Finding out about auditions or job opportunities.
Information about auditions for most paid, professional jobs never make it into the public arena. This, of course, is not what aspiring actors want to hear and consequently there is a lot of money to be made by companies who wish to exploit an actor’s desire to find out about job opportunities. Don’t be under any illusion about this – casting information services, even the good ones, exploit this desire to “find opportunities” and make money out of actors. If you have an agent, I would advise trusting them to find out about the opportunities that appear on casting information sites and save your money (though you will need to pay for Spotlight) – unless you are willing to pay for information about unpaid/profit share or low budget work. Your agent is less likely to be interested in this kind of work, for obvious reasons, so it will probably be down to you to find out about it.
This does not mean that if you have an agent you should just sit back and wait for your agent to “find you a job”. This is a common mistake that actors make, believing that once they have an agent the audition offers will come rolling in – it doesn’t usually work like that. If you are a child actor, you may need to rely on your agent to find out about professional work opportunities, but you could still explore amateur opportunities, contact student film makers, make the most of any contacts you have , keep in touch with anyone you have worked with and keep an eye on any free information services. Not a Pushy Mum is a particularly useful site as information is freely and generously shared between members on its excellent forum.
If you are an adult actor and you want to try to make your living as an actor, you need to be much more pro-active. Keep your own database of theatre companies and film companies. Keep up to date with theatre and film news. Find out about independent film companies. Seek out people who make corporate videos. Go and see lots of theatre – talk to people. That doesn’t mean “ask for a job”, that means talk to people about their work, find out about the company, ask intelligent questions, be friendly and pleasant and don’t wave your CV at them (unless they ask you for it, and they probably won’t). Have a business card available in case it’s appropriate to hand that over. You can follow up the contact at some later stage if it becomes relevant and you will have something to say in your covering letter!
Casting information services are many and varied and used by different people. If you are interested in student films, low paid or expenses only work, you will probably be able to find this without spending a lot of money. Casting Call Pro and Kids Casting Call Pro (now merged with Mandy) are free to use to search for and apply for unpaid work. Shooting People is a useful network (and not hugely expensive) if you are interested in low budget and student films. The Stage newspaper carries some information about auditions. Arts Jobs is a free email service from the Arts Council, though the jobs advertised are only rarely for performers. Facebook and Twitter are useful sources of information – and plenty of Facebook pages carry “opportunities” (also known as working for no pay) for actors.
The most important thing to realise is that many professional acting jobs are never advertised anywhere especially for adult actors.
It’s not that you can’t find them, it’s that they are not advertised. Casting Directors know who they want to see most of the time and contact agents to see whether their clients are available. In addition, they may well call in some actors they have not seen for audition before, but they are still likely to know of them, because they have seen them perform before on stage or on TV/film. Getting in through the door to see a Casting Director isn’t always easy, but once you have been seen the CD is likely to remember you – they’re good at that!
So you see, the reason it’s hard to find out about auditions is that most of them are not open to everyone. Tough but true!
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