Thank you so much for your articles, they have been enormously insightful. Here is my question. I intern at a casting office and have great relationships with everyone there. They are even working to help me get into SAG. A few weeks ago they let me come to the full cast table read of the film they are casting to read the roles that haven’t been cast or for actors who couldn’t make it. I met the director, the writer, all of the producers, etc. I believe that I made as good an impression as I could have. Beyond my relationship with the CD, how can I take advantage of having met all of these people even further? I am nonunion, 23, and unrepresented. I was trained at American Academy of Dramatic Arts in NY and am a member of Open Fist Theatre. I have been in LA about a year and a half. Thank you so much.

First, let me commend you on taking advantage of one of the most important industry relationship builders available to actors: interning. That is such an important part of an actor’s overall self-management plan. So, the fact that after just 18 months in LA you are already doing table reads with the bigwigs is something to be proud of. Yay you!

I’d like to believe that by doing good work at the table read, you’ve already impressed the producers, director, writer, and your boss (the casting director). You may be surprised to get a call when they begin shooting that goes along the lines of, “Hey, we never found someone we liked as much as you for the role of such-and-such. Want to come to set?” And if that doesn’t happen on this project, there are who knows how many projects in the future for all of the various people you impressed with your professionalism and willingness to help out at that table read, right?

Of course, you’re looking for something a little more specific than leaving folks with a good impression of you. I get that. So, perhaps you could send a postcard to each of the principal players just to say, “Again, thanks for having me. I’ve enjoyed working with [casting director’s name] on your film. Have a great shoot!” Or if one of them calls the office during your internship and you answer the phone, you could take a moment to mention how much fun you had. You’ll know what’s most appropriate to the situation, of course. If you don’t feel comfortable dropping a line or having a chat specifically about the table read, you could just be sure to get mailing addresses for each of the players and use those addresses in a future mailing: announcing a play at your theatre company, sharing the good news when you get an agent or become SAG-eligible, etc. You’re pretty much adding to your actor Rolodex every day in this town. (Gosh, I feel so old-school using the term “Rolodex,” but basically I mean your mailing list, your database of industry professionals, your target audience.)

One of the hardest things to do when you’re on your own (with no agent or manager to pitch you or do follow-ups on your behalf) is trust that people will remember you for having done good work and think of you when they need your type in the future. I frequently get calls and emails from producers who saw a film I cast, heard me speak at an industry event, or met me in passing over a year earlier. I used to worry that if I didn’t hand out a business card to every person who had the potential to hire me as a casting director at every industry event, I was missing out on gigs. But being proactive is sometimes as simple as doing great work and being findable when the producer is ready to hire you. Follow up in as professional a way as possible and then move on, continuing to build your relationships and do good work. You’re already kicking butt and you’ve only “just landed” here. Keep it up!


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/000393.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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