I hinted at this exercise in the very first edition of Self-Management for Actors ten years ago. I call this exercise homework for my SMFA Brand Blitz. And I talked about this exercise on March 10th in Austin, at my SAG Foundation LifeRaft event, which led amazing Rochelle Rose and the badass Caroline O’Connor to prompt me to share it in our SXSW panel with casting directors Beth Sepko and Paul Weber a few days later.

So, spoilers be damned. Here it is! Guys, I’mma tell you now: Interview Your Bookings and you’ll understand what the buyers are telling you they value in you (and really, much less else matters, when you’re trying to make an impact). It’s really simple. Probably simpler than you may expect. Well… complicating things is a natural default, to be fair, but if you spend a little time drilling down on HOW YOU ARE CAST, you will stop wondering where to submit — especially in a huge market like Los Angeles.

Create a spreadsheet or list that you can use to map out exactly what’s already going on in your career. Let your previous bookings help you define your bullseye! For each project, write in the TYPING WORDS you were given in the breakdown, then check off how far you got through the casting process.

Start with the project and its typing words, then check off whether you submitted, auditioned, were called back, went to producers, were put on avail (or were put on hold or were pinned), and booked the job.

Trust me on this. The goal is not to torture yourself with an examination of all the places where you DIDN’T get cast over all these crazy submissions. The idea here is to get ultimate clarity on how you are valued by the buyers. And in the end, that’s the most ninja bit of understanding you can have, as you move forward.

If you’re at a brand crossroads, if your typing feels conflicted, the BEST first place to go is to the space where buyers have told you they value what you do. If you’ve submitted ten times as the leading lady but have been cast eight times as the wacky neighbor, your spreadsheet should help you a great deal. Maybe stop wasting that energy submitting on the roles that don’t line up with WHERE YOU EARN MONEY. Invest that energy instead on targeting the people who most need to know you — as the booking machine that you are — IN THE WORLD that you book.

If you’re at a point where the copy-credit-meals roles no longer count, don’t put them on the spreadsheet. Honestly, the Inverted Pyramid is your best friend for all of this. Follow! The! Money! Where you are being valued by the buyers is your best indication of where to focus your submission energy.

Go. Get it organized and get it focused. Work your process from a place of knowing what you’ve got going on. Hit it! Lemmeknow how it’s going for you. I can’t wait to hear!


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/001637.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 Comment

  1. Carlease September 23, 2021 at 10:57 am

    What a great exercise!
    Black Grandma – (young, sassy, sophisticated and fine) !


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