Do Postcards Really Work?

November 5, 2012

For aspiring actors who are having a tough time getting an agent, mailing out postcards with a headshot and contact info may sound like a feasible way to get a foot in the casting industry door. But how effective are these postcards in actually landing auditions for the neophyte thespian?

While there are no official statistics on the matter, it is possible that your unsolicited postcard may arrive at a casting director’s desk at an opportune moment. If you happen to fit the role description to a tee, which matches that particular casting director’s challenge for the day, you may be one of the rare, lucky ones who get called in as a result of a mailing. But keep in mind, successful, established casting directors like to keep their clutter to a minimum. That’s precisely why online casting services like Casting Frontier are so valuable to them. Actors who have profiles on Casting Frontier are utilizing the most user-friendly workflow experience for busy casting directors. When they receive a call to find men in their 20’s who are taller than 6′ 3″, realistically, do you think they’re going to start flipping through postcards? Or do you think they’ll log into their Casting Frontier account, type these specific qualities into the search box, and see all the actors who fit the description right there on the computer screen? Whether an actor has an agent or is unrepresented, the photos pop up…better and faster than the pony express horses! Even if you’ve never before landed an audition, along with your headshots, your profile can include a reel, a voice sample, and a link to a personal website. All of this with the click of a button. If you were a casting director, which workflow would you choose: Postcards or Casting Frontier?

In addition, if casting directors are not presently knocking down your door, you can check out Casting Frontier’s Public Submissions Board. If you fit the description for a particular role, simply submit yourself. This can represent a wealth of opportunity–and you are in control. You don’t have to sit around waiting for someone to open the Hollywood-casting door for you; you can endeavor to open the door yourself! Landing auditions through public submissions may just make you look a lot more attractive to agents, and increase your exposure for future castings.

Make sure you only submit yourself for roles in which you fit the description; you want to advertise yourself as an actor with a good head on your shoulders, who’s ready to play by the rules, and who listens well.

While printing out postcards certainly can’t hurt, they are an expenditure, and part of being an actor is using your finances wisely. Now, if you’re sending out postcards to thank casting directors for calling you in, that’s a different story. Everyone likes to hear that their work is appreciated. And at the very least, casting assistants (the ones who really read the mail) will have you on their radar. At the end of the day, online casting services like Casting Frontier are the best and most effective way to market yourself; so get a profile, fill it out entirely, and keep it updated. Break a leg!

Agent Tips to Maximize Commercial Auditions

May 21, 2012

“The biggest human temptation is to settle for too little.” – Thomas Merton

The moon waxes and wanes, the tides ebb and flow, and casting calls likewise follow cyclical patterns. Sometimes you’re basking in the glory of auditions lush with fruitful acting opportunities; other times you’re a parched stranded traveler on an isolated dessert road waiting for someone–anyone–to drive by. How could this happen, you ask yourself … when you have an agent?!

Don’t assume your agent is giving you the cold shoulder. Agents can only call you in if jobs are on the board. Commercial executives, producers, directors, and advertising agents like their vacation time just as much as the next guy. Expect spring and winter breaks, as well as the entire summer, to be slow to middling. Likewise, expect an influx of jobs to come in a month before these breaks, as well as before popular commercial events like the Super Bowl or major holidays.

But regardless of how many job opportunities are flowing in, it’s always a good idea to make your presence known to your agent. Make a practice of checking in. Go into such meetings with an understanding that he or she believes in your potential and is invested in your success. There’s always a chance your agent needs to get to know you better so he or she can best represent you–to get you auditions that match your personality, your look, your skills, your essence. By checking in, agents will also learn more about your drive to succeed. When you meet, don’t emphasize how slow the auditions are, your new job, the class you’re enrolled in, or any work you’ve been doing as an extra. They likely hear from actors all day long about such matters, and this is not what will make you shine in their eyes. First off, they want to hear enthusiasm in you voice and they want to see the belief you have in yourself. Communicate how you’re being proactive: emphasize any new notable relationships you’ve fostered in the field, work you’ve done with recognizable actors, casting directors you’ve seen, and share any roles you’ve played in independents especially those to be submitted in film festivals…as long as it’s all true. And if you don’t have any news to relate, go out and make news! Don’t get caught in the mistake of waiting on your agent; an agent will do the best he or she can, but at the end of the day, it’s your career, and no one will care about it like you. Find roles through friends, classes, workshops, industry seminars, and public submissions boards.

At the same time, life is about stages, and if you don’t have any real news to share, just bring your positive energy, your special personality, and chat about what’s good in your life: a great hike you just traversed, a terrific movie you’ve seen, a new skill you’re acquiring. Keep it brief, but keep it upbeat. The idea is to remind them of your presence and your flavor without pressuring or nagging. Hey, your success is their success. You can make their job easier by reaching out to them. Many actors have found that by simply keeping in contact with their agents, their commercial auditions increase. We hope yours do as well!