Well, folks, we’ve had six months of The Actors Voice: POV and in that time we’ve heard from CDs worldwide. Cool, huh? Our goal with POV has been to demystify portions of the entertainment industry that have proved baffling topics among actors AND to make our world smaller, by hearing “voices” from various markets. While we started off focusing on casting directors (to provide alternative perspectives to those laid out by me and Mark Sikes each week), we’re now branching out to include industry pros in other jobs (as well as continuing to feature casting directors, of course).
I couldn’t think of anyone better to kick off our next stage of POV than the general manager of Showfax and Actors Access: Bob Brody! He sees it all: the casting side, the actor side, the agent and manager side. This gives him a wonderful perspective of what works and what doesn’t. And as you might expect, he has some amazing tips to help you get the most out of your electronic submissions.
Actors Access: Timing Is Everything
As I’m more of a behind-the-scenes kind than in front, I get to see and hear from all three camps; actors, casting, and agents/managers (as well as parents of young actors). Of course, we have a great staff (actors, writers, aspiring filmmakers, entirely; union as well as nonunion) so there’s a terrific mix of input from their points of view as well.
I’d like to touch on a few tips regarding using Actors Access. With regard to self-submissions through Actors Access, read my pixels: DO… NOT… DE… LAY. You MUST stay on top of it. One actor emailed me wanting to receive the email notifications once a week (what’s referred to in mailing list parlance as “digest” whereby notes/postings are condensed into a single email sent once every whenever). He said receiving them throughout the day was “bothersome” and visiting the site daily was “inconvenient.” So, he wanted the breakdown notifications sent only once a week and he would do his submissions on the weekend.
Hoo-boy, talk about proactive. It is perhaps not exactly coincidental that a few months ago this same actor wrote in complaining that he never gets an audition call from his submissions. Gosh, I wonder why not. In some cases, the role has been filled, contracts signed, shooting already underway, and he’s just now looking at that breakdown to submit on.
The best submission strategy is to get the submissions made within 24 hours of the breakdown’s posting. Simple as that. If it’s more than a couple of days, most likely casting has already begun sorting out existing submissions, making selections, and scheduling auditions. Late arrivals get pushed off to the side in casting’s unviewed section for that role. They may look at those, but only if they haven’t found enough to start with via the initial wave of submissions (and that initial wave could well number more than 1000 actors, repped and not repped, so there’s a very good chance casting will have enough to work with).
You needn’t be manic about it, but certainly make it part of your daily routine to check out (from all legit sources) what is up for casting that is suitable for you and of interest to you, then get those submissions off right away. Time is of the essence with this.
Unless it’s voiceover, be sure to include a photo with your submission. It amazes me to see — when I’m looking from casting’s side — how often submissions are made with no photo. Duh???
Get thee in front of a video camera if you don’t already have video online. Video has become more and more important (online technology now makes it a breeze to view video). Video shows how you look on camera, how you move, and what you sound like.
Don’t be frightened about a resumé short on credits. Everyone starts out with no credits. Casting directors have told me time and again that when a resumé is short on credits, they focus extra attention on training. If you’re short on credits AND short on training, perhaps you should be honest with yourself that you are probably not ready for the big leagues. Try to get more training and stick to local/community theatre for now while doing so.
Face the facts. The competition is stiff (extremely so) and you’re against other professionals. BE PREPARED and make the best presentation you can. (As Muhammad Ali would say of his preparation for an upcoming fight, “100 percent isn’t enough. I give it 105 percent.” That’s a champion attitude.)
Be persistent. It’s not always easy but then, if you’re having fun with it, it is a lot easier. If it’s “bothersome” and “inconvenient,” well, keep the day job. Some start getting auditions, and book, almost from the start. Others (most others) do not and it takes time (i.e., many submissions). One actor who keeps track wrote to me that his average for the past year has been one audition per 40 submissions, and one booking per 12 auditions, but that his booking average keeps getting better. (The improving booking average doesn’t surprise me, as he’s become more comfortable and experienced with auditioning and respective technique — he’s taken a few cold reading and auditioning technique classes as well, but not until he started auditioning so he could have a comparative perspective.) He said he grossed $65,000 last year vs. less than $10,000 the year before. Heck he even sent me a nice Christmas present to thank us for Actors Access. 🙂
So, my friends, stick with it, be persistent and you’ll most likely get your chances. Remain confident and be prepared. If you’re confident in your ability, your ability will come forth in the audition autonomically; i.e., without your even thinking about it. Spontaneity is cool stuff, and it comes out of us through experience and confidence.
Lastly, in my opinion, the audition is the gig. Give it your best performance, thank the audience (the casting table), leave, and move on to your next gig. But above all, don’t forget to have fun. I mean, it’s YOUR life after all. When do you plan on having fun? When you’re dead? Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!
All right! Thanks, Bob! So, let this be the official call for POV contributors beyond the casting directors out there. Agents, managers, headshot photographers, demo reel editors, acting coaches, producers, directors, writers, working actors, heads of loop groups, image consultants, anyone directly involved with actors and their professional pursuits, hit me with an email at the address below and we’ll get you in the queue for a future POV! Huge thanks to Bob Brody for kicking us off to a great start as we enter this next stage of POV!
About Actors Access and Showfax
For over 30 years, Breakdown Services has worked with casting directors, talent representatives, and managers. One of our services is to develop the casting requirements for projects, including the specific roles and descriptions that casting directors request. When reviewing the breakdowns that casting has posted for actors on Actors Access, as a registered Actors Access user you have the ability to make direct electronic submissions to casting for roles listed that fit your profile and casting’s requirements. As a subscriber to our Showfax service, you can make unlimited electronic submissions on Actors Access at no charge. It comes with your $68 annual Showfax subscription. As a non-Showfax subscriber, you can also make electronic submissions on Actors Access and there is a $2 processing charge. For more information about subscribing to Showfax and its additional benefits, please visit our Showfax site and click the “SUBSCRIBE” link that you will see at the top of the pages.
Originally published by Actors Access at http://more.showfax.com/plus/pov/2007/05/timing_is_everything.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the managing editor’s personal archive.