available NOVEMBER 23rd & 24th for filming.
    -Looking for actors male and female must be Mid 20’s to early 30’s in shape.
    -Characters 5 females: 1 prefer (brown skin with natural hair NO blow outs!),
    2 black Americans (one brown skin) and (2 white) females
    Males: one Italian (prefer speak Italian or know but not required) 2 black American, one white American , one Oriental and one Indian Asian decent.
    -looking for extras too (geek sheek business type)

    Send head shot or photo, include size and available time.
    Contact vronnie_09620@yahoo.com & cell 704-299-5913
    Location Charlotte N.C.

    Reply
  13. Deana December 4, 2014 at 11:21 am

    Great article!!! I love your book, Self-Management for Actors. It was so imformative, insightful and an easy read. I will keep your book by my side as I journey through my acting career. Thank you so much:)

    Reply
  14. Bonnie Gillespie Bonnie Gillespie January 3, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    Thank you, Deana. I’m so glad the book has been meaningful along your journey. Please keep me posted on how it goes for you! πŸ˜€

    Reply
  15. Dan Young March 11, 2015 at 12:23 am

    This is gold! Solid advice as always. I follow you on twitter and I always enjoy what you have to say. I feel like you are an advocate for the actor. I just moved to LA and I hope to see you in an audition room eventually. My first priority is to get top notch training.

    Reply
    1. Bonnie Gillespie Bonnie Gillespie July 31, 2015 at 2:27 pm

      Outstanding, Dan! Hope your training is going well and that you’re loving your new Hollywood home! Keep us posted. πŸ˜€

      Reply
  16. Linda Zollo July 31, 2015 at 9:48 am

    First I would like to say, Bonnie I LOVE reading your columns and the “exciting journey” I get to go on, from jumping from one article and linking to another. I started out with your “Fired Up Friday” booster and ended up happily here.
    I do not have agent at this point, all my auditions have been via Actor’s Access and 800 Casting. I have had a total of 10 self-tape auditions in about a month and half. And booked one commercial so far πŸ™‚ yay me! I love this article and the extra websites you have provided that I was not aware of.
    I just signed up for TalentLink via Actor’s Access and Breakdown services to get in front of Agents and Managers in LA. Can’t wait to see what August will bring.
    I love you for everything you do Bonnie! Your words and inspiration have helped me to grow sooooo much in such a short time. I look forward to every opportunity that comes my way, and I have the confidence with your help.

    Reply
    1. Bonnie Gillespie Bonnie Gillespie July 31, 2015 at 2:27 pm

      Hooray, Linda! That makes me so happy! πŸ™‚ I’m thrilled that these resources continue to serve you well and I’m excited for your Los Angeles journey. Keep us posted and we’ll see you at the October Thirsty Third Thursday if not before. πŸ˜€

      Reply
  17. Abe September 24, 2015 at 11:19 pm

    Hi Bonnie I don’t know if you will read this but I just want to ask if it’s possible to use “actor access” even if I’m not american. I am asking this because I don’t have a work permit so an agent told me that I could book for non-paid, non-union jobs until I get recognition so then I could be represented.
    Ps: this article is just so inspirational and honest… Thanks

    Reply
    1. Bonnie Gillespie Bonnie Gillespie September 25, 2015 at 10:44 am

      Absolutely, Abe! Unpaid work is totally do-able (and some of it is even *union* work, based on the contract) for actors who don’t yet have a visa or green card. Actors Access is a great resource for you at this point, as you can SEE all the submission opportunities and submit on those that are a good fit. Just be sure to let folks know what your availability is. If you’re not local, they’ll need to know that. And of course, creating your OWN content is one of the best ways to create momentum for that footage that gets reps interested in being on your team. πŸ™‚ So glad you found this inspiring! Rock it out! πŸ™‚

      Reply
  18. J. May 13, 2016 at 2:05 am

    Dear Bonnie,

    Many thanks for writing your truly excellent book Self Management for Actors and for this fine article. I have first-rate representation in Europe but I am constantly working for myself because no one is more interested in my success than I am.

    I am writing for some good, honest advice.

    I am an American actor, live in Germany and do film and television throughout Europe. I have been shortlisted for roles in films by a number of Oscar-winning and nominated directors in the past two and one-half years so I know I am on the right track.

    I am ready to open up to the US market by employing a service such as Actor’s Access or Cast It Talent. At β€œCast It Talent” they emphasize that they often cast actors internationally and are often specifically charged with searching for talent outside of North America. E.g. there are many major international co-productions being shot at Babelsberg studios just outside of Berlin (last season’s HOMELAND was shot entirely in Berlin) or in the Czech Republic or in Italy etc.. How does Showfax rate for the casting of such productions?

    Also, living in Europe as I do at this time, are the vast majority of Showfax offerings set up so that actors are meant to physically come by to audition in person in their specific market (physical presence) or are many roles (say proportionally one-third or one-fourth) cast exclusively by video-self-casting? This is important as I am “not yet” at the point financially where I can catch a quick flight across the Atlantic to then traverse North America and pop in for a quick audition.

    I have neither seen this particular focus underscored in the online material I have read on the Showfax website nor in the articles I have read on the web regarding Showfax.

    I know that if I were living in the US, Showfax would be the obvious choice but is it the best choice, a truly viable and effective choice for me to reach my goal of expanding into the North American market while still living in Europe?

    If so, please tell me why,

    Also, are you aware of any concrete examples of projects for which a person in my situation may have been cast through Showfax.

    Many, many thanks and best regards,
    J.

    Reply
  19. Bonnie Gillespie Bonnie Gillespie June 19, 2016 at 1:03 am

    Hi J! Wow! That’s a long, complex question and one not so suited for the comments area in this archived blog post, but I’m more than happy to tackle bits of it at our SMFA Talkback forum: http://smfa4.com/talkback or in any of our free quarterly SMFA Tune-Up calls during which we have that kind of chat-time! Thanks for stopping by! So glad you love the book and that you found your way here, of course. πŸ™‚

    Reply
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