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SUBMITTING YOURSELF FROM HOME

fedIf you are truly adventurous and able to afford a quick trip to Hollywood (frequent flyer miles, anyone?), you may occasionally want to submit yourself for some of the projects you find listed in Backstage. If you have the equipment and capability of taping an audition from home, there may be the rare casting director willing to go along with that idea. If you can up-load that audition to a website (even YouTube or MySpace can be used for this purpose), all the better.

When you make your submission (and it had better reach the casting office overnight!), be prepared for the remote possibility that they will call and tell you that you have an audition TOMORROW! It’s at this point that you must tell them you’re out of town “at the moment”, but could send them a taped (uploaded?) audition. Tell them that you’re available to come to the callbacks or, if they’re planning to book directly from your audition, OF COURSE you’re available for the job. (ONLY say that stuff if you mean it. Duh.)

But do not fool yourself into thinking that it will happen very often, if at all. It won’t. Casting directors don’t need to reach outside of Hollywood for more actors; they already have literally hundreds of choices for each role right here at their disposal and they will always prefer meeting and auditioning actors in person.

Bear this in mind, too: The vast majority of projects you will find in BSW are either non-paying or so low-paying as to be almost ridiculous. Would you really be willing to fly to L.A. and put yourself up in a motel just for the possible chance to work for free (or worse, after expenses, to be out-of-pocket)? In our opinion, you should only consider doing that if it would not be a financial hardship and if you can look at it as a mini-vacation/adventure/learning experience. Otherwise…fuggedaboutit!

*When we say “home”, we mean those of you living outside of L.A.

If you are truly adventurous and able to afford a quick trip to Hollywood (frequent flyer miles, anyone?), you may occasionally want to submit yourself for some of the projects you find listed in Backstage. If you have the equipment and capability of taping an audition from home, there may be the rare casting director …

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About Kris Malone

Kris Malone is the nom de plume of a longtime Hollywood talent agent. Kris created this website as a way for actors to improve their chances of making it in Hollywood, not as a way to reach the agency for possible representation. Kris wishes all of you actors out there the best of luck, laced with a big dose of reality and plain old common sense.

39 comments

  1. Good advice, but puh-leeze learn to spell, or at least how to use spell check. You’re obviously bright; don’t let the English language screw you up.

  2. MESSAGE TO ALL POSSIBLE CASTIES!!!!After doing the Audition today in Dallas I can possibly help with some Imediate PREPERATIONS. First1. Feel reelxad and confident,Don’t BE NERVOUS.Remember their people like you.And YOU are entertaining.2.Chalk up on your James favorites Movie scripts .There will be plenty to choose from(don’t ask I won’t tell).3.Upon the monologes.CHOOSE WISELY,Remember you have one shot to do your best 4.Read and Reread.Inbed it into to your subconcious and feel what you want to do and do it your way,it will completly add to the flavor.5. When in the audition room look at Brian , something about him will relax you and make you feel comfortable.He’s totally cool.6.PREFORM,PREFORM,PREFORM.7.Finsh and thank you to every Auditioner,for not only did you make the effort to be there but they took the time to watch you do what you do best.GOOD LUCK EVERYBODY Ross

  3. I’m fourteen, I’m Chinese but I lived in England all my life (so I sound British) I moved to Australia a year ago, and I am with an acting&modelling agency and have an agent…however, I have no screen experience and I sometimes get worried that when I act, I’m not good enough to be able to secure jobs. I’m taking an acting course in a few days which goes for a few weeks, but is there anything that I could do to get more experience? I live in a high-tourist small city which many big brands shoot commercials and tv shows in. Acting is popular in my city, and a few of my friends have been on Disney channel etc. but they are not particularly good at acting.

  4. Hi am Janet ekpo am 18 I wanna be an actress the problem is am a Nigeria and its very hard to get opportunities in my country to talk of outside my country so I need help am a performing student of University Of Lagos Nigeria. thanks for reading and maybe replying…

  5. Can you think of anything related to show biz that isn’t “hard”? But…why the link to Michelle Danner? She’s already on our list of recommended teachers.

  6. You don’t mention where you live, but no matter where that may be, sign up for our blog (which is separate from this website) for up-to-date info:

    http://www.HollywoodPassport.blog.com

  7. this is interesting but i think it will be hard without an agent.

    http:..www.michelledanner.com

  8. hi im in love with singing, dancing, and acting so if anyone has an idea how i can get my break. please let me know

  9. Hi, Roxianne!

    The only question you pose that is not answered in this site is about your “dark skin”. All I can say is this:

    1. It is sometimes more difficult to properly photograph someone with very dark skin, but certainly not impossible. (Try not to lighten your image in a photo so that it doesn’t truly represent you.)
    2. Dark skin hasn’t stopped Don Cheadle, Denzel Washington, too many super models to mention here, Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, etc., etc., etc.
    Why should it stop you?

    If you haven’t signed onto our blog – http://www.HollywoodPassport.blog.com – I suggest you do so now. It’s added to weekly.

    Good luck!

  10. HI,

    My name is Roxianne and I’m 18.
    I currently live in Curacao (the caribean)
    I have been acting since I was 15 in plays and e few local commercials. In 2010 I won the award for best actress at my acting academy. I’m seriously planning on persueing a career in acting. I’m planning on moving there when I I’m 19 about to turn 20 (When I finish school). I already saw a school (www.aada.org) that I would like to attend. Here Are my questions:

    – How can I find a guide that lives there, who can help me with all the paperwork en the visa stuff?
    – Is my dark skin going to affect my chances of getting booked?
    -Is my expercience going to help when they need to hire me (I have been in move than 15 plays for the last 3 years)

    What else is important for me to know right now?

    Thank you (:

  11. We definitely need more smart people like you around.

  12. Editor here:

    No, you do not need an agent in order to submit yourself on loads of non-union/independent projects. If the casting people only wanted to hear from agents, they wouldn’t make their breakdowns available directly to actors. Yes, it seems weird, but so do lots of things that go on nowadays in show biz.

    That was a good question, by the way.

  13. Hello,

    I was reading the comments and suddenly something crossed my mind. I mean, don’t we need to have an agent at first? If so, where we could find agents?

    Thanks, It really interests me! 🙂

  14. Hi My name is Leah,
    I love acting and would love more than anything to be an actress. Although i’m only 14 i still believe i have what it takes.
    Iv’e been in loads of school shows and have recently started working with Andrea Mallen Flynn, who is chief Executive of Enter CIC and Director of Dance in Education.
    I live in England in a small village called Chilton C.O. Durham DL17 OQB, and becoming an actress is quite hard as we don’t really get that opportunity to shine and show people what I and everyone else is willing to do to become an actress or actor.
    I love musical theater and am willing to travel anywhere to get the chance to be in a musical, soap or film.
    And i hope you can tell from what your reading that i’m also very passionate about performing arts and would be most grateful if you could reply back, thank you.
    from Leah Jameson. xxx

  15. Hi, Eric!

    O.C. is only an hour or so from…HOLLYWOOD. You already have the biggest factor in your favor: Desire. Even if you never become an actual actor, EVERYONE gets something positive out of acting classes. Trial attorneys take acting classes, so that they can “perform” in front of the judge and jury. Psychologists take acting classes. Hell! we know policemen and plumbers who have studied acting! So…you’ll never know where it might lead if you don’t start, right? Read this website thoroughly, if you haven’t already done so, then contact some acting teachers and start auditing! DO NO BE AFRAID. Everyone has to begin at the beginning and there is nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about. As the saying goes…just do it! (And there is nothing wrong with starting at a jr. college, provided it has a decent theater arts department.)

  16. Hi

    My name is Eric, i’m 24. I live in California and have always felt that acting was a pipe dream. After a recent tragedy in my life, I have decided to pursue my dream. My only problem or fear is “Where do I start!?”. I have considered taking acting classes at my local community college in the OC. Is that a good start? Keep in mind, I have no experience but have a great admiration for film.

  17. Hi, I’m 13 years old and I live over in London in the UK, and I’ve always wondered what it would be like to get into child acting in movies, as it looks like a lot of fun, even if it’s really difficult! There’re just a few problems though…
    My drama department at school always does musicals, and my singing is pretty awful. I took part in our house play but only in a small role. Also, a lot of good actors take part in our plays, so it’s difficult to get noticed.
    We’re also WAY too busy to get any acting tutoring – my brother is swimming at nearly a national standard and he’s only 10 years old, and often we’re driving round the country to support him… Saying this, I haven’t ran this aspiration past my parents yet, as I’ve never really wanted to be an actor since quite recently.
    However, I have joined a film club which we have at school, and thats great fun, as we get to create films and direct them etc. for competitions.
    Thanks for listening, any help or directions you could give me?

    Thanks,
    Will

  18. Excellent question!

    We would advise you to keep your cover letters short and to the point. Casting directors do not have time to read countless letters, but something that simply lets them know which role and project you think you’re right for, attached to your headshot/resume, should be fine. Some agents just slap a sticker on the headshot, with the name of the character. Bottom line: Keep it simple. One caveat, though: If you have a special skill that is required for the role, by all means point that out.

    Good luck!

  19. I live in texas, and I have an agent, but I still have to do a lot of submitting myself. What is the most professional way of addressing a casting submit? Should I just put info about myself, what role i would like to audition for, and attach my headshot/resume or should I open with a greeting, and talk about myself? I am curious about this, because I submit myself for a lot of work, however a lot of times i do not hear back. I don’t want to come off as rude to casting directors, but at the same time, I don’t want to seem unprofessional. Can I get your advice.

    Best,
    Greg

  20. You have already started, Dylan, by discovering and reading this website. You do not mention the area in which you live, so we cannot begin to imagine what resources you might find there. However, no matter where you are, you should be checking out your school’s drama department (if there is one) AND any and all little theaters in your town. Call or write them and ask if they offer acting classes, or if they hold “open auditions” for their plays; if they do, ask how you can apply to audition for them. EVERYONE has to start somewhere (!) and no one expects a 13-year-old to have a list of credits, but this is a good way to begin. Remember, you’re going to need an 8X10 headshot and an attached resume (see those sections in this site). Good luck!

  21. I’m Dylan Skaggs. I’m 13 years old. I have always wanted to act but don’t know where to start!

  22. Hi, Mark!

    I saw all 3 of your notes, including the final one in which you say you found your answer under “Are You An Actor?”. Bravo!

    We just want to reiterate that there are no age limits, up or down, on being an actor or starting an acting career. The operative word there is “starting” – if you never start, you’ll never get anywhere, now will you?! ANY experience you have is the beginning of a resume – in the States or abroad, it doesn’t matter. (And there is no “norm” in this business. Some people never make it and others are working within a couple of years of starting. There’s that word again…!)

    Bon chance!

    – Editor

  23. I have a lot of doubt about the reality of this industries’ requirements to even be considered, and that is my age, 29 this December. Say I have natural talent and some consider me to look like Tom cruise younger brother or García Bernal (heard that from a girl) unfortunately the only experience I have is the shows I performed in high school before leaving to the US. During my 8-9 years in DC, I tried studying and doing some acting classes but nothing really developed from it, I always found myself keeping to my steady paycheck and possible wealthy stable future and career at my 9-5 current job. I tried to do business school, and Engineering but the sort of lifelong training wasn’t for me. I cannot deny the actor in me, its just something I feel the need to express. So now I’m back in Spain, (I have dual citizen ship american/french passports) and I’m ready to make the trip to either LA, or NY. My only fear is the learning curve in relation to my age, I feel 10 years is the norm for many actors to make it, but who starts at 28?

    Thank you
    Mark *

  24. Ha! Good question! He might have created that himself, to show off his acting. All he needed was a camera and access to YouTube. Anyone can do that! Nobody pays for videos like that.

  25. I have one more question.I saw the video with the cool russian actor(funny) but did they realy sent him money????or is it fake

  26. Thank you very much for the advice. I will do that and we will speak after i finish high school.

  27. No need to apologize about your English. I can guarantee you that no American could ever write in Romanian, at least not as well as you do in English!

    That being said…read the previous letter from Petra and our response to her. It is almost identical to yours.

    If there are no theaters in your home town, find out where the closest ones are and see if you can get there by bus or train, so that your family doesn’t have to worry about driving you around. Then follow the advice we gave Petra.

    If that doesn’t work, this might sound silly, but…why not find other people in your town who want to act and form an acting troupe of your own!
    After all, one of the most world-famous playwrights of all time was Eugene Ionesco, your fellow Romanian! Write your own shows, find (or build) a stage and PERFORM!

    Keep working on your English language skills – they will serve you well when you become a big star!

    Good luck!

  28. Hi.My name is Andrew and i would like to start an acting career after i finish high school.I leave in Europe,Romania,i know it is not a well seen country and you probably haven’t heared about it.I write to you becase i do not know where to start.Living in USA it’s a good oportunity and if i leaved there it would be so much easyer but here you do not have that much choises,so what do you sugest i could do?

    Thanks.
    P.S.:forgive me if my writing is bad

  29. You just made our day. A result like this is exactly why we built this website.

    And don’t worry: We KNOW we’ll hear from you again and we intend to still be here.

    – Editor

  30. Well after i saw your advice i googled some more and i found out that mi city’s main theater is giving acting lessons and because of my school (I’m in school for the whole afternoon and in the morning I’m studying) i taught that i wont be able to get some acting lessons because of my schedule but as it turns out acting lessons for kids my age are at the weekends so I’m so happy =).

    Tnx a lot.
    You really do help stumbling actors like me
    and please don’t forget about this site
    I’m gonna need you when i finish high school =)

    Ohh when i just think about being on stage in front of so many people i get so nervous i mean it’s a lot easier being in front of the camera.

    And do you have any tips on how to memorise faster??

    Thanks again.

  31. Dear Petra,

    If it makes you feel any better, there are thousands of teenagers right here in the U.S. who have the same desires and fears as you do. Their parents also have the same worries for their children. The current “recession”, which is world-wide, doesn’t help.

    Our suggestion is this: Continue to study for a degree in school, to reassure your family. At the same time, though, find any small theaters in your town and see if they will allow you to audition for plays. Offer to trade some kind of work (selling tickets, building sets, etc.) in exchange for acting lessons. And if your school offers theater classes, take them!

    Start saving money and target it specifically toward your future acting career. That way, you can prove to your parents that you are responsible and willing to help toward this future you so desire.

    Finally, there are many, many actors who came from small countries…or small towns. That didn’t stop them and it shouldn’t stop you.

    Good luck!

  32. Hi.
    I’m 15 years old and I’m from Europe, from a small country.
    My parents support me in everything but they think that I should go to med. school and forget about acting because there is such a small chance for me to succeed and if I told them that I’m thinking of not going to college because I want to pursue my dream .. ohh
    Although I do not have much experience in acting I know what I want.
    I think I was born to be an actress
    and I am ready to put everything on the line if there is a chance
    for me to succeed.
    I can not even describe the feeling I get
    When I think that I will not be able to achieve my dream
    because I was not born in the U.S. (my parents do not have the money for me to move).
    I know I’m young but it’s just the way I feel and I can not change that and I know that there are a lot of teens who want to be famous and everything but the way am feeling is not some phase that will go away i just know i was born to do this.
    Please give me some advice.

  33. And we don’t know where you ARE! Which makes it very difficult to offer any words of advice, other than to read this entire website thoroughly and then see what applies to you and your situation.

  34. I want to be an actor but I don’t know where to go.

  35. I was recently at the Applause Rising Talent Showcase and they had a very interesting seminar specifically about sending video auditions to casting directors. It was very interesting to watch and also to hear about how much the industry is changing into a more techno business. For someone who doesn’t know much about how to do these things it it would probably be quite difficult.
    It’s also interesting because the industry hasn’t had a change like this happen in a very long time. Usually the only changes have to do with the gloss of headshots, or things of that caliber.

  36. Sandy,
    You are a professional actor?
    I’m not nitpicking, but a true professional in this field knows exactly how to track down CD’s and source curent and future casting calls.
    A true professional in this field, unless a highly motivated and successful freelancer, already has an agent to do your footwork, arrange meets and source casting calls and submit you for audtions for you.
    Not knowing these BASIC’s is not professional and will lead to no career.
    So learn, train, work hard, get an agent and then you’ll be in there with a chance.
    Best of luck.
    Steve Innes,
    Aussie actor.

  37. HI Jackie:

    I am a young attractive actor/model who has studied acting at Playhousewest in North Hollywood and have acting experience. I am interested in getting into soaps but how do I get an audition and get seen by the casting directors. Could you please advise me.

    Thanking you.

    sincerely,

    Sandy Khanzode(professional actor)

  38. Thanks for letting us know, Carlton. Keep reading this website and you’ll learn more about Hollywood and acting than you could ever imagine in beautiful Jamaica. But…this site is NOT designed to accept any actor submissions for jobs. It is strictly ADVICE that we offer, not work. We hope that advice helps you a lot with your future career!

  39. Hello,

    I am Carlton from Jamaica and i am interested in acting.

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