The Only Path to Audition Success

Over the years we’ve seen every kind of actor choose every kind of path in an attempt to carve out a successful career. And most actors fail. In fact, after all these decades, we’ve only seen one path that works consistently. And we’re going to tell you what it is.

But first, let’s start with a common mistake most actors make.

You know you’re talented, trained, and ready to make your mark. And while you suffer from doubt, when push comes to shove, you have faith that you’ll make it. But faith without action doesn’t get you anywhere. So you hit the pavement, network, go to casting director workshops, and take the branding class to make sure you’re presenting what the industry needs. You saved up for the right headshots and the well-lit reel. You’re doing everything you can. But this town is full of type-A actors who are working their asses off trying to market themselves, and while they engage in a lot of busy-work, you know what they aren’t doing enough of? Acting.

“Wait!” you might say. “I’m in class, I’m auditioning. I act a lot!”

But do you know who you’re up against for those parts you audition for? You’re up against a client of ours who just finished 100 performances over four months during a run of her play, singing, dancing, and acting five days a week. You’re up against a client of ours who just finished 22 episodes of the latest season of her show, banging out 10 pages of dialogue a day, five days a week. You’re up against another client of ours who is in class, auditioning, shooting three comedy videos a month and multiple web series, and does improv shows twice a week. These actors are primed and ready. They’re finely tuned, artistic weapons. When the Industry calls, it’s a small, often effortless pivot to expressing their talent in an audition room. Because they act all the time.

What is the path to a successful acting career? Practice.

Being in the consistent practice of acting. Acting all the time, like an athlete training for the Olympics, because you love to train and because it’s so competitive that you have to train. Most actors act one-fourth of the amount needed to be successful, and every actor we know who has a career acts many hours a week.

“What a letdown!” you say. “I want the secret that books me a job.”

That doesn’t exist. Practice is all you have. No shortcuts, no easy answers. You must act all the damn time. Multiple times a week, week after week, month after month, year after year. Theater, film, TV, web series, Vine videos, in your living room, on street corners, with your iPhone by yourself, with other actors on a stage, etc...

Work comes from work. Practice is freedom.

Practice frees you from debilitating nerves or feelings of insecurity. Practice permeates your entire being and on a fundamental level gives you the sense that you have earned a place at the table. It allows you to walk in the audition room with weight.

All of your marketing work cannot make up for a lack of practice. Your product is your talent and in an industry where 3–6 percent of actors are working at any given time, your product has to be undeniably brilliant to book work consistently.

“But it’s about being seen,” you say. “If I don’t get seen then no one will ever see all that I practice.”

Hollywood is a small town. There are only so many agents and managers, only so many casting directors, showrunners, directors, and executives who make the decisions. They click on some of the same videos on Facebook, go to the same theater, improv, comedy venues, etc. When you’re in the play that one of our casting directors saw last week, or in that video on Facebook one of our kids showed us, or at that script reading that we went to last night, we’ll remember you. And if there is a part that’s right for you, we’ll bring you in. We found you in the work. Because you’re acting. All the time.

It’s not quick, it’s not sexy, and it doesn’t satisfy your need to find the mathematical equation that books the job. But it’s all we know. Practice. Doing the work. All the time. Do it now. Do it always. It’s the only thing you have and the only path to a successful acting career.

Ready to start acting? Check out our theater audition listings!

A new slate of 8-week classes at the BGB Studio, starting up in September, will help you find your singular, independent voice. And of course, there are also BGB Studios' ongoing weekly classes available to immerse yourself deeply in the work.

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.

Risa Bramon Garcia
Risa Bramon Garcia is partnered with Steve Braun in The BGB Studio, dedicated to revolutionary acting and audition training. Risa has worked consistently as a director, producer, casting director, writer, and teacher for over 30 years, collaborating with some of the most groundbreaking artists in the world.
Steve Braun
Steve Braun is an L.A.-based acting coach and communication consultant. Over his 15-year career, he has starred in movies and has been a series regular on television shows. He is also an acting teacher and coach.