I found this on the Backstage message board and thought it was really insightful.
Written by Broadway2Hollywood, its well worth a read.
There’s another top 10 list that I’ll reprint tomorrow – both with permission from the original authors.
1. The top dumbest mistake is Being Dumb!
Includes not knowing even the simplest of industry vocabulary.
(upstage, downstage, slate, scale, sides)
If you don’t know something, do research, look it up or ask around until you get a proper answer. Everyone wants to work with intelligent people. Don’t perpetuate the idea that actors are dumb and untrustworthy.
2. Not getting training.
In this reality-show era, many people show up in town and think they can start an acting career just because they (think they) have a really great personality. Most of them don’t think they have to learn how to act.
3. Being Unprepared (or underprepared). — see #1 and #2
Also includes going to auditions without looking at the material, not making any choices, or knowing anything about the project (often including its title or the casting director’s name).
4. Sending out sub-par materials.
Headshots that don’t look like them, or are poorly photographed. Demo reels that are endless and/or look like they were made in a basement by teenagers and shot on a cell phone, and include bad acting.
5. Thinking that getting an agent is the end of the rainbow and that the agent will do all the work.
An agent only gets 10% — they should only reasonably be expected to do 10% of the work.
6. They don’t know how to spell! (or proofread). (see above: Being Dumb!)
Includes misspelling words, titles and people’s names on their resume, and also misspelling the names of the agent or CD they’re sending a correspondence to!
7. Having an unprofessional resume.
Oh boy, here are just some of the things this includes:
-Lying on their resume.
-Their resume is difficult to read. (They use fancy fonts, tiny print or distracting graphics)
-They don’t have their resumes cut to 8×10
-Listing a Teaneck, New Jersey theatre as “Off-Broadway”
-Listing extra work (or listing extra work as “featured”)
-Having lengthy resumes filled with absolutely nothing anyone in the industry has ever heard of.
-Not having their name AND contact number on their resume (and every other business correspondence)
8. Not taking direction.
Includes direction from directors or casting directors at auditions (where they give an adjustment and the actor ignores it and does it again the exact same way, usually the way they practiced it at home.) Also includes not following basic audition instructions — bringing in a 5-minute monologue when they’ve asked for a 2-minute monologue, singing an up-tempo pop song when they’ve asked for a classic ballad, showing up at 4:00 when the audition was scheduled for 3:00. (Um, see “Being Dumb!” again.)
9. Being Rude, Pushy, Impatient, Unpleasant.
…In everyday life as well as auditions and work situations. Most of our colleagues have very long memories, and everyone makes a mental list of who they would want to work with, or work with again (even if they’re not aware that they do.)
10. Hanging out with people who do not either empower them or support their dream.
(Or only hanging out with unsuccessful, bitter, complaining actors. OR, exclusively hanging out with other people in the industry.)