So, I have a marketing question about the LA scene that only someone like you could answer. I love that you have a great balance of being unique without being over the top, so, here is my question: I have recently heard from a friend in LA that it is not uncommon for actors to send marketing type baskets to sets of shows for which they hope to secure an audition. I suppose the thinking is that the producer(s) will be on set, see the gift and their postcard, and call the casting director with their name. To me, this just sounds a bit annoying. I mean, if it’s not uncommon, then a lot of actors are doing it.

Is it true that this is a good way to introduce yourself? In the smaller market I’m in, I would certainly stand out if I were to do this. But, I want to be seen as professional and smart in the vein of LA actors.

Thank you greatly.

Oh my lordy… this is… gross. Who is saying this is happening? Ick. Ick, ick, ick. That’s my reaction. *shudder*

(Do you get the sense just from that initial response that I am completely turned off by even the thought of such a tactic?)

If this is going on, on sets throughout Los Angeles, you can bet the actors who are out the hard-earned dough are also out reputation points by attempting to go around the filtering process that is in place, whereby the actors connect with the folks in the casting office, and we put them on the radar of the producers when the time is right. The basket of… what? Wine? Yummies? Office supplies with headshots screenprinted on them? …will be consumed along with everything else on the craft services table and never once will anyone think, “Wow! I bet a truly talented actor sent these goodies to us! Let’s make sure our casting director knows about him.”

And even if they were to think such a thing (which would be a huge leap), for that to lead to a phone call that gets an actor a chance at working on that set would be a huge longshot. Let’s play that out. So, you get on that set and you’re known as “the actor who couldn’t get an audition without a bribe to producers” or something? Eesh. Horrible.

Let me mention, here — as I know you’re not in the LA market — that legends of “what works” in Los Angeles are often major myths and you are very smart to check out the reality of such a claim before rushing off and attempting it in your minor market. Something like this would be risky and ballsy in Hollywood. In a minor market, it could be downright disgusting.

There are tons of well-meaning but inexperienced (i.e. non-industry savvy) folks offering very “bold” advice authoritatively these days, and it makes me nervous. As always, my advice is, “research everything — your potential buyers, the projects you’re right for, the people in the world you hope to inhabit, yourself as an actor — and get very clear on the league in which you’re hoping to play and whether you have the training, the credits, and the stamina to play there. Get to know everything you can (which is a lot, in this Google era) about everyone involved in the path you hope to walk, and keep on top of it all, listening to everyone and tossing out that advice that sounds too good to be true or too easy to work or that comes with a pricetag for the ‘big reveal,’ ever. Take first-hand advice more seriously than second-hand, and always check the credentials of anyone before deciding they’re a guru.” But every single day, someone shows up in Hollywood (or worse, in minor markets, claiming to be “HUGE in Hollywood,” which is total BS) selling something that is based on nothing more than hypotheticals and conjecture.

All this to say, good for you, checking this out. If my opinion (which, again, is in the “ew, *shudder*, ick” area of things, on this issue) isn’t enough — and it shouldn’t be your only source; I’m just one gal with a keyboard and a supportive crew at Showfax, willing to put my words out there every week — run this past online communities filled with actors and other creatives. You’ll get some thoughts from actors worldwide, from all levels, from many markets, from many paths. 🙂

’til then, check out my archived columns on gimmicks (there’s two of ’em) and know that every casting director keeps a file of “What were you THINKING?!?” type submissions (and we’re all given a list of “never” actors, by producers, if actors cross the line and neglect to respect the filtering process they’ve hired us to create).

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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