The New Year is the time we all get back to real life with renewed energy and resolution. The festivities are behind us and work and positivity beckon, so what can you do as actors to capitalise on your January? What steps can you take that are worthwhile and will not waste your time, energy or indeed money? And how can you keep that creative positive energy pumping throughout the whole year?
First of all, you need to be practical. Do things that really matter. Check your photos. Make sure they are enough and that they really represent you, at least the good side of you. Photos are your first calling card to the Casting Director. They are important! Check your CV is up to date and in the right order. Don’t pad it out with school
productions or such like. Casting directors can see through this and would rather a small succinct CV than a rambling two pages of irrelevant listings. And here comes the challenge for many of you. Your showreel! A bad showreel is not worth having, whilst a good showreel could get you your next casting. A reel should be short (around 3 minutes) and succinct, showing us how fabulous you are and where your castability lies. Only use clips you are proud of; two good clips are better than six not so good ones.
So how do you get footage for a showreel? I know this is hard for many actors who have no screen experience. Research different casting websites with a view to applying for film school or short films projects. Often these are only jobs for expenses but if you can get a good clip from one of these shorts, it will be well worth it. Aside from dealing with your showreel, it is good to be working, to be flexing your creative muscles, so keep an open mind when scanning for jobs. I know it is hard to do badly paid work but if it is a worthwhile project and somehow you can make it work financially for you, remember that work generates work. After seeing a small fringe production a few months ago, I cast one of the actors in a commercial recently. Work generates work! Of course those of you with agents may not need to do all this self-promotion so do make sure you have an open and honest relationship with your agent. They are representing you so you need to trust and have confidence that they are working well for you. If you have questions or issues, talk to your agent. Make it work!
And finally, the casting room. What kind of preparation and choices should you be making before and during a casting? This is where I come in. There is plenty you can do to help yourself. Someone has to get the job so how can you maximize your chances? There is no weird science to this but it does help to hear these pointers emanate from a casting director’s mouth! I have been sitting in the casting room for over twenty years now and I am always excited and delighted to talk about this process with actors.
I look forward to meeting you
Janis Jaffa CDG