Let the Numbers Inspire You

On Wednesday, I tweeted the following: ACTORS, ready? Number of submissions from agents, managers, and via @ActorsAccess on two breakdowns in 42 hours? 11,461. #RelationshipsFirst

Loads of retweets, replies, and even emails and calls from actors wondering how on Earth an actor stands out among that many other submissions and, of course, asking, “What’s the point?” when the odds are so bad.

Well, that’s why I added the hashtag “RelationshipsFirst” to the tweet. When there are so many thousands of submissions, our relationships often tip the scales. Whether it’s a pitch call from an agent, a quick nudge from a manager, a tweet from the actor himself letting us know he’s in the mix, we’re gonna linger over those who don’t just “click and run.”

The reason I always allow NOTES from actors on the breakdowns I post is because I rely on y’all to remind me where we’ve met, when I’ve seen your work, what you’ve been up to that would be of interest to producers on my current project, all of that.

This is a relationship business, and part of the reason I’m so adamant about your upkeep of a Show Bible and all your industry relationships is because those are elements that are within your control and that will absolutely make a difference.

As for those who chose to feel blue by my sharing of the numbers, welp, I’m wondering if you’d prefer I say something along the lines of, “OMG! We’re casting a dozen roles and I received *exactly* 12 submissions, and luckily EVERY actor lined up precisely with ONE role, so we’re able to tell these awesome indie stories. Phew!”

That’s ludicrous. No actor expects good odds. No actor chose to get into the storytelling business because they have guaranteed job security and no competition for roles. To bury your head in the sand and act as if it’s disrespectful to learn exactly how thick the competition might be is to head down the road to Bitterville. Choose better. Be empowered by the numbers. Here’s how.

So, the number I tweeted when the breakdowns were 42 hours old was 11,461. Most submissions show up within the first 48 hours of course, because casting happens FAST and y’all are *on it* for the most part. As I write this column (Sunday) to go live on Labor Day, the breakdowns are exactly seven days old, and the submission deadline for both was Friday at close of business, by which time we had already made loads of decisions about “selects” and invitations for self-taping. Here are numbers to inspire you.

Total Submissions: 12,482
Total Selects: 718
Total Slots for Sessions: 150
Total Invited to Self-Tape: 587
Total Self-Taped Auditions Received: 11

Now, let’s break that down. If you’re discouraged by a 12K submission number, could you possibly find inspiration in a number like *ELEVEN* for self-taped auditions?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s a holiday weekend and the deadline for self-taped auditions isn’t ’til close of business Tuesday, so that number will go up, but since we only have slots for 150 in-person sessions and because some of those slots are going to actors who were *not* invited to self-tape (back to that relationships thing… there are folks we don’t NEED to pre-screen to know they’re a slam-dunk for this, so they’re coming on in; others of that group of 131 that weren’t invited to self-tape are name actors for whom we’d do a straight offer or perhaps a producer meeting and chemistry read, but that comes later), we’re looking at *ELEVEN* people this weekend… not *TWELVE THOUSAND.*

Oh, and when the breakdowns were released, I invited *all* actors submitting to self-tape and include links with their submissions, as the sides went live along with the breakdowns (as is always true for my projects, since I want actors to be *picky* about whether or not it’s the type of story they’d like to tell, rather than just clicking SUBMIT on everything in the breakdowns, daily). So, I should add that on top of these 11 self-taped reads that have come in since Friday morning, there are also *SIX* that came in along with submissions, starting last Monday. Every one of these self-taped reads is getting the full attention of the *entire* creative team. Fact!

Still not sold on self-taping as a way INTO the room? *thud* Then I can’t help you.

It’s funny. I was thinking about that whole argument for getting into the room and the power of the in-person experience, the electricity, the energy, the emotional connection of the audition, which some actors feel can never be replicated by a self-taped audition. Welp, to that I say… um… then why do we watch movies? TV shows? Webseries? Why do we feel moved by taped performances *daily*? And why aren’t there lines around the block for what THAT ARGUMENT would dictate our primary form of emotionally-connected performance must be: The live theatre experience? The stage play?

OF COURSE we can be made to feel emotional connection when we’re not even in the same room. Happens allllll the time. But for some reason, few actors recognize the benefit to being one of a handful who’ll take the driver’s seat in their auditioning career. Kudos to those who thrive whenever given an invitation to be a part of the storytelling process, even at the audition stages.

I’m enjoying being inspired by you! See you in callbacks soon. 🙂


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/001709.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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