In the last three years, I have booked ten co-stars (including four since November 2004; two of them this month). Things are definitely accelerating, so I feel good about that. One of the things I have noticed is that I generally get callbacks and even book the more challenging parts. At the same time, I have also noticed that I have not been called in to compete for guest starring parts. I know that my agency is not an “A Pile” agency, so I just sent out some postcards to casting directors and executive producers letting them know what I have done in the last four months. I go out on theatrical auditions about once a week, so I take them as a blessing, do my homework, and show up to the casting office ready to shoot. I know I’m doing some things correctly (especially my auditions). What is your advice to someone who has accumulated some network credits trying to get to the next level?

Great question (and a quality problem, I’d say)! Regular bookings at the co-star level clearly indicate that you are almost ready to jump to the world of the guest star. It’s that “almost” in “almost ready” that makes the difference. That “almost” is going to mean something different for every actor who finds himself in your situation over time.

If your agent is already getting you into offices for co-star auditions (and you’re doing your part by auditioning well enough to get called back and even book), you need to sit down and chat with your agent about “next time.” Remember, most episodic casting directors are casting more than one show at a time (especially during pilot season). So, you know they already like you in that office, right? Now you need to make sure your agent knows it’s time to pitch you for the guest star roles rather than the co-star roles coming out of that office on different shows. If there is some apprehension on the part of your agent, you need to address that. How many co-star credits does your agent want to see you get before pitching you higher?

If you are currently over-scale for your co-star bookings, perhaps your agent could get you bumped up to guest-star billing at scale next time. That would get you “up” in billing without costing production too much more than they would’ve paid for you at your over-scale co-star rate. Then you’ll have your first guest star credit (and we all know it’s that first one that’s the most difficult to get).

However, if you are currently only being paid scale for your co-star bookings, you may need to graduate to guest star by first increasing your co-star quote, then attempting the billing leap. Again, this is something to discuss with your agent. If you do not feel comfortable having this conversation with your agent, I’d be especially concerned. You’ve made your agent a lot of money in the past four months. You should feel absolutely at ease addressing these issues!

Maybe it’s time to add a manager to your team. Your manager can help bridge the gap in communication with your agent, if that’s part of what’s holding you back. Also, getting a manager could help you with the “A Pile” problem you mentioned. Of course, from the look of your track record, I don’t think your agent’s “A,” “B,” or “C” status is relevant. You’re getting in. You’re booking. Enough said!

Finally, really work the timing of these upcoming broadcasts. Postcard this town like crazy! And get the tape together as soon as you can from each of these shows so that you can update your demo reel. If your new roles look especially meaty on your reel, that will help as you lobby for guest star status. It may be next season before you’re able to make the leap, but your momentum is strong. Keep building, keep self-marketing, and keep communicating with your agent so that you’re in sync regarding your goals.

Good luck! Check in with me so I know how it goes for you!

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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 Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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