I have worked in the Entertainment Industry as long as I can remember. I have been a member of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists since 1985. I decided to create and maintain this blog in my spare time to help people who are interested in working as a performer in the Entertainment Industry. I hope the free information on this site can help you continue working as a professional actor, or help aspiring actors achieve your dream of working as an actor or extra in film and television. I hope my websites continue to help talent obtain employment in the entertainment industry.
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Comprehensive actors resource guides that include listings of talent agents and casting directors, sample actors resumes, acting classes, headshot photographers, extras casting agencies, work permits, child talent information, and many valuable tips and advice.
Each eBook contains a minimum of the following:
• Casting Directors List • Extras Casting Directors List • Talent Agents List • Acting Schools List • Headshot Photographers List • Actors Unions • Sample Actors Resume • Sample Beginning Actors Resume • Sample Cover Letters • Audition Tips • How To Make an Audition Video • General Talent Agent Information • Entertainment Industry Terminology • Child Work Permit Information • Immigration Work Permit Information • Non-Immigrant Visa Application • Miscellaneous Resources • PDF Users Guides
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More locations coming soon.
If you are serious about becoming a working professional film and television actor, then these eBooks are an absolute must-have. Take a giant step towards making your dreams come true and obtain one of the most valuable tools available for all actors - The Actors Resource Guide eBooks.
Click Here to get the Code to put an Acting Auditions Banner on your Facebook, MySpace Page, Blog, or Website!
Click Here to get the Code to put a Disney Channel Auditions Banner on your Facebook, MySpace Page, Blog, or Website!
Click Here to get the Code to put a Feature Film Auditions Banner on your Facebook, MySpace Page, Blog, or Website!
Click Here to get the Code to put a TV Show Auditions Banner on your Facebook, MySpace Page, Blog, or Website!
Click Here to get the Code to put a Become an Extra Banner on your Facebook, MySpace Page, Blog, or Website!
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Click Here to get the Code to put a Soap Auditions Banner on your Facebook, MySpace Page, Blog, or Website!
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Click Here to get the Code to put a Talent Agents Banner on your Facebook, MySpace Page, Blog, or Website!
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Important information about uploading audition videos
A large number of casting directors and studios are now using Cast It Systems' ActorCast to allow people to upload audition videos for specific projects and roles.
When uploading audition videos, make absolutely sure to follow the directions exactly as stated. If they want it done a specific way, then do not disregard the instructions and do whatever you want.
Not following the instructions is a sure way to NOT get a call back. If you can't follow simple directions on how to tape and submit an audition video, then the casting director will assume that you may not be able to take direction well on set during filming. And that is not a good thing. So be very careful and follow the directions exactly as they are explained. Remember that not following directions can cost you the part!
How Films and Television Shows are Cast
The executives give the "green light" for movies and TV shows to be produced. Then the production company of the project hires casting directors, who in turn send out "breakdowns" of the characters being cast.
These "breakdowns" actually are sent out by a service called "Breakdown Services" and are only available to licensed Talent Agencies.
Then the agents at these agencies submit photos, resumes, and sometimes "demo-reels" to the casting directors. Then the casting directors call in the actors that fit the roles they are casting, usually many many actors are called in.
Then they narrow it down to the best actors who came in and "call back" these actors to read again for the director, sometimes the writer, producer, etc. Then they narrow it down further, and sometimes there are 3 - 4 "call backs" before an actor is finally hired.
Occasionally a casting director will call in an actor who sends a photo and resume on their own without an agent, however it is difficult for talent to find the addresses and casting directors. That is what this website is for. To help people get their photo and resume to the correct casting directors, and to find legit open casting calls.
Does it cost anything to audition?
NO! Never ever pay someone to audition. If they ask you to pay, then it is surely a scam. Legit casting directors, agents, and managers never charge any up-front fees whatsoever. You should never be asked or required to attend any specific classes, use any specific photographers, or pay ANY upfront fees.
Agents typically get 10% of your paycheck AFTER you work. Managers typically get 15%. Casting Directors get paid by the studio or production company. The only fee you should ever pay for is legit extras casting agencies, such as Central Casting in Burbank, CA. They may charge a small photo imaging fee of around $20, this is because they must take a digital photo of all extras for consistency in their files, and to make sure that they know what the extra looked like when they registered.
So the answer is NO! It costs absolutely nothing to audition for television shows and films.
Will casting directors consider me if I randomly send in my photo/resume and don't have an agent?
Here is what casting director Gayle Pillsbury of Zane/Pillsbury Casting said in regards to general submissions when asked the following question:
If an actor does not have representation by a talent agent, what is the best way for them to get noticed by a casting director?
"You can also try and send a general submission of yourself to a casting office – I’ve opened some pictures and just really liked the picture of the person and held onto it until an appropriate role came up so I could audition that actor. And while I don’t want to sound discouraging, general submissions are a long shot – you’re really bargaining on timing and luck. But again, it’s about being pro-active and creative-minded."
These statements mirror what the vast majority of casting directors have told me over the last 20+ years. I have a separate website that addresses talent agency issues. It includes FAQ, scam alerts, and a state-by-state listing of all legit talent agents in the USA. Click Here to go to my Talent Agents information and resources website.
Gaining Experience - Background Acting
I personally feel that if a person does not have experience, doing extra work is a fantastic way to get used to being on a film or TV set. It gives you an idea of how things work and allows you to become comfortable on a set without risking "burning bridges" if you get nervous and a little stage fright.
I myself did extra work in the beginning of my career and it helped me tremendously. I had terrible stage fright, but I became very comfortable after doing background work for a while. It doesn't pay a whole lot, but the experience you get is valuable. Acting is like any other job, the more training and experience a person has, the better chance of getting the job. But at the same time, we all have to start somewhere!
Getting an Agent
For beginners, the best thing is to send your photo and resume to as many agents as possible. It is very very difficult to get an agent without being in SAG and/or AFTRA. I recommend any legit agent that will sign you. I also recommend reading all of the information on the following blog:
Unsolicited phone calls and personal visits to casting directors are prohibited in the entertainment industry. Not only does it display a huge level of non-professionalism, it is extremely inconsiderate of casting directors time. They receive hundreds, and even thousands of photos and resumes every week. They certainly can not accommodate being inundated with phone calls from actors, and aspiring actors.
Talent Agents who know casting directors can call them if it is for a very important reason such as rescheduling a client for an audition. But calling casting directors, production companies, producers, and studios is an agents job, NOT an actors.
The only exception to this extremely important rule is if you are RETURNING a phone call after they have contacted you first.
The Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) is an American labor union representing over 150,000 film and television principal and background performers worldwide. The current organization is the result of the March 30, 2012 merger of the Screen Actor's Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.
According to the SAG-AFTRA Mission Statement, the union seeks to: negotiate and enforce collective bargaining agreements that establish equitable levels of compensation, benefits, and working conditions for its performers; collect compensation for exploitation of recorded performances by its members, and provide protection against unauthorized use of those performances; and preserve and expand work opportunities for its members.
The Screen Actors Guild was founded in 1933 in an effort to eliminate exploitation of actors in Hollywood who were being forced into oppressive multi-year contracts with the major movie studios that did not include restrictions on work hours or minimum rest periods, and often had clauses that automatically renewed at the studios' discretion. These contracts were notorious for allowing the studios to dictate the public and private lives of the performers who signed them, and most did not have provisions to allow the performer to end the deal.
SAG-AFTRA is the primary performer's union in the United States. The union is affiliated with the AFL-CIO. SAG-AFTRA claims exclusive jurisdiction over motion picture as well as radio, television, Internet, and other new media. Internationally, SAG-AFTRA is affiliated with the International Federation of Actors.
How To Qualify For SAG-AFTRA Membership
A performer becomes eligible for SAG-AFTRA membership under one of the following two conditions:
1) Proof of Employment.
SAG-AFTRA membership is available to those who work in a position covered by a SAG-AFTRA (or AFTRA or SAG) collective bargaining agreement. Any person qualifying through work as a background actor must have completed three days of work as a background actor under a SAG-AFTRA (or AFTRA or SAG) collective bargaining agreement.
2) Employment Under an Affiliated Performers Union.
Performers may join SAG-AFTRA if the applicant is a paid-up member of an affiliated performers union (ACTRA, AEA, AGMA or AGVA) for a period of one year and has worked and been paid for at least once as a principal performer in that union’s jurisdiction.
All new members pay a one-time-only initiation fee, plus the first semiannual dues at the time of joining. The national initiation fee rate is currently $3000.00 (initiation fees may be lower in some states). Annual Base dues are $198.00. In addition, work dues are calculated at 1.575 percent of covered earnings up to $500,000.
Once you are a member, you must abide by the rules of membership, starting with Global Rule One and the No Contract/No Work Rule. And, whether you are a SAG-AFTRA member or not - NEVER accept work during a Union strike!
Becoming a SAG-AFTRA member is a very important milestone for every working professional talent in the entertainment industry. But you should not be in a rush to join unless you are absolutely certain that you are ready to compete for professional performing jobs. For actors, you should prepare yourself by studying acting and improv, doing live theatre, and perform in non-union on-camera productions in order to build your resume and gain extremely valuable experience.
1. Always know what you are auditioning for.
2. Arrive thirty minutes prior to the audition time. This will allow ample time to check in and warm up, check out your competition.
3. Bring at least 2 photos and resumes. Photos should reflect current physical likeness (should always be updated!).
4. Do not chew gum ( all directors hate it).
5. When attending callbacks, always wear the same attire worn at audition. Try to do everything you did the first time because it has already worked during the first audition.
6. Be confident, smile, always have a positive attitude.
7. Act excited about everything you asked to do.
Be prepared for improvisation. Different voices and dialects are a plus. Prepare a dramatic and comedic monologue no more than 2 minutes in length. Note if the audition is going to provide sides (a portion of the script).
Bring 2 selections of sheet music, 1 up-tempo and 1 ballad, in legible condition. Be prepared to sing the best 16 bars. Know your vocal range. Sheet music should have full musical notation and in the key in which you will perform. If audition requires movement, dress appropriately.
Wear appropriate dance attire. Bring appropriate dance shoes. If the audition requires singing, bring at least 2 selections of sheet music, 1 up-tempo and 1 ballad. Be prepared to sing the best 16 bars.
Brand Yourself With Headshots
You should have two good color headshots (not "airbrushed", unless only to clean up a loose hair, etc), one "serious" and one "smiling". But it doesn't hurt to have 3-4 "looks". Try to portray the best possible image of your "brand". In other words, the type of personality and look that you would best portray.
Sometimes it is best to ask several other people who know you, like teachers, friends, etc. Parents often do not correctly see their child as portraying the "type" that they really should be. Here are some of the primary "types" for young actors:
nerdy kid/future genius
What to expect at an Acting Audition
When you are called to audition, you are given "sides" which is a few pages of script to read. You can usually download these lines a few days before the audition. Sometimes they have you do a "cold reading" where you are given the sides right there and then. When you arrive, you sign in at the receptionists desk, wait in the front office usually with several other actors. When they call you in, you sit down and have a brief conversation with the CD. It is best to ask them a few questions about the script, project, role, etc., before they bring it up! And that is it. If they like you, they usually call you back within a week or two to come back and read for the director and maybe writer, etc.
Important Safety Information
I always recommend using a PO BOX instead of your home address when submitting. This is another good reason that getting an agent as soon as possible is of utmost importance. Then your agents contact information is all that is listed on the resume, cover letter, and envelope. There is an earlier post about how to get an agent in my blog archives (or table of contents).
Also, NEVER meet someone outside of a professional environment such as a studio or casting/agents office. Do NOT meet someone at a restaurant, private residence, etc. You should ALWAYS let someone else know EXACTLY where you are going, WHO you are meeting, and WHEN you are going there.
And a parent or guardian must ALWAYS accompany minors. A parent or guardian should NEVER be out of eyesight of the minor, whether it be at auditions or on set.
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