Hey Bonnie. How do notes show up on Actors Access submissions? And what makes a good note anyway? Is it trying too hard to say, “avail for all shoot dates” or “thanks for your consideration”? How often should you remind someone where you met them? How long a note is too long? Do you even really read them? Basically: How can I use the notes field to increase my chances of getting an audition?
Outstanding question. I am a big fan of the “allow notes” option in breakdowns I release through Actors Access. I figure it’s the same opportunity that “hard-copy only” submission actors get to include a cover letter. That said, what I love the most are the quick-hit notes that actually mean something.
What does that mean? That means no, “Dear Sir or Madame: Thank you so much for reviewing my submission,” crap. A copy and paste blurb is a total waste of your NOTES area. Believe that.
Here’s what you need to know: There is a certain amount of text from the NOTES area that appears right under your headshot, in the submission. So, whatever you do, don’t bury the lede! If someone has referred you, lead off with that. If you have the special skill that we’re really looking for, start your note with that fact. There are a few dozen text characters we’ll see WHILE LOOKING AT YOUR THUMBNAIL and you don’t want to waste those with, “Dear Casting Director, I’d love to read for you on this project.” Honestly, we won’t even click to read the rest of the note if it starts off like a form letter. Heck, do you scroll down to keep reading form letter stuff that shows up in your inbox? No. You send it to your spam filter! So, understand that you’ll have an advantage if you personalize your submission from the onset.
If you have a relationship with the CD, talk about that. If you’ve met us before, say so. But if you’ve met us before and submitted twice since then, you don’t need to remind us that you met us last year and we’ve ignored your submission twice in the meantime. What you could say instead is something like, “Since I last saw you, I’ve been studying with so-and-so [coach] and I’ve booked two national commercials. I’m ready to show you how much I’ve grown as an actor.” Yeah, that’s a long note, but I’m already interested from the beginning, since you’re telling me what’s happened since I last saw you (and OF COURSE I understand that professional actors are out there getting better every day — that’s your job).
If you’re sharing a link to your demo reel (which lives on your personal website or at SpeedReels or YouTube or MySpace or somewhere else outside of Actors Access), that’s great information for the notes section. Because for me, every actor with a demo reel whose work I don’t already know stays in the consideration process longer than the actors who don’t have a reel. Why? Because a reel answers questions that a headshot and resumé can’t answer. I get to hear you, I get to “get” you, and I get see your work. And if I’m looking for ways to eliminate actors from the selection pool, the lack of good notes, the lack of a reel, the lack of anything that connects me to the actor is going to make that happen.
So, when given the opportunity to “leave notes” for the CD, do so. But only if you have something cool to say. “Hey! LOVE this script. Can’t wait to read for you again,” is fine… if you mean it. Also great is, “Since we last met, I made it to third-level Groundlings. I’d love to comp you at my next show,” etc. Use the space well. It’s your real estate… the same as your resumé is. Make it work!
Originally published by Actors Access at http://more.showfax.com/columns/avoice/archives/000675.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.