Pilot season is a very busy time for talent managers and agents—definitely not the time to be calling them with your questions about demo clips or headshots or acting classes or résumé format or where to live or almost anything else. Nope, all of that should have been done months earlier. If you don’t have all your tools and your materials together by now...oh well.
Agents and managers aren’t going to take time out of their busy schedules or away from the actors we rep who have all their materials together to help you right now. Ain’t gonna happen. We all will be focusing on the actors we represent who have their materials together and who are ready to work.
Today, my client got an audition for the lead in a Spielberg movie. Believe me, any questions he has relating to that audition take precedence over any other actors who aren’t prepared. Get it? Of course you do.
Pilot season is our bread and butter. If we get some of our clients on series, that pays our bills for the rest of the year and beyond. If you want to be involved in pilot season in a meaningful way, get all your ducks in a row well in advance. That said, if you’re not fully prepared for this year’s pilot season, don’t worry—there’s a pilot season every year! Between now and next year, use your time wisely to keep taking classes, working on scenes, and submitting yourself on casting platforms like Backstage to get experience, new footage, and build your résumé.
When you are ready for pilot season, here are 11 tips for dealing with the onslaught of pilots you may experience.
1. Don’t contact your agent unless you’re confirming an appointment or have a question about a specific audition. Confirm your auditions immediately; don’t make your representative track you down. Check your voicemail and email every half hour. Confirm your additions with your agent. Never, ever, ever call the casting director’s office.
2. Go to your auditions. If you need to reschedule shifts at a survival job or take time off, do it. Don’t ask for changes to your audition time or miss your audition unless it’s a true emergency. When you’re in there, give it the best you have. Then, let it go and move on to the next audition.
3. When you self-tape, always hold the camera horizontally. Tape in front of a blank wall from the waist up wearing a solid, bright color. Always be off book always unless it’s an obscene amount of dialogue. Then keep your script in your in hand case you need it.
4. Make sure your online profiles are completely filled out. Check off every special skill. State if you have a valid passport. Note if you’re union or non-union. You get it. Also, make sure you have a variety of headshots uploaded and clips showcasing different emotions.
5. Be early to every audition. As you know, Traffic in L.A. is a nightmare so give yourself three times the amount of time you think you need. Always have a box of headshot/resumes in your car and take two in with you to every audition. Oh, and a giant bag of quarters for parking is crucial.
6. Don’t waste your agent or manager’s time calling for feedback on auditions. If you get a callback, you’ll know casting is moving you forward. If you get to the producer’s session, you’ll know they’re still moving you forward. If they ask you to test, you know they’re still moving forward. If any of that stops, you know they’ve stopped moving you forward.
7. Be 100 percent available for the auditions your manager and agent get you. Pilot season is not the time to say yes to a student film or theater—save that for summer.
8. Have a positive and grateful attitude in every audition. Remember that thousands of other people didn’t get this opportunity, so let your ego go, say goodbye to insecurity and negative self-talk, and go the great work you’ve been training for all year long.
9. Recognize that casting is looking for specific things in the audition room. Either you fit what they’re looking for or you don’t. This is the long game. Your job is to be so good CDs remember you and desire you for future projects.
10. Send your manager and agent thank you notes to thank them for the incredible amount of time and energy they put into your career simply because they believe in your talent enough to bet their livelihood on it.
11. Stay focused and grounded, and take care of yourself. Exercise, eat right, love yourself, don’t beat yourself up over any audition...just do your best. You’re following your dreams and you should be proud about that. Pat yourself on the back, give yourself a hug, go sit and look at the ocean, and be grateful you are alive.
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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