Imagine this: You are in your car (or walking to the subway) and you suddenly get a call from a casting director. They are interested in submitting you for an upcoming project, but need to forward your headshot & resume to the director within the next 30 minutes. You’re not at your computer, so you cannot email your materials to them. And you’re nowhere near their office, so you cannot just drop by with a physical copy of your headshot/resume. What can you do?
Or, imagine this: You are networking at an event (like the Tribeca Film Festival) and you have met so many people that you have handed out your last copy of your reel. You run into an agent who has seen you on stage, but comments that he would like to see your film work. He asks if you have a reel to give him. Sadly, you don’t, and it will be at least a week until you can get more duplicates made. What now?
If you are a business-minded actor, you would have a website and neither case would have been a problem! You could simply tell the casting director, “Drop by my website, where you can download a copy of my headshot and resume, both formatted for printing.” And for the agent, you would be able to say, “Here’s my website. Not only do I have my reel posted, but I also have clips from a few of the other projects I have done, including some singing and a few commercials.”
Having a website is one of the most important promotional tools an actor can have, second only to a good headshot. A website allows you to provide interested parties with a more full look at your body of work, your personality, and the way you run your business. And it allows them to do it in their own time, at their pace and leisure, which is vitally important in the larger, more competitive markets. The easier you can make it for a CD/agent to get to know you, the better chance you have of making an impact with them.
One of the things that can get me incensed as a career coach is when casting websites pop up promising to give actors access to stardom. Some sites make it sounds like an actor’s big break is just around the corner, and all they need to do is pay a fee and they’re in! But most actors know that success comes with good training, strong relationship building, and the ability & wherewithal to seize an opportunity when it presents itself (also known as tenacity.) The trouble is, even the smartest actor has heard at least one rags-to-riches story, and the allure of a quick win sometimes overshadows common sense.
So, to combat the many unscrupulous characters baiting actors with empty promises, below you’ll find are 11 of my favorite reputable websites where casting notices can be found.
Any of the others not listed here typically have the same notices that are on the above sites. If you are in LA or NY, I would caution you if paying to use any website other than these listed- it probably wouldn’t be worth the money. Of course, there are exceptions and I am sure a new website will come along and blow away the competition. But as of now, the above sites are the most reputable for those in the major markets.
Please note: not every website has a vetting process, so it is up to the actor to research the casting notice to make sure the project is legitimate. Even for a casting website like Actors Access, which is probably the most professional and popular service, unsavory notices can get listed (especially on public forums like Craigslist.) It is up to the actor to keep themselves safe, so use caution when submitting your materials.
A side note: Any website that claims to have notices for principal roles on TV and studio film projects is probably not being truthful. I notice these sites all the time, saying things like, “Find auditions for Grey’s Anatomy here!” or “Breakdowns for CSI just posted!” … only to find out that they are simply posting the general address for the casting directors (who accept submissions via mail EVERY DAY.)
Occasionally, Actors Access and Backstage will show roles for feature films/TV but these are usually roles that are very hard to cast, like 70 year old Filipino twins. Principal roles for TV and studio features almost exclusively go through Breakdown Services, which are not accessible to actors OR these other casting sites.
As promised: Here are a few casting sites for other parts of the country:
Actors Alliance of San Diego
DailyActor Readers- if you know of casting websites from other cities that are reputable, post the links as a comment so that other actors can benefit from your experience.
Feel free to post any comments/questions you might have – and happy auditioning!
Erin Cronican’s career as a professional actor and career coach has spanned the last 25 years in New York City, Los Angeles and regionally. She is the founder of The Actors’ Enterprise (TAE), a fun and inspiring one-on-one coaching service that provides incredibly affordable business training to actors who want to feel more fulfilled and in control of their careers. With an approach that is hands-on and customized for each person, TAE helps actors set goals, organize their business, and create a plan of action with easy tools that can take them to the next level, no matter where they are starting from. TAE’s focus includes coaching on marketing/career development, business skills, and audition techniques that help actors work SMARTER, not HARDER.
Looking for more acting information?
The Best Places to get your Headshot Printed
Mary-Louise Parker has announced she’s going to quit acting.
“I’m almost done acting,” she said in an interview with The Herald Sun. “I’m not really that into it anymore. I don’t know how many more movies I wanna do. I wouldn’t mind doing a TV show again, I’d like to do a couple more plays, but I’m almost done acting, I think…It’s only started happening to me recently that I’ve felt weary of it all, so I dunno. There’s another play I wanna do after [The Snow Geese] and I wouldn’t mind doing a couple more years of a TV show, but after that not much more.”
Parker, who is starring in two summer blockbusters (Red 2 and R.I.P.D.), admitted she wouldn’t really miss acting. “I would write, still,” she said. “I write for Esquire and writing makes me happy. I would take care of my kids and my goats. That’s about it. Bake. Throw my internet in the lake.”
In fact, the Internet is one of the elements that is driving Parker away from the entertainment industry. “The world has gotten too mean for me, it’s just too bitchy,” she admitted. “All the websites and the blogging and all the people giving their opinion and their hatred…it’s all so mean-spirited, it’s all so critical.” Read more
Debate continues to go on about whether or not established celebrities have the “right” to use crowd sourcing funding websites like Kickstarter to fund their projects after a Veronica Mars movie and Zach Braff‘s next movie received significant funding through the website on the behalf of fans’ donations.
Since then more celebrities have gotten into the act, although some celebrities’ campaigns, like those of Melissa Joan Hart and Zosia Mamet, failed miserably. The Onion decided to have a little fun ripping on the recent trend, and chose an actor who has certainly seen better days as the focus: Brendan Fraser.
According to The Onion (which, of course, is a parody news site), Fraser wants to get in on this Kickstarter trend but seem to be confused about how the crowd funding site actually works. What follows is a very funny video that teases how out-of-touch 1990s/early 2000s movie star Fraser is with this whole Kickstarter thing. You can check it out below: Read more
How To Make An Acting Resume That Works For You
An actor’s resume, along with an actor’s headshot, is your calling card. It’s there to not only show off your experience and past work but also your education and acting classes you’ve taken, physical stats and any other ‘special skills’ you might have.
Even if you have no experience, don’t worry. We all started somewhere and you can still have an acting resume that you can be proud to hand off to any casting director or agent.
Make your acting resume as professional as it can be and don’t try and jazz it up.
If you’re looking to download a resume template, click here.
- You resume is always on one (1) sheet of paper.
- It must fit on the back of your 8×10 headshot. You’ll size up the resume to the back of your headshot, staple it in two opposite corners and cut the excess paper.
- Make it look clean with a lot of white space. It must be easy to read.
- Don’t try to cram every single role you’ve played since Elementary School on your resume. Did you do a production of The Wizard of Oz in High School and you’re now in your 30’s? Don’t add that.
- Don’t use any crazy fonts! Stick with Times New Roman or Arial.
- You can make the headings on your resume (Name, TV/Film/Theater section, Special Skills section) a different color than black but I wouldn’t choose more than one color.
- Never lie on your resume! Seriously, never ever lie because at some point you’re going to be caught. Whether you’re in Los Angeles, New York or Topeka, this is a small community and someone will find out. You don’t want to damage your reputation, especially if you are just starting out.
- You can choose to print your resume on the back of your headshot, but I wouldn’t. What if you just landed a part and you have 20 already printed headshots & resumes? You could write the new role in but that just looks sloppy.
- Do not put extra work on your resume.
Name, Contact Information, Physical Description, Union Affiliations (if any)
Take a look at the examples below:
Either of these will work fine.
If you have an agent or someone who is representing you, you can also put their logo on the left side and put the phone number under the logo.
- Union affiiations. SAG-AFTRA or Equity/AEA. If you’re not a member of either, just keep that part blank. Some people put SAG-AFTRA Eligible if they are able to join the union. I’m not a big fan of that – either join or not.
- Contact information. List your contact information or agents/ managers. Don’t put your address on your resume.
- Personal Information. Your height, weight, hair and eye color. Never put your age on your resume unless you are under 18.
- If you want to do musical theater, you should also list your vocal type here. Example, Voice: Tenor
In this section, you’ll list all of the acting parts you’ve had. You’ll group them by Theatre, Film and Television. If you have Web Series credits, you can make a section for that as well.
I have 3 different resumes depending on what I’m auditioning for. If I’m auditioning for a role in a play, I’ll bring my Theatre Resume. Same goes for a TV audition or Film Audition.
In each section, I list my most recent job first. Some list in order of their biggest role they’ve had and go from there. I prefer it chronologically – but either way, don’t ever add the dates you worked on those roles.
If you’ve done a bunch of work, don’t list everything you’ve ever been in. For example, if you’re in your 30′s don’t put the plays in High School you performed in.
For your Theatre section, you list the Name of the Show, followed by your Role, Theatre Company and Location of the Production.
You don’t have to add the director of the show unless they’re well known. If I did a show that Mike Nichols or Susan Stroman directed, you can bet I’d have that on my resume in big, bold letters. But normally, you wouldn’t add the Director.
Take a look at the examples below:
I personally use the 1st example but you can use either one.
For this section, you’ll list the Name of the Show or Film, followed by the Type of Role (not your character name), Network or Production Company and Director of the Show or Film.
Don’t ever put extra work on your resume. Again, don’t ever put extra work on your resume.
Training and Education:
Next up is your Training. In this section, you’ll list all of the acting classes and workshops you’ve taken. If you went to college or took classes there, you’ll add them here.
You can see that I put graduation date. This is optional.
This is the last part of your acting resume and the only part where you could add a touch of humor. Don’t get too cute though, no one cares where you were born, what time and where.
Here, you’ll put down the accents you can do. Don’t have a huge list either. Something they can glance at. And only list things you can do at that moment. If you can’t do an Australian accent on the fly, don’t put it there. I’ll give you a good example: When I was finishing up my final audition for the film, Gods and Generals, Casting Director Joy Todd and Ron Maxwell, the Director, were looking at my resume. They didn’t think I was right for the role I had come in for but they saw that I did an Irish accent and asked if I could read a few lines. I did and got the part.
And there is your acting resume! Coming Soon – Click here if you need an acting resume template. A theatre resume template is there also.
Good luck and if you ever need help, feel free to contact me!
Looking for more acting information? Here are some great resources – More Coming soon
They watch their favorite shows and movies and think, “I can do that!” They think it’s easy and glamorous.
But what most people don’t realize is that it’s a lot of hard work. It’s a huge amount of fun but yeah, it’s work!
It takes a special kind of person to want to become an actor. They have to be determined, unafraid of rejection and willing to work hard to consistently get better at their chosen craft.
This isn’t a site on how to become famous. This isn’t about becoming a star because odds are, you won’t. Hopefully you’re here because you want to learn how to be the best actor you can be. Whether you’re in Los Angeles or New York, Ohio or Colorado, you absolutely can make this happen.
One thing you should know from the start though is that being an actor is expensive. You’ll need money for headshots, headshot reproduction and acting classes. Eventually, you’ll need to market yourself with postcards and a website. You’ll also need to add your material to casting websites such as Actors Access. It’s definitely not cheap!
So, if you’re looking for steps on how to get into acting, you’ve come to the right place.
For links and more information on how to become an actor, check out our actor resources page. (coming soon)
One of the first things you’ll need is a headshot. This is not the place to skimp and be cheap because this is your calling card. If you submit an awful headshot, 99% of the time it’ll be filed away in the trashcan. Having a headshot that isn’t professional, it just automatically shows casting directors, directors and producers that you’re not serious about acting.
Your headshot needs to be shot by a professional and needs to look like you. Seriously, I can’t count how many times a casting director has told me that they’ve called in an actor for an audition and they either look 10 years older in person or their headshot was so photo-shopped that they had to do a double take. Your headshot must look like you, not what you want to look like. You should see my headshot… think I want to look like that?
What’s the cost? For New York and LA, paying $400 to $500 for a headshot session is the norm. Obviously, if you live outside of these cities, you should pay less.
If you need to find headshot photographers near you, click on the link.
The next thing you’ll need is an acting resume.
This isn’t like a resume you’d give to someone when you’re applying for a “normal” job. An acting resume is totally different. You can see examples here. (coming soon)
“I’m just starting out and have nothing to put on my resume!” I’ve heard that before and don’t worry. Everyone starts somewhere. You can easily fix that! Audition for small roles at your local Community, Dinner theater or join the cast of a Church or School production. If you’re in school then join the drama club. All of these things can be listed on your resume. You can even list any acting classes you’ve taken.
If there isn’t a role for you in the upcoming show, ask if you can help out. Theaters always need a good, responsible volunteer. This will get you in with the theater community and will make it tons easier when you actually do audition. They’ll already know you so it’ll be easier for them to take a chance on you!
Click here for more information on an acting resume. And if you need it, here’s an acting resume template. (both coming soon)
Learn Your Craft
Take a class! I’m sure there is some kind of acting class or acting program near you. I grew up in a small town and there were at least 5 acting classes within 20 minutes of where I lived.
If you’re still in school, try and find a summer acting camp. Usually, these are all day workshops that take place Monday-Friday. You’ll learn tons and walk away a much better actor. Plus, these are great places to meet people who are into the same things as you!
Go to college. There are a bunch of great schools you can choose for acting. You’ll be immersed in all things acting so how can you not improve? You’ll learn everything from movement, costumes, theater history, acting styles and techniques and best of all, you’ll be performing constantly.
I went to college in Baltimore, Maryland and loved my time there. I met some wonderful teachers and made some great friends that I still keep in touch with to this day.
For a list of acting schools and colleges, click here. (coming soon)
Audition for Community Theater. Like I said in the resume section, auditioning for Community Theater is a wonderful way to get started. I did a handful of musicals for my local Community Theater when I was in high school and I loved every minute of it. Plus, I learned a lot in the process.
Start off as an ensemble member of a large cast (every town does Oklahoma or another huge production at least once a year). Again, by getting involved, you’ll get to know the local theater companies and the people involved. The more they get to know you, they easier it’ll be to nail a part in one of the upcoming shows – especially if you’ve started off with no experience.
Audition as much as you can. Audition even if you don’t want the part. The more you audition, the better you’ll be at it. Learn to love auditioning because chances are, that’s all you be doing the first couple years once you have decided to become an actor.
Start Your Own Play Reading Group. Get a couple of friends together once every couple of weeks and read a play. Give yourself the lead role! The star of Beautiful Creatures, Alden Ehrenreich does exactly that. When I interviewed him, this is what he told me: “Just invite friends over to read a play. Like, me and my friends do that a lot and it just… it promotes that energy and that energy only builds, but you have to get the… you have to start the engine. You know?”
Don’t know what to start off with? Try something from Christopher Durang or Martin McDonaugh. Or, how about something that’s currently playing on Broadway?
Acting Agents and Managers. At this point, you might want to start looking for an agent. Do you have to have one? No, not at all. Especially if you’re not a member of any of the acting unions (SAG-AFTRA or Equity).
Don’t ever pay an agent or manager a fee for joining their agency or company. There are actor scams out there where you’ll be asked to pay an “agency fee” when you sign up. Don’t do it. Ever. The only time you should pay an agent or manager is after you’ve received payment for an acting job you’ve booked and already worked on.
Will you need a manager? Odds are you won’t. You’ll only need a manager when you have a career that actually needs to be managed. Typically, managers to 20% of what you’ve made on each job. That’s a lot of money to give to someone when you’re only working a couple times a year.
If you’re in Los Angeles or New York City, check out our actor mailing labels. We have sets of casting director mailing labels and agent mailing labels updated monthly.
Auditions and Casting Calls. How do you find auditions and casting calls? If you’re not in LA or NYC, check your local paper or their website. Google – auditions ‘my city’ – and I’m sure something will come up. Also, check out Actors Access or call your local SAG-AFTRA office. Most either have hotlines or audition information listed on their site. That’s how I found out about the audition that got me my SAG card.
Also, take a look at our post, Top 11 Reputable Casting Websites.
Acting is a Business
You have to treat acting as a business because that’s what it is, a business.
When you’re called in for an audition, be prepared. Know your scene, monologue or your song. Come with your headshot and resume (stapled together!). Be professional. You might only have one shot with that casting director. Make it the best and show them you have the goods!
Casting directors, directors and anyone who can hire you want to know that you are the answer to their casting “problem”. They need you and they want you to be great! They are rooting for you.
Keep up with what is happening in the entertainment industry.
Don’t go into this blind. Nothing irritates me more than meeting an actor who doesn’t watch TV or isn’t up to date on what is going on in film, TV or theater. This is your job!
My favorites are The Hollywood Reporter and Variety for film and TV news. Backstage is good as well. And of course, Daily Actor (shameless plug) – we feature interviews with actors, articles where actors talk about the craft of acting. We also we have a huge actors resource page. (coming soon)
This Won’t Happen Overnight
I did my first play in Elementary school, did the fall and summer productions in High School and then started to do shows at my local community theater. When I went to college, I moved onto Dinner Theater and found other theater companies to work with. While I was doing that, I auditioned for an industrial film, got the part and was lucky enough to get my SAG card. I’ve been acting for years and I’ve loved every minute of it.
Some people get lucky right off the bat. Some don’t… it could take them years. But, if you work hard, it’ll happen. If you’re prepared, it’ll happen.
Looking for more acting information? Here are some great resources – More Coming soon
As actors, we all need a website. Yeah, we have an iMDB page and our Actors Access profile but we all need our own space on the web. Something that shows casting directors and agents (even family and friends) what makes us unique and will help promote your career.
As an actor, I know exactly what you need when it comes to creating a website to showcase your career. From a custom design, headshot galleries, demo reels and social media integration, we can make a website that is uniquely you.
Custom Made Websites
Templates – Only $129!
With each template, you have the option of changing colors and fonts. If you’d like anything added, there is an additional (small) fee.
More templates coming soon!
As casting director Heidi Levitt said when I interviewed her:
“I think that [actors] still have to really work hard to distinguish yourself but I think as an actor today, you can utilize all of these different tools and try and get yourself out there. You know somebody sending me a fantastic website, that’s really going to be helpful. The problem is most actors still haven’t sort of caught up with what they can do with that technology today. It’s hard. I understand. A lot of people have websites but they are not good. I would rather see something that’s good. Something that shows who you are rather than this glitzy, over fluffed up picture and then a website that looks really cheesy.”
Each site we create will be custom designed for you and only you. Additionally, each website order will get you featured on Daily Actor! And, you’ll also get a free set (or sets depending which design you purchase) of our Actor Mailing Labels.
Custom Website Design Pricing
As an actor, I also know how little money we tend to have so I’ve tried to price my websites so it won’t kill you and your bank account. The pricing below is for our custom made actor websites.
Prices are cheap till we get 10 examples!
Co-Star Design – $199 (now – $179!)
1 page, clean and simple. You’ll get 3 headshots, 1 Demo Reel, Resume Link, Contact Info and Social Media Links. Also 1 free set of Actor Mailing Labels.
Guest Star Design – $299 (now – $249!)
5 page site (Home, Demo, Resume, Headshots Gallery, Contact). Also, 2 free sets of Actor Mailing Labels.
Series Regular Design – $450 (now – $325!)
Unlimited Pages (Including Home, Demo/Video, Resume, Headshots Gallery, Contact, Bio, Social Media Links). Also, 3 free sets of Actor Mailing Labels and free site updates for 2 months.
Check out the designs above. Several more will be posted soon. Daily Actor was also designed by me.
I’ll also help and guide you into getting your domain name, cheap site hosting and showing you how to add updates to your actor website.
Some things we won’t do:
No Flash: Why? You won’t be able to see it on iPad’s and most mobile devices.
Music: Why? Casting directors and Agents want to see your site. Most want to see it quickly and have it easily assessable. Imagine a casting director opening your site in a quite office, they pull up your site and your favorite song blasts through their speakers. They’ll hit the exit faster than you can imagine.
Even if you don’t choose our designs, I suggest you stay away from companies that you have to pay a monthly (non-hosting) fee. Those sites, you don’t own anything. No graphics or designs. Which means if you want to move to another company, you have to start from scratch.
If you’re interested in talking about a new actors website (or even if you want to update the one you have now), get in touch with me!
Interview: Actor Tyler Langdon on Playing a Character with Social Anxiety in ‘Nerve’ and Getting Cast in ‘The Incredible Burt Wonderstone’
I recently had the chance to see Nerve, an independent film about a character with social anxiety starring Tyler Langdon. I had never seen Langdon act before, but I was really impressed by his performance in the movie as Josh Biggs. I was happy to hear that after starring in Nerve and receiving a Hollywood Discovery Award at the Hollywood Film Festival, Langdon is set to appear in the upcoming New Line Cinema comedy The Incredible Burt Wonderstone as the teenage version of star Steve Carell‘s character.
This is by far the most visible role for Langdon, and I reached out to see what he could say about how he transitioned from a lead role in an independent film to a supporting role in a big-budget Hollywood movie. In particular, he elaborates on how he managed to make that leap from indie film festivals to multiplexes.
You’ve obviously been a working actor for quite some time, but one of your most high profile roles to date is the role of Josh Biggs in Nerve. How did you get that part?
I originally heard about the role through LA Casting, believe it or not. From what the director, J.R. Sawyers, tells me, I was one of only a few people in the original audition for Josh who played it exactly as he had imagined. He brought me back in for a callback a week or so later and then offered me the part shortly after that. Read more
by Emily Grace
All of these celebrities are doing it: Pitt, Clooney and Damon. Kristen Wiig, Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph and Amy Poehler. The Coen Brothers. Judd Apatow.
Why aren’t you?
What are they doing, you ask? Working with the same people again and again.
In business it’s what is called the Know-Like-Trust Factor. And it’s the secret sauce to going from auditions to offers.
World renowned speaker and best selling author Zig Ziglar says,
“If people like you, they will talk to you. If people trust you, they will do business with you.”
Professionals at every level of the entertainment industry, when given the choice, will hire someone they know, like and trust – from a-lister’s all the way down to a first time student filmmaker.
When it comes to your acting career – it’s time to stop chasing after random audition opportunities just for the sake of getting into the room. Create long-term relationships to establish the know-like-trust factor, and you’re well on your way to being hired over and over. Read more
I once got in an argument with a student who insisted the old internet legend of Mr. Rogers being a sniper in Vietnam was true because she read it on the internet. After all, she pointed out, why would anyway waste time posting something on the internet that wasn’t true.
This is an issue the Internet Movie Database, one of the most popular websites on the internet, has come under fire for in recent months, not only because of its now-famous age discrimination filed by Junie Hoang but also from other complaints, like those from Texas Councilman Shane Scott, who IMDb confused with the same-name soft-core pornography actor. Read more