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Backstage Experts

How to Begin Prepping for Pilot Season

How to Begin Prepping for Pilot Season

We are in the beautiful season of fall. Typical people are enjoying the changing colors of the leaves, planning their Thanksgiving menus, browsing websites for bargains on Christmas presents, and looking forward to sipping eggnog next to a crackling fire while snow gently and quietly falls to the ground. 

We are not those people. We are actors, agents, and managers. For us fall means we are weeks away from pilot season. We are at DEFCON 3 and rising.

We are obsessing over the upcoming pilot season and wondering what we can do to optimize our chances to make this pilot season successful for all of us. Our mutual goal is to get you in the room where you can blow casting directors away with your talent, drive, and charisma. 

As a manager for over 25 years, I know exactly what my role is and how to execute. Unfortunately, without the cooperation of my clients, my hands are tied and all I can do is watch helplessly as role after role goes to other actors. In the words of the famous Jerry Maguire, “Help me help you. “Help me…help you. Help me, help you!”

Update your pictures on the casting sites. Do you know that when I look at a talent’s picture, I can see the date that the photo was uploaded? Do you know how disheartening it is to see that your pictures haven’t been updated for over a year, or two years, or sometimes even three! 

Casting wants to see pictures of you that were just recently take—pictures that are most representative of what you look like today. Most people think they look exactly the same as they did a year or two ago. Trust me…you don’t. Multiply that statement by a hundred if you are under 18. 

Have you taken any new classes or done anything to further your craft since last year? Is your résumé up to date? You may not have added any new credits to your résumé since last year, but I pray that you have added new classes and furthered your training. 

Does casting know who you are? Have you taken any workshops with prominent casting directors? I cannot tell you the staggering number of times I have had clients called in to audition after they attend a CD workshop.

Is there a reel on your profile? Did you know that there is a filter that CDs can use when viewing submissions which allows them to only view submissions with reels attached? Let me say that louder for the back row: Some will not even see that we submitted you if you have no reel attached!All of your hard work, training, and dreams goes down the drain if you aren’t even viewed to be considered for the role. 

What if you are brand new and have no work from which to make a reel? Make a showcase video, also called a personality slate. Do a monologue, sing, dance, or tell a funny story. 

It’s not a typical demo reel, but it will give casting a flavor of who you are, what you look like on camera, and will get your submission past the dreaded filter. 

And for the love of all that is holy…be available! January through the beginning of April is not the time to take a vacation. I don’t want to receive any book-out emails from my clients during this time period. 

I’m begging you. I’m ready to fall on my sword and give my all for you. Help me, help you. 

Like this advice? Check out more from our Backstage Experts!

Jackie Reid is a manager, owner of L’il Angels Unlimited, and Backstage Expert. For more information, check out Reid’s full bio!

The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff. 

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