How to Break Into Film From a Small Town

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Q: What’s the best way to get into film when you live in a small town and you’re not close to any big cities? —Bucky V.*

I work with students who are long-distance all the time. Many of them live far from a major film hub. The biggest question really is: How badly do you want it? Here are a few things you can do.

1. Check with your local film commission.
See if there are any productions coming to your neck of the woods by contacting your state film commission.

2. See if there are any local agents near you.
A city nearby might be home to a talent agency; check to see if there are any near you. If not, check the nearest big city. I have a student who has an agent in the state next door, and he is thrilled to drive four hours for an audition.

3. Join services like Backstage to check for auditions in your region.
Online services will send you daily auditions for your region.

4. Audition online.
Many auditions can be done via the internet these days. If you find a film that shoots within driving distance, you can usually submit an audition tape online. If you don’t have a videographer or acting coach near you, tape on your phone while it’s positioned horizontally. Use a friend or an audition app for the reader. You will need to be able to do the callback in person, usually. However, sometimes you can do the callback as a redirect on tape.

5. Find the closest big market area for auditions, no matter how far away it is.
Honestly, actors who really are passionate about acting will drive long distances to find jobs. Some people drive two hours or more to come to my classes. My market is Dallas, but most of our actors also frequently drive hundreds of miles to Austin, Texas, to audition or shoot there.

6. Never give up! 
Those who make it in this business work harder and show up more. There is always a way!

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This story originally appeared in the Jan. 9 issue of Backstage Magazine.

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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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Cathryn Hartt
Cathryn Hartt, founder of Hartt & Soul Acting Studio, is known to many as “the UN-Acting Coach.” She coaches all ages (children through adult) and all levels (from beginning through masters).
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