4 Ways Actors Can Find Work on Their Own

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Photo Source: Photo by Eduardo Dutra from Pexels

Even if you have an agent, it’s always helpful to be proactive and market yourself. This is beneficial to both you and your agent. After finding the audition or job, you can have your agent handle the negotiations and other details. Allowing an agent to see that you are marketable and bringing money into the agency will keep your name on the top of their list for future submissions. If you don’t have an agent, then searching for jobs on your own will be the only way to continue working in the industry.

So how can you find work on your own either way? Here are four things you can do.

1. Reach out to art and creative directors at advertising agencies.
The creative director is the person who creates the concept for an ad campaign. This could be for a TV commercial, commercial modeling project, or voiceover job. The art director will create the “layout” or storyboard for the commercial modeling job or TV spot. This allows the client to actually see what the ad will look like. Sometimes the art and creative director make final decisions or have strong input as to which actor or model is hired for the project. You can do online research to find them in your area.

2. Connect with casting directors.
Introduce yourself to local casting directors by sending them information about your latest project or complimentary tickets to see you in a play. Tickets will only be helpful if you have a role that really shows off your acting skills. But if you’re not currently in a production, you can still send the casting director your headshot, résumé, and a short cover letter through the mail. Most people won’t open an unsolicited photo attached to an email. 

In your cover letter, make sure a small image of your headshot is included on your letterhead along with your contact information, so they can easily reach you. There’s no need to list the jobs you’ve done in the cover letter. They will see your credits on your résumé. Let them know something about you. Having a referral you can mention in your letter is always the best way to connect. 

Research the casting director on IMDb or their website. Then you can let the casting director know about the types of projects you want to be considered for that are in line with their work experience.

3. Keep track of your connections and follow up.
It’s really helpful to keep a spreadsheet with all of your industry contacts. After every audition or job, keep a list of the people you met. Along with their names, you should include their contact information and where and when you met them. These are people you want to reach out to while trying to find work. In your note, remind them how you’re connected and let them know what you’ve been doing and how you look forward to working with them in the near future.

4. Try student and indie films.
Although you probably won’t be earning money doing this, submitting yourself to student films is a great way to keep your acting sharp, add film credits to your résumé, and hopefully gain some clips from the project to use on your acting reel. Contact local colleges, universities, and community colleges, and find out which film classes have actors shoot films for credit. Speak to the teacher to learn how you can be considered for these projects. You can also research and audition for local independent filmmakers. You never know what success an independent film might have or the career path of the director.  

Instead of waiting and hoping for things to happen, take control of your career and make the jobs come to you. 

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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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Aaron Marcus
Aaron Marcus has been a full-time actor for 36+ years while living in a secondary market. He has booked over 1,290 jobs. He is the author of the Amazon 100 + 5-star rated book “How to Become a Successful Actor and Model.”
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