It is very difficult to get signed by an acting agent these days - they want to see resume and are very selective when it comes to selecting who they want to represent. Therefore as an actor who is starting out you might be wondering if you can get auditions without an acting agent. You will be pleased to know that finding auditions without an agent is possible and here are some of the tips and resources that you will find useful; in which actors are wanted for auditions. You can be your own agent and if you are proactive gain valuable experience and get signed later.
There are plenty of casting sites which list auditions for all ages and looks. Often you can create a profile for free but to some of them such as IMDb Pro you need to pay a small fee. Here is the list of some of them:
IMDb Pro (phone app)
IMDb is a well-known movie database which now has also an app for professional actors. In IMDb you can create an actor profile and list any film credits and apply for some roles directly though the app in casting notices that can be accessed by clicking on the profile. There you see film productions that are accepting submissions with the description for the production and each role open for submissions and the details of the role, the criteria, gender, playing ages, physical characteristics, accents etc. Showing your casting range is important here I think through your photographs on your IMDb profile as well - one simple headshot doesn’t help to visualise you for a particular role. Read more about how to get professional actor headshots that get you auditions.
Although more well known in the UK it does connect actors with roles in theatre, TV and productions around the world. I would argue it is a must if you are actor in the UK as the database is used by casting directors and even agents when looking for talent to cast for a specific role. I would strongly recommend that you become a member - however there do have some minimum eligibility criteria to join such as previous acting experience and / or training. Good actor headshot for Spotlight is important as it is the first thing that casting directors see. I am listed as one of the recommended actor headshot photographers so if you need a Spotlight headshot I can help you with that.
The Stage is a UK publication aimed at theatre professionals so if you are interested in stage acting this one is for you. They have both printed publication and are online. You can find useful articles and directories on there.
This big casting platform is free to join to if you would like to have a showreel you need to pay. There are casting notices and you can apply for roles directly. A lot of casting directors and talent reps are using Casting Networks so would definitely recommend this as one of the top sites to join and add your profile to and make submissions for roles anywhere in the world. You can search jobs by country which include United Kingdom and United States (Los Angeles and San Francisco).
Another legit site where you can make submissions for roles and get noticed. You can get auditions and get booked for jobs. If you are a SAG-AFRA trade union member you get 20% off the annual membership
Star Now (UK based)
If you are just starting out and based in the UK you might find Star Now useful and anyone can join. There you can find decent paid jobs on there but need to careful as some of them want your money. As a rule you should never pay to get credit. It is important to gain as much acting experience as possible to gain not only credits but to perfect your craft also. You never know where a smaller role could lead to. Check out interview with Deano Bugatti as an example of how smaller roles especially in big production helped him
www.starnow.co.uk (UK based)
Mandy again more suitable if you are just starting out as many of the listing are either independent or budget films. There is a directory of acting agents on there as well.
Join Equity or SAG-AFTRA
Equity is a UK trade union for actors which gives access to information and has job information service. It also gives you protection over your pay rate. Trade unions have auditions and paid work are posted regularly. There is a lot of useful information on there as well.
Other ways to develop your resume and contacts:
Working with other actors is great way to develop networks in the industry. Acting classes are a good way to meet other actors who might know about other opportunities or even contact you to get involved in a project. There is nothing that beats real life networking and working on film sets. Help other actors - tell them about a suitable audition. Make connections. Attending casting director workshops is a another good way to be seen and make contacts. Audition in commercials in not just films - commercials can be very lucrative and often shot by big film directors. You never know who discovers you. I photographed actor Craig McGinlay who got ‘discovered’ while filming a commercial for a Scottish whiskey filmed by Guy Ritchie. Another actor I interviewed got noticed on a set by Brad Pitt himself who casted him in his movie.
Do not overlook social media. Join talent related Facebook groups which sometimes post casting calls. It is a good way to network with larger audience that you could do with real life networking. You never know who might see your post or discussion in a forum or when a great opportunity will pop up.
It is important to gain as much acting experience as possible to gain not only credits but to perfect your craft also. You never know where a smaller role could lead to. Check out interview with actor Deano Bugatti as an example of how smaller roles especially in big production helped him - he is the one who got noticed by Brad Pitt who himself once got noticed that way. Even if you are not getting paid it will feel good being around other actors and you can learn so much being on the set. You can be proactive and show initiative by making own work. You can collaborate with other film professionals or students on a project and self-produce.
With hard work and perseverance you can achieve your dreams. All the big actors started somewhere. One thing they all tend to have in common is dreaming big and lots of perseverance and sometimes a bit of luck. The thing with luck is that it tends to be more abundant the more you show up. By sitting at home you are unlikely to get ‘lucky’ and land a breakthrough role. Aim to gain as much experience as you can, meet people and aim for 1% improvement every day. The cumulative effect of just 1% improvement every single day will be big in one year and in 5 years who knows where you could be.
Zuzana Breznanikova is a renowned actor and celebrity portrait photographer with good connections in the entertainment industry having worked with Hollywood publicists, agents, magazines and talent themselves. Her portraits have a distinctive style that is cinematic, moody and emotive. She draws her inspiration from cinematography and art. She regularly interviews and features actors on her extraordinary talent blog and is the photographer for the entertainment industry to follow on Instagram with about 70,000 followers. Her audition headshots and casting portfolios are in high demand - receiving commissions sometimes 6 months in advance.