An Actor Seeking Work

A typical day for me while seeking work as an actor usually starts around 8:15am with a good breakfast of cereal, toast, yogurt, a big bowl of mixed fruit and green or white tea. While I’m enjoying my favorite meal of the day, the computer is connected to the internet and I’m checking my email hoping that a casting director or someone has contacted me from one of my online submissions the day before and checking out the three casting websites I subscribed to, seeing if anything interesting in the way of roles for productions, films, tv shows or what have you, came through that I should submit myself for.

If it is a day designated for mailings, I usually use the time to write cover letters to new contacts, casting directors and agents, producers, etc. and make packets together with my headshot and résumé. Since my headshot is horizontal with space on one side, I downsized my cover letter and stapled it to the front of the headshot. This way, whoever receives my materials, will have everything at the grasp of one hand, because in addition to the headshot and cover letter, the résumé is always cut to the size of the headshot and stapled to the back of it. That’s industry standard. Another reason why you should always staple them altogether is because if they get separated among all the mail that comes into those offices, they might not find their way back together again and you might lose out. Worse yet, you might not ever know it!

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The downsizing of the cover letter was just one of the little tricks of the trade that I learned from Leslie Becker in my one on one consultation with her.

Mailings

I also use this mailing time to write postcards to my existing contacts to keep in touch and report any jobs I’ve gotten recently or even close calls such as call-backs or on-holds since the last time I sent correspondence to them. On that note, in the many question and answer sessions I have participated in with casting directors and agents, one of the questions that frequently arises is, “How often should actors keep in touch with agents and casting directors?” Almost always, the answer is, whenever you have something to say. The best things to say, as far as I have learned are things about what you have done recently in the way of acting; shows you have been in, movies, tv programs, independent films, commercials, or whatever. I’ve been taught to make my communication count and not send cards or correspondence just to say hi! Keeping in touch this way is professional and has paid off in that even the close call reports have resulted in my being called personally by casting directors to come in and audition.

Keeping in touch with industry contacts

And how to keep in touch is something I learned from Brian O’Neil’s seminar and book. I completely transformed the way I approached my business of being an actor, after having taken several forums, during which I met with casting directors and agents. Brian O’Neil’s book Acting As A Business is full of tips and valuable info. It’s easy to see why it’s one of the most read books in the Drama Book Shop in New York. I read it twice!

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After putting together my mail, it’s shower time and off to the first commercial audition of the day, which usually isn’t before 11 – 11:30am. The first could be an on-camera commercial audition at House Productions downtown. The next one is around 2pm, for an industrial at Don Case Casting and then another around 3:30pm for an on-camera commercial down at Liz Lewis Casting. There’s no rhyme or reason to what types of auditions. Could be three or four auditions usually either commercials, film, industrial or go-see (term used for commercial print auditions/castings) for print work.

In the next article, I’ll finish the story. Or the day rather.

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