Written by Dallas Travers, CEC
Track One: Casting Directors
Casting Directors are the most obvious route to securing more auditions. They’re definitely not the only route, but it is a good place to start.
Here’s a simple strategy outlining how you can become known by casting directors by utilizing workshops. I’m going to use the umbrella term of “workshop” to define classes, intensives, and seminars.
Step One: Create your target list. There are literally hundreds of casting directors in the business, so it’s pretty impossible to effectively apply the Rule of Seven to all of them. Not to worry – you don’t have to. Just select a small (less than 12) list of casting directors and target them specifically and consistently.
Step Two: Register for 3-4 different CD workshop studios if you can. Now, remember, not all studios are created equal. I recommend that you join a service that truly auditions their talent before accepting an actor. This insures that the caliber of talent is consistent and sets you up to really shine.
Step Three: Only workshop with those casting offices on your target list. This will allow you to maintain your sanity and your budget by attending a limited number of workshops with a purpose rather than taking a shot in the dark and workshopping with various CDs through a process of random selection. Step Four: Apply the Rule of Seven. Try to see each target casting director seven times over the course of about 18 months.
Step Five: Follow up. Send a thank you card after each workshop specifically speaking to one thing you appreciated or learned in the class. Be real. Be authentic. Talk about one gem you took away from the workshop experience.
Step Six: Stay in the loop. Send a postcard update to your target list at least every other month. Keep in touch so you can truly develop a relationship with the casting directors on your target list.
You can implement this program regardless of your budget. All you need to do is adjust the size of your list. If you can only afford one workshop at the moment, then perhaps your target list consists of three or four offices. Remember, that this plan only works if you stick with it this for the long haul. Do not get discouraged after you meet with your list’s members 3-4 times without landing an audition. The magic number is seven.
Track Two: Producers
Unlike casting directors, producers are not inundated with calls, headshots, postcards, and requests from actors. Yet, they’re the people who are ultimately in charge of hiring you. A producer’s job is to take meetings and make phone calls. So, I find they are so much more receptive to an actor’s marketing than a casting director.
I’ve met many casting directors who feel frustrated by the fact that at the end of a long casting process, the actor who gets the job is someone who has a relationship with the producer.
Now, this may sound very unfair but I think it’s really great news because all you have to do is build producer relationships and get on their short list. You can do that by applying a lot of the same strategies we just talked about with casting directors. Let me walk you through it.
Step One: Research. Finding the right producers to market to can be a little time consuming, but it’s worth it. I’d start by identifying the film directors you most want to work with. Look those films up on imdbpro.com and view their full filmographies. You’ll start to see the same producer names pop up because the same producers tend to hire the same directors for multiple projects. We all want to work with our friends, right?
If your focus is television, start with your target list of TV series. Look each series up on imdbpro.com and select one or two producers per show. I’d focus on the executive producers or producers who also have a writing or directing credit on the series. This indicates that they’re actively involved in the day-to-day production of the show.
Step Two: Pick up the telephone and request a meeting. I’m considered to be a leading expert in marketing for actors and if I could only recommend one marketing touch, it would be a phone call. Phone calls are very scary. But they are also the least expensive and most effective way to get results quickly. Embrace the power of your telephone.
Step Three: Stay in touch with a monthly marketing campaign. This can be the same message you send to casting directors.
Step Four: Set up a Google alert for everybody on your target list. If you go to www.google.com/ alerts, you can basically fill in specific search terms and Google will notify you whenever your search terms show up in the media.
Track 3: Indie Filmmakers
There are so many opportunities available now to book paid work through new media – web series, short films, quality indies, and more. So, the third tack to follow to increase your auditions is independent filmmakers and directors. My client, Shannon has booked two nice paid indie films this year by reaching out to the filmmakers directly.
You can do it too, and here’s how:
Step One: Identify film festivals you wish to be a part of. You might consider well known festivals such as Sundance, but don’t forget about alternative festivals like Dances With Films or First Glance.
Step Two: Visit each film festival’s website and compile a list of short and feature length films that won awards in previous years. Identify the film’s name, the production company, and the director of the project.
Step Three: After you’ve made a list of the films and the directors who are featured on the site as winners, now it’s time to go to imdbpro.com and research the people from your list. You can oftentimes access the direct website address for indie production companies and email the filmmaker directly.
Step Four: Email each filmmaker, introduce yourself, and request a 10-minute meeting to talk about what projects they are currently working on and how you might collaborate.
True story… one of my Thriving Artist Circle members landed over a dozen meetings with indie filmmakers by following this strategy. Cool, huh?
Track Four: Your Fans
Don’t forget to stay in touch with the people you already know! The casting directors who have hired you are your fans. Your agent is on your team. Producers, directors, and even other actors you’ve worked with all need to hear from you.
Your job is to stay in consistent communication with the people you already know. I think a really easy way to do this is through quarterly email updates.
My student, Marina just booked the lead in a martial arts film that shoots in Japan for three months. She’s thrilled about it, to say the least. The good news here is that Marina did not even have to audition. She booked the job as a direct result of an email update she sent to directors who know her work. The film’s director replied to her email campaign with an invite to meet the film’s producers and an offer shortly followed. How great would it be to never audition and simply accept or reject offers when they came in?
Here are a few tips for staying in touch with the people you already know and like:
Tip One: Get permission to stay in touch via email. When you meet someone, simply ask them if you can connect through email periodically. Most people are happy to say,“yes” when you ask them. Most people are grumpy when you invade their inbox without permission.
Tip Two: Don’t sell yourself. Connect, instead. Make your email exchange all about them. Share a link to an article you liked, a funny video, or other item of interest. The real key here is to focus on the relationship more than the next audition.
Tip Three: Be consistent. Have you ever received numerous emails out of the blue from someone who needs something from you? Perhaps it’s a fellow actor promoting a show, or a photographer running a headshot special. You can avoid appearing needy or greedy by sending consistent messages rather than frequent messages. You’ll get a feel for how often is too often, so trust your gut and just remember to be cool. You’re in this for the long haul.
You now know the four proven strategies to increase your auditions. If you are excited or even if you are feeling a little overwhelmed, I want you to implement just one of these strategies at a time. Remember, the key to successful marketing is the Rule of Seven. So, start with the track that appeals to you most. Create an easy strategy and implement it. Only after you’ve implemented the first track should you move on to the next.
Lastly, please remember that these strategies work when you work them. The results won’t happen overnight, but they will indeed happen if you follow my advice and stick with your process. Now, go get ‘em,Tiger!
Respected as one of the entertainment industry’s leading experts, Dallas Travers teaches actors the career and life skills often left out of traditional training programs. Her groundbreaking book, The Tao of Show Business, has won over five awards including first prizes at The Hollywood Book Festival and the London Festival along with the National Indie Excellence Award. She has helped thousands of actors to increase their auditions, produce their own projects, secure representation and book roles in film and television.
If you’re ready to jump-start your acting career, get your FREE Thriving Artist Starter kit now at http://www.dallastravers.com