My name is Stephanie and I’ve been submitting myself for roles that I think would be great for me… but here’s the problem. I haven’t gotten a call. I must have submitted myself for over 20 projects but I hear nothing back. Does Actors Access really work?


Oh, Stephanie, Stephanie, Stephanie. Some actors submit themselves hundreds of times before they’ll receive a single call to audition. Seriously!

And most actors will attend dozens of casting sessions before receiving a single callback.

And most actors will attend many callbacks before booking anything.

You can’t pursue this career with a results-oriented focus. (Well, I guess you can, but if you’d like to be at peace with one of the defining elements of the career itself, you should consider being less “all about the results” and more “all about the process.” For your own mental health.)

Because you didn’t give me your last name, I can’t look you up on Actors Access to find out whether there’s something glaringly obvious that would prevent casting directors from calling you in from your electronic submissions (something like a bad headshot, sparse skills, poorly-formatted resume, non-standard anything). When I go through the thousands of submissions per role, there are frequently a few dozen actors whose headshots are not “real” headshots. They’re MySpace photos. They’re snapshots. They’re just wrong. See my columns (four of ’em) on bad and good headshots in the archives to get examples of what works and what doesn’t.

But sometimes it’s just that you’re a member of an overly-saturated type category. If you’re a 20-something Caucasian female with blonde hair, I have thousands of you already submitting. If you’re an Asian male over 50, I have about twenty of you. There’s a big difference in the amount of time I can spend looking at demo reel footage and resumes when there are just a few of you, vs. thousands — and I’m not exaggerating at all — of you from which to choose.

And there’s also a big difference in the number of times you’ll get called in for an audition, depending on way too many variables than those you’re sharing in your email.

Does Actors Access work? Yes. I’ve cast many, many actors who self-submitted on paid, SAG film casting notices I put out at Breakdown Services and Actors Access. Actors with no agents, no managers, no SAG card, even sometimes no experience to speak of. Happens every day. But there are more of you than there are roles out there, so just be patient and keep at it. Submit when the project is right and make sure your tools are at their absolute best so that we can see you in an accurate and professional light.

I look forward to casting you soon! Hang in there. And remember, if you play the odds, there is no reason to ever attempt a career in show business. If you live your dreams, there’s no excuse not to.

PS — Comments are now open! Please, share below what kind of numbers are “typical,” when it comes to submissions, prereads, callbacks, and bookings. (This is not to make you obsessed with numbers! This is for a reality check, before deciding “nothing’s working.”)

Wanna be sure ALL your tools *and* your mindset are in peak form, maximizing your odds at getting that audition? Let us get you in gear with some FREE training right now!

Woo HOO!

Bonnie Gillespie autographed the internet

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/000871.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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  1. Teri Schnaubelt June 24, 2014 at 7:08 am

    So true; too many variables as to why she’s not getting called. AA does work, however as I don’t pay the yearly fee for submissions, I often try to connect with the casting director or producer thru LinkedIn, which also adds them to my contacts! I’m in Chicago and there aren’t as many projects that come thru AA (that aren’t exclusive to CDs) so perhaps she’s submitting to roles that are a stretch for her, at least according to what her headshot is showing. Make sure your headshot shows the type you are submitting for or vice versa. And quite possibly you’re one of the 20 something caucasian females. 😉

  2. Bonnie Gillespie June 30, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    Smart cookie, Teri! Thank you for sharing these awesome ninja tips. You rock! 🙂

  3. Venon Mitchell March 15, 2017 at 5:30 pm

    Thanks for this post. I’m hoping my headshots were the issue and I’ve retaken mine and gonna give A.A another stab.

  4. Megan Aimes April 5, 2017 at 10:22 pm

    My manager just dropped me after “embarrasingly” not being able to get me an audition after submitting me to over 319 roles over the last 7 months. I am crushed, feeling down, don’t know what I should do. What I need to change, why even for “bartender” or “woman 1” roles, I can’t get called in the room? I’m training diligently, attending workshops, paid for 2 different headshot sessions, am SAG, and continuously look for things that I can and need to improve. I feel like I want to give up, but still have an urge to figure out what the deal is?

  5. Bonnie Gillespie April 7, 2017 at 12:18 am

    Megan, I wonder if this was a HELL YES rep? Because you may be focusing on what *you* need to change when what needed to change was what DID change… the manager! 🙂 Are you coming to our next SMFA Retreat? I think this could bring a lot of clarity to those things that you control — including targeting a much better-fit team for your next tier!

  6. Julie April 15, 2017 at 3:38 pm

    I am absolutely in the SAME boat! I moved to Los Angeles over just a year ago and have been self submitting on Backstage – regularly, everyday. It may be because I am a 20 something year old Asian actress – I really don’t know how much my race has to do with it – but I rarely get calls to audition. Sometimes when I AM given a chance to send them a tape, I will spend an entire day perfecting it and then nothing. It’s pretty frustrating because when I talk to other fellow newbie Actors around my age, they all seem to have an agent and have been in at least minor TV/movie roles. None of them were Asian, though. Again, I think that might play a significant role – there’s not even that many on TV! But reading this was quite encouraging. Sometimes I wonder if my email filters out all the acting-related mails to SPAM lol! Anyways… I really, really, want this. But how can I get an agent – let alone get into SAG – without nobody giving me any experience? Not even student films??
    But I am very glad I discovered this site. I know Actors Access is the preferred, but since I’m not having much luck with Backstage, I’m afraid to subscribe and pay for another website. Because we all know living in LA can be hard financially..

    1. Gram Otero Livemore March 6, 2022 at 10:48 am

      I’m an Asian actor. And relatively new, here in Chicago. There’s more and more Asian roles out there I’ve seen and I audition regularly, but haven’t booked anything in months. But that’s what I signed up for. This makes me stronger and more experienced. There’s 2 fears to overcome in this business I’ve seen. 1. Getting over the fear of failure and ultimately inexperience, as an actor/person. 2. Getting over the fear of succeeding. What I mean is, when you haven’t had a lot of opportunity to see the other side of the grass, we tend to imagine things to explain to ourselves what we don’t have the experience to know. But had they called you in, before you are ready, the fear of being on set, doing your job to the best of your ability and finding out you aren’t ready, is much more damaging to a production. My working names Gram Otero Livemore, you can IMDB me. I started acting a little over a year ago and all my credits have been accumulated in 2021. I’m heavily tattooed, so a very seemingly niche actor. Yet I have gotten roles that are varied and auditions that are even more varied. When I don’t get called back, it’s for sure frustrating but I have leaned to take it as “practice” to mold my mentality to be stronger. So fight those negative urges but don’t escape them and def don’t excuse them. Confront them, be honest with yourself and continue to seek to improve. That’s it. It also helps to make a 10 year commitment. And at a certain age, that hasn’t been achieved yet. My ultimate goal, is to simply improve. As a human, father, man, actor, writer etc. So when I’m not getting cast, as an actor, I can still improve myself in other categories USING that acting “failure.” U see? Yes, there are practical reasons for everything too. Maybe try doing an internship as a casting assistant? You would learn what happens behind the scenes and realize there are a million and one things NOT in an actors control, even when we kill it! I just sent in an audition for a short produced and aired by Tribeca and Netflix, and that deadline passed a week ago. Yes I was bummed, but I took what I felt I was proud of, left the rest, and moved on to the next. This is the small part of the job. Everything happens for a reason, so enjoy and learn from your experiences, until you know those reasons. As far as the racism aspect. Every camera catches insecurity, it just might read like it’s based on something else. Since you feel like racism could be a reason for you to put responsibility, that may or may not be true, it’s still on you to overcome that and drive through! I’ve also experienced racism, as a foster kid and orphan and to the point of violence, many times. I’ve been shot, stabbed, burned, all that and actually documented it as one of my first roles, playing myself for a little known podcast, as I got my feet wet in the industry. But that’s sorta life. There’s negative shit and positive. We can only learn how to deal with both of those things and learn ways to healthily move on, gaining strength each time. The best thing you can do for yourself, is keep experiencing things, focus on the journey and learn. Make the goals bigger and smaller and don’t forget to celebrate as much as possible on the way! PATIENCE girl! Break a leg!
      Gram Otero Livemore (GramOteroLivemore.com)

  7. Bonnie Gillespie April 15, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    Hiya Julie. Glad you found my free resources and I hope you enjoy poking around!

    Definitely, your ability to get in does NOT increase with the number of submissions you do at Backstage nor the number of hours you spend perfecting your self-tape. While it’s great to be proactive and submit and it’s awesome to care a lot about how great your footage is when you’re asked to provide it, those are minor considerations compared to the REAL work of understanding your most castable type and brand, identifying your targets at the next and your current tier, and then building relationships with these folks so you can appear low-risk and get the footage that showcases your ability to take on those next-tier roles!

    I hope you’ve read my book (link above under “New? Start here!” if you’re not familiar with it) because it’ll help you a great deal. Of course, so will the SMFA Retreat, but I hear you about spending money right now. Luckily, I offer significantly more free resources than anything I charge for, so you can get a ton of advice from me just by reading (all the archives, plus my book), watching (all the vids at YouTube and here in the vids playlists), listening (to all my podcast episodes and the free quarterly SMFA Tune-Up calls), and continuing to ask questions like these!


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