5 Ways to Prepare for Pilot Season Right Now

Photo Source: Photo by Jazmin Quaynor on Unsplash

Think you’ve got plenty of time to get ready for pilot season? Think again.

Given an actor’s propensity for procrastination, the nuttiest time of the year always sneaks up on you. And whether you end up having three auditions a day for three months or no auditions at all, pilot season is a time of ups, downs, expectations, and absolute insanity. Here are five things you can do right now to prepare for the apocalypse.

1. Eat. Sleep. Exercise.
When you have to get to Marina Del Ray for a 6 pm audition and you’re still at Warner Brothers at 5:45, waiting to get called for a 5 pm audition, caring for yourself in a basic way can get thrown out the window.

But it can’t. Fast food on the freeway affects your body and your mind, and is bad for business. Start now by being disciplined about caring for yourself. Eat well (enjoy but don’t indulge over the holidays), sleep well, and exercise (including exercise that connects the body and mind through breath). Don’t expect anyone in the business to care for you—that’s up to you! But it takes time to learn self-care, so start now,

2. Assemble your team.
Check in with your representation now. Reaffirm your commitment to the work and each other. See if they have a sense of what pilot season will look like this year. Figure out where they think you fit. Get on the same page. Work through your issues, and go into Pilot Season knowing that you have an ally.

Don’t have an agent or manager? Accept that it’ll be up to you to advocate for yourself and come up with your own pilot season plan.

READ: 7 Tips for a Successful (and Sane) Pilot Season

3. Sharpen your tools.
January 25 is not the time to be thinking about new headshots. Is your reel as good as it needs to be? Need to shoot another scene or re-cut what you have? Do it all now. But it’s not just the obvious tools that need to be looked at now in preparation of the grand season.

Make sure your phone is working so you can receive emails from your agent on the fly. Make sure your printer is in good shape so you can print sides. Make sure your car runs well so you can get where you need to be. And make sure you have a clean, quiet space in which to do your work. Pilot season doesn’t entertain your excuses so figure it all out now.

4. Get a life.
Let’s face it: You will either be going out a lot and wondering why you’re not booking or not going out enough and wonder why you’re not going out. Self-doubt and disappointment abound during pilot season, so you must maintain your self-worth by having a full life.

Don’t go into forced isolation for three months only to emerge in May as a shadow of the person you once were. Keep yourself engaged in your community, and with friends and family. Make plans now to volunteer during January, February, and March. Take harmonica lessons. Plan one-day and weekend getaways with your friends. Do it now. And unless you’re shooting a pilot, commit to your plans. Shed the belief that you can’t go anywhere because you might get an audition—it’s a belief that leads to paralysis. Hyperfocus on the business leads to bitterness and unemployment.

5. Find a class.
If your only artistic expression occurs during a few auditions a week and within the confines of a mediocre, two-page pilot scene, you’ll probably stop feeling like an actor. You may start feeling artistically stiff, like you haven’t really stretched in a while.

That’s bad for business. You have to stay engaged in the work outside of the business so your artistic pipes stay clean and so you can walk into the audition rooms as artistically full as you can be. Class is that artistic stretch and full workout that keeps you in fighting shape. But it takes time to get into shape. Start now!

You’ve got a few weeks before the holidays and before the business winds down in anticipation of Thanksgiving. Use the time to meditate, visualize, and prepare. Pilot season—hell your entire career—is truly what you make of it!

Get the Pilot Season Playbook at 50 percent off on Black Friday, Nov. 24 ONLY, our answer to all of your Pilot Season anxiety!

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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.

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.