By Jennifer Rudolph
If you are doing solid work, getting good feedback and are not getting called in by casting directors, agents or managers it's time to look within. It is not the business' fault but rather a lack of understanding of what the "marketplace" (the casting directors, agents and managers) are telling YOU. Many actors think that once they have an agent and/or a manager that they can sit back, relax and wait for the auditions to roll in. Um, no. An agent only gets paid 10% which means you need to be doing 90% of the work. Part of that is often figuring out WHY you may not be getting called in by casting directors.
The answer usually lies within these 3 realms:
1) The casting directors don't know you and despite having representation, casting directors want to call in people that they already know and trust. Over 1800 actors are submitted per role and only about 20 get called in.
2) You have not made a strong impression on a casting director and came across more like "Olive Garden" (serviceable in the moment but ultimately not memorable after the fact) vrs Sugarfish. (a fantastic Japanese restaurant in Santa Monica)
3) You are not marketing yourself effectively both in person and in your headshot/resume. Something is not congruent or missing that is essential to your brand.
Meet AGR'r Ruffin Prentiss
Ruffin came to see me for a Career Consultation not too long ago. In Ruffin's case he was already signed with a top agency AND had already knew most of the casting directors in NYC. Ruffin wasn't getting called in. Period. He came to me to try to figure out why. He was a solid actor, a great "type", and had a powerful agency backing him. What was the issue? I gave him a once over and studied him carefully. Ruffin wasn't marketing himself properly at all. 2 + 2 did not equal 4 with him. There were key things missing from his resume that were preventing him from getting called in and even being considered. Ruffin had been shooting himself in the foot for quite a while because he didn't consider himself to be the "type" that I saw him as and CLEARLY the "marketplace" did as well. He was completely dumfounded. I asked him if he wanted to be right or start booking work. He understood. I told him exactly what to do and he said he would follow it. During our meeting, his agent called him with an audition for NBC's "The Mysteries of Laura". I told him exactly how to approach the role and what to do. Ruffin ended up booking the role. Ruffin had a talk with his agency and told them to change his resume to fit his new skills and that they needed to posture him differently. Ruffin got an audition for CBS's "Madam Secretary" and ended up booking the role. It was a similar "type" to the role on NBC's "The Mysteries of Laura". But this one was a recurring. Next, Ruffin's character on STARZ!'s "Power" was asked to recur. Same "type."
So you see, AGR'rs, it's time to be proactive and ultimately to "listen." If something isn't working, take it as an opportunity to become an investigator. There is always an answer and if you are willing to go the distance, you can get there. You must respect the "marketplace." They are your potential employers and biggest advocates. Appeal to them, forge relationships with them and most importantly...LEARN FROM THEM.
NYC is about go into major production with a dozen new series' and a slew of returning ones. Feature films, commercials, everything is about to get intense. NOW is the time to work with casting directors, up your game, learn all you can and snag representation.
If something isn't working, figure it out. You will not book work by sitting in a corner waiting for your agent/manager to call you with an audition or praying that a casting director opens your mailing and so on. You have to create your own opportunities and navigate this business like a shark. 1800 people are submitted for a single role. 20 get called in. Why are AGR'rs often part of that 20? Because they bring their A Game, know how the business works and are memorable. :)
"If you build it, they will come."
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