The Real Reason You’re Not Getting Auditions (+ How to Change It)

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You already know Backstage is the go-to for any and all information pertaining to your craft. But now, you have the chance to get in on the action with the Backstage Community Forum. Here, you can engage with others in your industry, as well as teachers, experts, and, yep, even agents and casting directors. Below are some of this week’s most interesting new topics; drop a reply or post a new thread. Either way, fire up that keyboard and get involved right here!

Why am I not getting seen by casting?
I recently received my talent report that shows my agent was actively submitting me almost every day of the week for the past year, sometimes multiple times per day, but December and January have been really slow. I’m being submitted for projects with casting directors who know me and know I am a good actor that can book the role, I just haven't been invited for any auditions. I have updated headshots on my profile, a brand new demo reel, slateshots attached to each headshot, and a pretty long list of credits on my résumé. So, what could be going on?” —Xeldin01

Should your website be your name? How about email?
I'm not sure what I should do. My friend told me that he specializes in URLs and says that my last name is too long for people to remember how to spell. So, should your acting website be something shorter if your last name is 10 letters and somewhat unique?

“Also, what about your email? Should you include your full name in your email if your name is kind of long? Would appreciate some help.” —JLeeDog

Being picky about auditions?
“I guess I'm reaching out here in the hopes that I’m not alone. Please, keep your comments to yourself about taking every job no matter what it is because that’s what actors do. I’ve heard it all before and I’m not interested. I see your point, I just don't agree with it.  

“I’m a storyteller. I love stories that move people and give them hope and life. That’s my purpose. I do that through acting, singing, spoken word, theater, many different forms. So, when I’m looking at auditions/possible work, my eye is seeking good stories that need to be told, meaningful work that will be creatively fulfilling for me. Last year I decided to quit this unending hustle of ‘gotta get a theatrical agent, gotta audition for all the shitty TV that’s out there so I can get some more credits.’ It was incredibly freeing. I focused on what was in my control: creating my own work that had my spin on it and the stories I wanted to tell in the way that I wanted to tell them. I ended up in a musical that ran for seven weeks and was incredibly successful. I auditioned for it because I saw a story I wanted to tell. It ended up being my most creatively fulfilling year to date.  

“I just can’t imagine that a one-line costar on ‘NCIS’ would have .0001% of the creative spark I got from last year. I can’t imagine going out for really really stupid characters on reboots of shows that weren’t good to begin with would make me feel half as much of an artist as I did doing it the other way.  

“When we all moved out here and sacrificed stability and sanity at times, it wasn’t so that we could schlep bad writing to the public. It was because we come alive with fully fleshed out characters and moving stories and incredible themes. That’s beautiful.  

“Do we have to accept that we don’t get to do that the majority of our time working? Is there any point in having representation if you’re not interested in, say, ‘Transformers 15’ or a ‘Saved by the Bell’ reboot?  Should one just make their own work forever, on their terms, Duplass or Anderson style? Actor-auteur?

“In all honesty, I don’t act for the money. I am fortunate that I don’t need money from acting to live on, so money doesn’t really come into the picture for me. Not a motivator. Thoughts? Thanks in advance for your input. I look forward to a healthy dialogue about this.” —GratefulActor

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Casey Mink
Casey Mink is the staff writer at Backstage. When she's not writing about television, film, or theater, she is definitely somewhere watching it.
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