How to Get Discovered

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Photo Source: Photo by Evan Kirby on Unsplash

You are burning to be discovered. You have loads of talent, desire, and drive. You’ve prepared, taken great headshots, and have a few decent clips on your reel. And you’ve been doing the work. You’ve sacrificed. You love it so much and you want it bad. You just want to know how to get the industry to see you. You’re willing to do everything and anything.

But are you really? If so, do you even know what it is?

Maybe you believe in the story of getting discovered “at Schwab’s” or the restaurant where you work or a party or introduced by someone who knows someone, i.e. being in the right place at the right time. And sure, that happens. Call it serendipity, timing, luck. But if that moment does happen, you have to be ready. And, more importantly, you have to make your own luck.

Luck isn’t magic; it’s work. It takes hard work for a very long time, wherever and whenever you can for however long it takes. It’s doing readings and theater and class and student films and friends’ shorts. It’s putting in more than 10,000 hours. It’s the intense commitment to doing what you love because you must, because it’s a calling, because you can’t live without it. It may take five years or 25 years before anyone even pays you. But you have to be willing to drown yourself in it until the moment of discovery presents itself.

When the time does come, it will show up very differently from what you expect. It will be earned. It will be inevitable. It won’t be remarkable. You may not even notice.

There will be fast highs and deep lows. But mostly there will be plateaus. The same plateau you’re currently sustaining. That’s when it counts; that’s when you must maintain, find the fortitude, stamina, and inspiration to stick with it no matter what. Giving up isn’t an option. You are in this for the long haul, a mindset that will support you, so that when each opportunity presents itself, you’re ready. And when you’re in it, you can persevere.

I used to scout comics for HBO in dark, dank comedy clubs across the country. I watched as they tried to find their voice and audience, toughing it out night after night, year after year. And then there came that moment when a comedian hit. When all the jokes and beer sweat and late nights culminated in that one hot set when there happened to be a TV scout or exec in the house who witnessed the moment, and a career was born.

READ: How To Get Casting Directors To Find You

I came to understand that these moments of discovery happened because that comic was ready. It may have taken years, but those (lean) years of absolute commitment (bordering on obsession) and toil (hundreds of midnight shows) shaped that unformed talent.

Discovery happens when you do that work; when you’re beyond ready. And if you’re not ready, it will probably be a failed meeting of talent and opportunity.

Making your own luck is making your own opportunity, which also means making your own work. A comic writes and tries out material but an actor often waits. Yet there can be no waiting. Opportunity depends on your willingness to put yourself out there. You have to get directly in the eye line of the industry by creating work and being a part of other people creating work so you get seen. Simple as that. Not easy, but absolute.

By creating, you’re readying yourself for the time when that role comes along. You’re already deep in the work, you’ve got it down. People in the industry see you as proactive with the ability to self-sustain, as a creator and pro, which is hugely attractive.

I see lots of actors take their careers into their own hands. They get together and make work. They take their short films to festivals all over the world. They keep creating. They show up as artistic leaders. They’re whole artists. Their careers emerge and they are discovered.

So if you want to ensure being discovered, you have to build a rock solid foundation and keep working at it every which way you can until your discovery is inevitable. You discover yourself in the work each and every day and then you open the door for others to find you, hitting your stride and kicking ass.

Discover what you’re capable of in class with us here at The BGB Studio.

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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.

Author Headshot
Risa Bramon Garcia
For the past 40 years, Risa has worked as a director, producer, casting director, and teacher. Having directed two features—including “200 Cigarettes”—she has also directed for TV and dozens of plays in New York and Los Angeles. Her casting résumé includes more than 80 feature films and shows, and includes “Desperately Seeking Susan,” “Fatal Attraction,” “JFK,” “The Joy Luck Club,” “The Affair,” “Masters of Sex,” and the original “Roseanne.” She is a founding partner of The BGB Studio, known for revolutionary acting training.
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