I recently witnessed something intriguing in a Facebook group not at all related to the industry. See, as a business owner, I spend time in communities designed to help entrepreneurs handle growth management and now and then I get to experience something really gorgeous, in terms of its ability to help me illustrate a concept to actors from outside the industry (where it’s sometimes easier to see).

Even more fun? When the “I have a brilliant plan that will make a zillion dollars” idea comes from someone not in the entertainment industry, sure he’s created something that will serve the industry.

Enter: Dude with an app.

You know the “dude with an app.” They’re everywhere. I get it. But this guy is sure he’s created the next big thing in casting. It’s an app that allows actors to upload audition footage directly to the casting director’s account, whether the actor has representation or not. Whether the CD has invited that footage or not.

Uh-huh.

My question: Which casting directors out there are seeking MORE places to look for actors? Which casting directors with a track record of more than a single project are looking to leave their current favorite submission portal to find a NEW option to restart? Which casting directors would prefer NOT to have the filtering process that exists thanks to their relationships with agents and managers and instead to receive direct-from-actor uploads right into their smart phones?

Wait. It gets better.

“The best auditions get up-voted.” My question: “By whom?” Ah… by the community. Which means if you have 100 friends also in the app, your audition footage can be up-voted and pushed in front of the casting director of your choice. And this basically means a casting director has a PACK of new — unvetted — casting assistants whose tastes could be *anything* (and who most likely are folks of the “I’m a friend of Joe so I give Joe five stars” variety). Yeah. Sign me up not ever.

But color me “hater” when I mention in this startup group that maybe this isn’t the best use of such VERY COOL technology in app-land!

Here’s what I identified in the convo that followed with the app developer — in which I attempted to help him understand the entertainment industry, its buyers, its filtering process, and the sheer numbers a little better: He wasn’t interested in providing a solution for the buyers; he was interested in providing a (non-)solution for the sellers.

*lightbulb*

This is why actors will spend money on (non-)solutions that solve NOT a buyer’s problem, but their OWN problems (how to get access to buyers). These are not the same things! Actors need to figure out how they are the solutions to the problems the BUYERS have, but instead they’re busy flinging money at solving problems THEY (the sellers) have. This is why many actors will throw endless cheddar at a workshop or a postcard campaign or a mass mailing or a “marquee coach”-level class or new headshots or a re-cut demo reel or a course in how to master social networking or even plastic surgery to “fix” a thing that’s only a thing to them. THEM = not buyers!

This is why there are actors out there looking to prove to casting directors, agents, managers, showrunners, writers, producers, directors (all buyers) that they’re awesome options FOR THINGS WE DON’T NEED. They’re not at all focused on what the buyers might possibly be looking for, and therefore they’re not showcasing what it is that they do that happens to line up with exactly that.

Sure, it can be fun to be what you think the buyers *should* want, but because it’s more profitable to solve the problem they *actually* have, maybe consider doing that… and then teach the buyers what else you can do once you’re on the inside.

Bottom line: Producers have approximately one zillion problems to solve as a part of the producing process. ONE of those problems to solve is the line item that is the role for which you’re hoping to be cast. Your mission: Look like a solution to that problem. BE A SOLUTION. If you show up looking like a blank slate, like a driven actor with crazy range, like a master marketer, like a passionate performer, like a solution to something that doesn’t need solving (at least from the POV of the buyer), you’re thanked and sent on your way.

Think about how you can look like a solution. A specific solution. A buyer’s solution. Today. It’s probably simpler than you think it is. Not easy, but simple. Shift your focus and shift your career trajectory!


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/001980.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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