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Secret Agent Man

Secret Agent Man on Preparing for Pilot Season 2013

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Secret Agent Man on Preparing for Pilot Season 2013
Now that pilot season's almost over, I can finally take a moment to catch my breath and address some of the comments you've been posting on our message board. It seems that a lot of you started the year off with high hopes, eager to get a shot at the next "CSI" or "Modern Family." But now a few months have passed and you didn't even get in the room. Hell, you couldn't even find the room. Pilot season is just something you heard about from other actors in class, a mirage that never quite came into focus. You're wondering what went wrong. You want me to explain what you could've done differently.

The first thing you need to understand is that none of the rules change during pilot season. Industry doors that have been closed don't magically swing open just because it's January. If anything, they're locked up tighter than ever. The actors who get asked inside are the talented ones with experience and solid representation.

If you want to have a real pilot season next year, here are three questions you need to start asking yourself right now.

First: Do I have decent representation? If the answer's no, pilot season will be over for you before it even starts. Actors with starter agents (or no agents at all) rarely get a shot at series regular roles; there's just too much competition. You need an advocate who has relationships with the casting community to help get you in the room. Going through pilot season without a good agent is like shipping off to Afghanistan without a loaded gun.

Second: Do I know the people who cast pilots? If you don't, then there's half your problem. With or without an agent, you need to move heaven and earth to meet those casting directors. They're the same ones who cast TV shows, so episodic season is the time to create some relationships that will put you on their radar when pilot season rolls around.

Question No. 3 is a tough one: Are you good enough? Most actors aren't as talented as they think. Double down on your efforts to become the best actor you can be so you'll actually have a chance during pilot season.

Addressing those three issues will at least give you a chance at getting seen during pilot season. But as always, there's still another obstacle. You'll have to compete with the known actors who booked pilots this year, people such as these: Cary Elwes, David Arquette, Phylicia Rashad, David Krumholtz, Hayden Panettiere, Elizabeth Perkins, Sarah Chalke, Christopher Lloyd, John Leguizamo, Dane Cook, Julia Stiles, Margo Martindale, Ashley Greene, Billy Burke, Mira Sorvino, Victor Garber, Jon Voight, Ellen Barkin, Elliott Gould, Alfred Molina, Missi Pyle, Dennis Quaid, Judd Hirsch, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Michael Chiklis, Lily Tomlin, Blythe Danner, Brandon Routh, J.K. Simmons, Jordana Spiro, Kevin Bacon, Malin Akerman, Portia de Rossi, Jean Smart, Milo Ventimiglia, Cuba Gooding Jr., Mandy Moore, Mena Suvari, Sara Rue, Leah Remini, Bill Pullman, F. Murray Abraham, Anthony Anderson, Lucy Liu, Giancarlo Esposito, Doris Roberts, Martin Landau, Emilie de Ravin, Scott Foley, Powers Boothe, Robert Knepper, Roselyn Sanchez, Bradley Whitford, Justin Bartha, Rachael Harris, Ving Rhames, Tyler Labine, Ashley Tisdale, Titus Welliver, Jason Ritter, Liev Schreiber, Mary McCormack, Anthony LaPaglia, Ana Ortiz, Andre Braugher, Donald Sutherland, Colin Ferguson, John Stamos, Autumn Reeser, Judy Greer, Terry O'Quinn, Ali Larter, Kal Penn, John Goodman, Allison Janney, Tony Shalhoub, Chi McBride, Selma Blair, Michael Sheen, Minnie Driver, Connie Britton, Carrie-Anne Moss, Neal McDonough, Will Forte, Steven Bauer, Julie Benz, Mo Gaffney, Kyle MacLachlan, Greg Germann, Andrea Martin, Keri Russell, Anthony Edwards, Martin Donovan, Aidan Quinn, William Forsythe, Jay Harrington, and Matthew Perry.

So good luck, work hard, and let's touch base in nine months!

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