All actors want more auditions. Ok, some of us probably would prefer to never audition again and just get offered the damn role, but generally speaking more auditions lead to more roles. So here are a few ideas of what you can do to get more auditions…
Note: for the purposes of this article I will use the term agent. There are differences in some countries between agents and managers, but that is not imperative for this article.
Get Better Representation
To get professional auditions you need to realise there are gatekeepers. The main ones are Casting Directors. Though you can occasionally circumvent casting directors and bump into Spielberg at Starbucks and get offered a great role over your Cappuccino, mostly you will only get professional gigs through casting directors. And the only way to get access to casting directors is through your agent. And to keep things simple, the better agent you have, the more opportunities open up.
So we’ve established that you need a great agent to get seen by casting directors, but this is tricky. It can be very hard to sign with a top tier agent, but if you want more auditions that should always be your long term goal. We discuss the “how” in a few other articles across StageMilk, but this is definitely the main place to focus if you want more auditions.
Note: As a freelance actor you can still develop great relationships with casting directors. But at the end of the day, an agent has those relationships already built, and all you have to do is show up and do good work. It will be one less thing you need to worry about in your career.
Develop the relationship with your agent
If you are in the fortunate position of having an agent, that isn’t the end of the journey. Even if you are signed with one of the big wigs in town, if you just wait for the auditions to come in you will quickly run out of opportunities. Most agents are looking after a lot of actors! And to put it simply, it is often just a memory game within your agency. Have you ever noticed that you book a role, or get a call back and all of a sudden you receive a steady stream of auditions? That’s because you have a little bit of internal hype. Just because you have signed with an agent, doesn’t mean you don’t have to develop the relationship. Be professional, proactive, and keep up the communication. If you have a great relationship and do great work you will remain at the front of your agents brain.
Update your toolkit
Do you have great headshots? Is your showreel showcasing your best acting work? Has your CV been a bit lonely? Updating any and all of these can be helpful in getting more auditions. They also can be used as talking points with your agent or with casting directors. This doesn’t have to cost you a fortune, but it is one of the most practical steps we can take as actors to help us book more auditions.
Whether you have an agent or not, you will have at least one online casting profile. These profiles include headshots, a CV and some form of showreel. These simple casting profiles are your main business cards, and if they are neglected, then your chance of booking auditions will be slim. I have already mentioned the importance of updating your actor’s toolkit, but you would be amazed how often actors don’t update their profiles, even if they have new headshots or a new showreel waiting in the wings. Give your casting profiles a look over this week and honestly ask yourself whether they are accurate, updated and showcasing you at your best.
I am always blown away by how little actors know about the industry they are trying to work in. If you want more auditions you need to have your finger on the pulse. Whether that’s reading industry magazines, getting on IMDB Pro, or just chatting with actors, producers and directors, about what is being made in your city, you need to research. The more you know about what’s happening, the more you can look into projects. I can’t tell you the amount of times I have spoken to actors who book massive roles and weren’t originally called in to audition. They heard about it from friends, spoke to their agent, asked to put down a self-tape and booked the role. You have to understand your industry to know where you might fit!
Note: I am not recommending sending unsolicited tapes to casting directors, but you can definitely speak with your agent and try to get in for a part – but only if you think it’s right for you, and have confidence in your work.
Again, whether you have an agent or not, you can still do plenty of your own hustle as an actor. It might be contacting up-and-coming directors, writers, and producers or it could be emailing a few casting directors (if you are freelance). This sort of outreach can be really powerful especially if you are early on in your career. I would definitely avoid generic emails asking for roles and try to always be specific. Connect with people by having a conversation and never ask for opportunities. If you are reaching out to a casting director, do it for a reason. Have you created a new showreel? Are you in a theatre show coming up? Those are GOOD talking points. Just emailing people asking for roles or auditions WILL NOT WORK. It shows a lack of understanding of the process, and is disrespectful to Casting Directors. Trust me, I get literally 100s of emails a week asking for more auditions!
Make Your Own Work
I know many actors are a little tired of this one. Everyone in the industry right now is encouraging actors to make their own work. The honest truth is: making your own work will not instantly result in more auditions. It is a long game. But there are so many benefits of making work that it will help build momentum for your career. It is a great talking point when you are chatting with the industry, and gives you a chance to show off your work.
Apply for more auditions
Auditioning is a numbers game. I think way too many actors just aren’t applying for enough jobs. There are tonnes of places outside that list general auditions publicly – whether that is joining Facebook groups, online casting platforms like StarNow, theatre companies, mailing lists etc. Don’t be afraid to ask, and accept that you won’t get them all but you will get some. Even still, paid or unpaid – the more auditions you do, the better you get.
So before you email me complaining about how hard it is to get auditions have another read of this article. Is there something that you can do right now that would lead to more opportunities? The answer is yes. Not all of them will be garner instant results and success, but there is always something you can do. Take your career into your own hands (whilst you wait for the phone to ring.)