frontier insider

Actors live all over the United States and abroad these days and some make a serious attempt at booking acting work in film and television. How do you increase your odds of being one of them? Keep reading.

No matter where you live, you are going to want to give it your all and that means being able to work in as many markets as possible. I tell New England actors all the time to make sure to create a presence in New York City as well.

For those who live near a fairly large market like Texas or Chicago, you want to make sure you are reaching full penetration in that market and any others nearby. Like everyone else, you want to cover the most ground so consider Louisiana and Georgia. You may not be able to achieve full coverage in these areas. You should still reach out to any offices you can and see if local agents are interested in you even though you are out of state.

If you are in a more remote area, then you are going to have to be willing to travel or relocate to make any serious progress in the entertainment industry. We have so many options that if there is a solid actor in Maine who can’t get to our offices, even for a callback, we are very likely not going to be interested in them.

The greatest advantage actors now have while living in more remote areas is their smart phone. With the current technology, actors can quickly put auditions on tape and send them to me almost immediately. We still have to be willing to fly you in for the job and pay to put you up, but in a few select situations, we might do it. However, you are relying on a producer wanting you so much more than any other actor that they will spend more money to hire you. Most of the time, this isn’t going to be the case.

Make sure you have all the gear necessary before you need it. Pretend that you get a call to put yourself on tape for that big role. What would you do? They need the tape tomorrow because as always, they’re in a rush at the last minute. That’s how casting works. Producers constantly second guess themselves three days before they begin shooting. A big part of my job is having those back-up choices ready. So, you need to be just as ready.

Do you own a good tripod? Have you ever tested sound recording in your home? Do you know of a place nearby that puts actors on tape with high quality results that you have actually seen before? Anyone can open a business that offers to take actors money to put them on tape. Anyone! But do they know what they’re doing? This is too important to leave to chance. How’s the lighting? If it isn’t great you might as well shoot in your front hallway for free.

If you live in one of the bigger markets like Los Angeles, you could still do more. I know, you moved here so you could focus on work here, but it’s 2019 and so much work shoots outside Los Angeles that actors need to cover as much ground as possible. Where’s your home market? If you’re from a state with some production in it, and isn’t that all 50 these days, you can stoke the fires in that market by making sure that producers there know you are a local hire.

Los Angeles actors still have the best odds despite runaway production because the bulk of the casting offices are here. Sure, production goes on all over the country. Casting is still primarily based out of Los Angeles and being able to walk into a casting office is your best way to be cast in a project no matter where it is shooting. We have twenty-year relationships with actors that we have hired and can vouch for so if you live in Montana you are going to have to accept that often you just won’t be on our radar. I know this opinion makes me unpopular with actors outside of Los Angeles, but better to know the truth so you can adjust and take a better shot at this, no?

As always, actors can live anywhere they want. But, also as always, casting and producers can choose to hire anyone they want. If you are going to be based outside the big markets, you should at least try to submit materials that can compete with actors that can walk into my office in the flesh.

Mark Sikes began his casting career in 1992 for Academy Award-winning filmmaker Roger Corman. In the past 25 years, he has cast over 100 films as well as television series, commercials and web series. He has cast projects for Tobe Hooper and Luke Greenfield and many others. In the past few years Mark has also produced four feature films.

Based in Los Angeles, Mark has cast films for many markets including the United Kingdom, Peru, the Philippines and Russia. Domestically, he has cast films that shot all over the country in Texas, Ohio, Massachusetts, Virginia and multiple projects in Colorado.

He currently teaches three weekly on-camera, audition technique classes in West Los Angeles.  Follow Mark on Twitter @castnguy.