Training: As a professional actor, you must be a practiced one. Always train to keep up your craft. Professional athletes and musicians practice several hours each day, why should actors be any different? Find a class, do theater, work on scenes, monologues, etc. You can find out about acting coaches through word of mouth. If you admire someone's work, ask who they study with.
Marketing Yourself--Photos: Since photos cost a lot of money, it's worth it to do some research. Find out about photographers through word of mouth. If you have seen photos that you like, ask who the photographer is. Meet with at least three to five photographers, and compare their work and price list. Look at their books. You should also have a certain chemistry with the photographer. After all, you will be spending several hours with him/her. Most importantly, you must look like your photos. There is nothing more annoying to casting directors when you do not look like your photos.
Marketing Yourself--Resume: Your resume is an important marketing tool that gives professional information about yourself to casting directors, directors, and producers. It should have a clean easy-to-read format. You need to have the right photo and resume to get your foot in the door to that audition.
Finding an Agent: When you think you are ready expose yourself to the casting industry, then it's time to find an agent. Be careful; if you are not ready to go out there, it may hurt your reputation as an actor, because casting people will remember you. The first step is to buy "The Agencies" book at Samuel French Bookshops . This lists SAG-franchised agencies, addresses, phone numbers, types and career levels of clients they represent, and reputation and effectivess evaluations by casting consultants and others the agents work with. Since there are hundreds of agencies, do not submit your picture and resume to all of them. Be selective! At the same time, be realistic! Maybe choose 10 agencies. Mail your picture and resume along with a cover letter stating that you are seeking representation. Wait a couple weeks to receive phone calls, or you can follow up by calling them. If no luck, choose the next 10 agencies, etc. When you have an interview with a prospective agent, be yourself. And don't forget to ask questions. After all, you are hiring them. Ask yourself, "Does this agency have a good reputation?" Another important question is "Is this agent/agency excited about me?" The answers should be yes before signing a contract. You can also check out the Screen Actors Guild Agent List , which lists the current address & phone number of SAG-franchised talent agencies.
Be Pro-Active: Don't just rely on your agent to do all the work.
After all, your agent gets only 10% commission, so he/she does 10% of the
work, and you should do 90% of the work. Keep your craft up, continually
train in a class, do theatre, work on scenes and monologues, do student films,
etc. Market yourself, network, join organizations, etc. Read publications
like "Backstage" or "Backstage West/Drama-Logue"
, which are in the newstands every Thursday. They list casting notices for
union and non-union films, TV, commercials, stage, and student projects.
Also read "The Hollywood Reporter
" or "Daily Variety
" which updates you on the happenings of the entertainment industry.
Stay Informed: I have found the following web pages to be invaluable. Click the following industry related links:
Samuel French Theatre and Film Bookshop A division of Samuel French, Inc., the world's oldest play publisher and authors' agent (founded 1830, incorporated 1899). Catering to the film and theatre professional, students, and enthusiasts, they carry a full range of books on film, theatre, the motion picture industry, and other performing arts, as well as the largest selection of plays in the world.
The Hollywood Reporter Established in 1930, this magazine provides news and feature coverage of the industry--motion pictures, TV, cable, video, music, and theatre. It's read by professionals working in the industry at the movie studios, television networks, by producers, directors, and actors. It is updated daily Monday through Friday. For information on films in production, preproduction, preparation, and in development, I recommend subscribing to the weekly edition, which comes out on Tuesdays. This link includes subscription information.
List of Casting Directors - contact information of casting directors
Los Angeles Casting Directors - another resource listing contact information on Los Angeles casting directors
IAM Magazine - listing of film/tv productions
Screen Actors Guild - Check out this informative website. Info on how to join SAG. There's also a Members page that lists member benefits, contracts, wages & working conditions, agency department, residuals deparment, as well as a signatory database to check if a specific production has signed a SAG contract.
AFTRA - American Federation of Television Radio Artists, national web-site. AFTRA represents actors and other professional performers, and broadcasters in television, radio, sound recordings, non-broadcast/industrial programming and new technologies such as interactive programming and CD ROMs.
SAG Agency List - updated list of SAG-franchised talent agencies, their addresses & phone numbers
SAG Contracts - Know the various SAG contracts! There's no excuse for productions companies NOT to sign a SAG agreement. Did you know that there are film contracts that pay deferred salaries? There's also contracts that pay SAG actors as low as $100/day. Check this link out at http://sagindie.org and please provide this link to independent production companies that don't know about these SAG contracts. They'll find out that they CAN afford to hire professional actors!
Playbill On-Line - news & listing of plays, including Broadway, off-Broadway, regional, and national tours
Theatre Central - a sub-division of Playbill On-Line
Musicals - Find the synopses, lyrics, etc. to Broadway musicals right here. All you ever wanted to know about your favorite musicals (and more)!
The Biz: The Entertainment Cybernetwork Features exclusive multimedia interviews with the personalities propelling the entertainment industry forward. Also includes the Reuters-Variety On-Line Entertainment Report, new-release movie trailers, a who's who guide to the entertainment industry, up-to-the-minute press releases from Business Wire, weekly columns from insiders, weekly entertainment statistics, music videos, and the latest in fashion and style
East West Players The nation's first and foremost Asian Pacific American Theatre, located in Los Angeles, California--includes EWP news and calendar of events.
filmfilm.com - created by Nora Ephron, Ron Brown, and G. Mac Brown. If you are a filmmaker, they want to help break down barriers between you and a successful film career. If you've got a film, they'd love to screen it in their screening room, giving it worldwide exposure. They also have a talent search database, where actors can post your picture and resume, and read casting notices. It's free!
- Upstage has established a virtual community where creative people of
all artistic disciplines
can showcase their works, find like-minded artists, and potentially collaborate with each other
on future projects. The site is totally free, and there is absolutely no obligation.
CastNet.com - "The Entertainment Industry's Global Resource Provider." All members have the ability to create personal profiles which include photographs, video and audio for the rest of the community to access. You can also download sides for auditions, print out mailing labels of casting directors, and other services for $49.95 U.S. per year.
- They are working actors and production people helping others in the industry.
They will mail out your image in their industry mailers to casting agents,
they will custom build a page for you on their site, and more. Check
them out. Only $25 per year.
Are you meeting with a casting director, director, producer, or actor?
Search The Internet Movie Database
to find the movies they were involved in!