So last night I went to a very informative workshop: “How Casting Views Electronic Submissions.”
I will not assume that all of you are actors. So lemme explain. For those of you who don’t know, every role that is published(with exceptions) now requires electronic submissions. Hollywood used to be a paper headshot town, but now everything is sent through the internet – just as with any industry.
Gary Marsh, the head/founder of Breakdown services, taught the workshop. (Breakdown services is where all roles for TV and Film are streamed through. All those actors on TV? They were probably submitted through this system)
And of course, he also talked about Actor’s Access. (The side of Breakdown Services that actors can, well, access.)
I promised my friend Sarah that I would blog about this workshop, so now that I have my oatmeal, I am going to highlight the most important points.
1. Demo Clips are important
-If you can, you should have a clip, or a couple clips on your Actor’s Access account. The reason for this is actors with clips get casting director viewing priority in the system, over actors who don’t have clips.
-Gary stressed that you should have clips up, but not your demo reel. CD’s want to look at a clip that speaks of your brand(what your typecast is). When you upload the clips, make sure they have a description of what your brand is in that particular clip. For example, one of mine would probably read: “snobby, mean girl with air of entitlement” — because that is very much the kind of character that I play well. (that is a little embarrassing to write… but I guess I should own this brand, right?)
-And of course, if your demo clips are NOT good, unprofessional, poorly lit, etc., then don’t put them up. Bad clips are worse than no clips.
This leads me to my next point about….
2. Actor Branding
-It’s important! Gary stressed the fact that CD’s want specific typecasts. The more specific you can get with your expertise, the better!
If your expertise is playing the 30′s something stay-at-home Mom, own it!
Are you a biker babe? Go for it!
Are you a male preacher type? Work it!
Know your typecast, and showcase it. Of course, don’t limit yourself. However, film/TV is not theatre. CD’s want to see what you play the best.
-When you do general submissions to CDs, do postcards, not headshots. CD’s get enough headshots. (Postcards are especially great in the SE region where actors develop relationships with CD’s more quickly)
3. Rules of Submissions
-Submit Quickly! CD’s will pick all their auditioners for a role within a couple hours of publishing the breakdown.
-Submit appropriately! Be honest with yourself. Don’t submit on something you absolutely can not play. Gary said this is the #1 thing holding CD’s from publishing more breakdowns on the actor’s access side.
-Try to stick to your two free pictures on AA. Don’t go crazy with additional pictures. It costs you 10 bucks a pop extra, and everyone’s looks are always changing anyway. Don’t waste your money putting up pictures that will be useless in 6 months to a year.
-3/4 headshots are a thing of the past. Enough said.
-If notes are enabled, make sure they are something the CD can use. And, don’t put your name — they already have your name on the submission — it’s redundant. Example of a good note: “Recently was featured in guest star roles on both ‘Big Bang Theory’ and ‘CSI: Miami.’” Example of a bad note: “I’m a very great actor!”
-CD’s have a note system they can put by your submission. This note always stays by your profile. If they write, “Was rude to my assistant” when you went in for a role, do you think they will be bringing you in again? (and remember casting assistants are future CD’s… so play nice.)
Gary also touched on the LA market. And I gotta be honest, it made me happier than ever to be in Atlanta, and not still in LA.(I’m sorry, LA actors!)
-For any given breakdown(I’m talking ANYTHING… guest star roles, recurrings, feature film supporting, leads, whatever), they can get between 500-2000 submissions in LA. You know how many actors they will call in to audition? Anywhere between 15 – 40.(for television roles, it will be on the lower side)
-Gary talked about an actor he knew who had scored a recurring role on a sitcom. (recurring… like he would be back on the show OFTEN) This guy still could NOT get an agent, and he was offering to pay constant commission on his sitcom role!
-A quote directly from Gary:
For those of you who want to move to LA, stay in the Southeast. [If you move to LA,] you will sit on your fanny. The Southeast is exploding! Enjoy it.
Well, there you have it Atl actors. I talk to a lot of you guys every week. So many of you say you want to move to LA. Just wait. Wait until there is serious interest in you, as a performer, before you move out there. Take it from someone who has lived AND worked in LA!
If any of you have any more questions about this workshop, post in the comment section! I will do my best to reply!