GULP! This is a tough one. I pride myself on having answers to most of the questions that actors ask me. In fact, I refer to myself as an audition pro, so I’d better have the answers. But this question? Oh boy, there is no exact answer. In fact, I’ve avoided writing about this topic until now – fearing that my lack of a definitive road map for you would scare you off.
Actors can only go so far without representation. Yes, you can submit yourself for projects on actors access and backstage. Yes, you can take workshops and can meet casting directors and agents, but the question is - once you’ve hit a wall and can go no farther, if you don’t have a ton of credits, and you don’t have connections to agencies, how do you find an agent or manager?
One way is to self submit to representation. You can send headhsots and resumes to agents and managers. However, the efficacy of this method is questionable. Some agents and managers do look through their submissions, while some deposit them directly in the recycling bin.
Additionally, think of self submission from the other side. What does a headshot tell someone about you? That you can take a great picture? What does a resume say? That you did some community theatre? It doesn’t exactly speak to your abilities as an actor.
While submissions will help you feel as if you’re actually DOING something, my faith in them is not strong.
I think you need to get out there and be seen. Workshops are having a hard moment in time, but I am still a fan. Workshops a great way for industry professionals to meet unrepresented actors. Bonus – some workshops host agency/manager showcases, a great place to actually perform for representation.
Yes, workshops can feel scammy. Yes, there is a LOT of debate about them right now; however, do your research and find a credible place where you can meet representation and casting. Personally, I have cast many actors whom I have met in workshops.
Additionally, start performing. Join an improv troupe, do a show, make youtube videos. Industry professionals actually attend theatre and comedy. Performing will not only keep you creatively sharp but will also increase your odds of being seen.
Finally, while unrepresented, do take advantage of online submissions. Submit yourself for student films, short films, spec series, & commercials. Use this time to work on your skills and gather material for a reel. Any representative will want to take a look at your materials, so make it your JOB to build a reel that is representative of your skills.