How Can Actors Find Agents?
How to Find Actors
If you’re looking for actors for your next film, TV show, commercial, or theater production, there are a few ways to you can go about securing talent. Traditionally, actors have been sought out through talent agencies and casting calls. These days, however, more and more creators are turning to the internet to cast their projects. Once you have a pool of actors to choose from, hold a series of auditions to narrow down your options until you’re left with the perfect person for the role.
Searching for Actors on the Internet
Browse various talent agency websites to scour for talent.Online agencies work just like regular ones, only they allow you to conduct your search anywhere at your own convenience. You can sift through portfolios, view headshots and clips from past projects, and reach out directly to the agent or talent director through email.
- In addition to some of the more well-known agencies and guilds, there are a number of free casting websites out there that you can take advantage of, including Actors Access and Casting Frontier.
Visit an actor’s website to contact them directly.If you have a specific actor in mind for the role, you may be able to get in touch with them (or their agent) through their official website. Use the provided email address or contact form to give them a brief rundown of the project and the character they would be playing, as well as a timeline for shooting or rehearsal and your preferred contact info.
- If the actor expresses an interest in your project, you can go on to discuss the particulars, like who they would be working with, how many hours you’d need them on set, and how much you’re willing to pay.
- Most lesser-known actors have professional websites that they maintain themselves, which makes it easier to cut out the middleman and get down to brass tacks.
Use social media to broaden your search.Make a post announcing that you’re on the hunt for actors for a movie, TV show, or stage production and see who responds. Be sure to include a basic description of the role and the type of actor you’re looking for. Have interested parties private message you with their details and any other credentials you want to see, such as a headshot or acting reel.
Post an open casting call on Craigslist.Specify what type of project it is, when and where you’ll be shooting or performing, and any specific physical characteristics or skills you’re. Craigslist can be a useful resource if your main concern is reaching as many potential candidates for the role as possible.
- Give your post a standout title that users will notice at a glance, such as “Asian Female Actor Aged 23-28 Wanted in L.A. Area.”
- Sending out an open casting call is sure to draw lots of attention, but be aware that the bulk of your responses will likely come from hopeful yet inexperienced actors.
Using Traditional Resources
Go through a talent agency.Look up talent agencies or actor’s guilds in your area and check out the portfolios of the various actors they manage. If you see someone with the right look or qualifications, talk to the actor’s agent for information about how to book them for your production.
- Most talent agencies represent performers with diverse skillsets and specialties, which means you have a good chance of finding the right person for your project.
- When you work with a talent agency, you’ll discuss the business side of things, including scheduling, pay rates, and other media appearances, with the agent rather than with the actor themselves.
Place an ad in a high-circulation film or theater magazine.Publications likeBackstageandActing Magazineare popular among inexperienced actors looking for opportunities. Taking out ad space is a tried-and-true method of finding talent, and may be the way to go if you’re operating on a budget or have a highly specific set of criteria.
- Placing an ad in an acting magazine may run you several hundred or several thousand dollars, depending on the size and notability of the publication.
Attend plays, acting classes, or theater groups.Community productions and institutions where actors go to learn their craft can be good places to recruit hopeful unknowns. Every actor has to get their start somehow—that aspiring young thespian you hire may end up being the next Brad Pitt or Meryl Streep.
- Be sure to get permission from the director or teacher before simply showing up backstage or at a university acting class and accosting the actors.
- Relying on undiscovered talent is a great way to cast a low-budget production, as they tend to be willing to take direction, spend long hours on set, and work for less money.
Leverage your connections in the entertainment industry.If you’re involved in showbiz, chances are you have a circle of friends and associates that includes professionals like casting directors, agents, acting coaches, or other actors. Try asking these people who they know. If you’re lucky, they may be able to point the way to the perfect man or woman to head your cast.
- Networking accounts for a considerable number of relationships in film and TV, so it’s likely that the actor your contact recommends will be just as eager to talk as you are.
- An added benefit of asking those close to you for leads is that you’ll know the person already comes with a good reference.
Finding the Right Actor for the Role
Have a clear idea of the attributes you’re looking for.Write out a short description of each character you’re casting, including specific details about their physical characteristics and personality traits. Cementing your vision of your characters will help you focus your search to actors who display the same qualities.
- Don't be afraid to be upfront about what your actors should look like. This isn’t discrimination, it’s simply matching your fictional characters with their real-world counterparts.
- Try not to get too attached to the details you have written down. If you meet an especially talented actor who doesn’t fit the bill to a ‘T,’ consider revising your character in order to tailor the role to their unique set of abilities.
Be up front about the details of the gig.Don’t keep things like the demands of a role or your budget or shooting schedule a secret. Transparency between you and your actors is crucial for establishing mutual trust and respect and promoting a positive work environment.
- Honest communication will also save you time and frustration finding a replacement if a particular actor isn’t agreeable to the terms of your project.
- If you’re not able to pay your actors much (or at all), be prepared to offer other amenities, such as free meals or prepaid travel expenses, to make it worth their while.
Ask for a headshot or acting reel.Have your hopeful cast members submit a few high-quality closeups of themselves or video footage of them doing their thing in past projects. Reviewing these materials is a helpful first step in narrowing down a long list of candidates.
- Headshots make it possible to confirm right off the bat whether an actor has the right look to portray a particular character. You can go through hundreds of headshots in a single afternoon.
- Acting reels are far more illustrative than pictures—they're essentially video compilations designed to showcase an actor's abilities and range. Most serious actors will have an acting reel on standby.
Hold auditions to test your actor’s skills.Once you’ve got a group of promising actors lined up, give them a time and place to come and read for the role they’re being considered for. This will give you a chance to make your initial introductions and witness them in action.
- Screen your actors one at a time, if possible. Save partner readings and complicated scenes for callbacks.
- Keep the mood of your auditions light, friendly, and casual. The goal is just to take a closer look and see what they can do.
Stage a series of callbacks to settle on the best actor for the job.Sometimes, you may end up with more than one actor who you could see embodying a given character. In this situation, a follow-up audition will allow you to weed out the ones who aren’t exactly the right fit. The callback phase is where you’ll put your returning actors’ abilities to the test.
- During your callbacks, you might have your actors read with a co-star to get a sense of their chemistry together, or ask them to improvise a scene on the spot.
- Try to make a decision in as few rounds of callbacks as possible. Remember, actors have lives too, and the more hoops you force them to jump through, the less enthusiastic they’ll be about being a part of your production.
QuestionHow do I get actors in my film for free?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTry finding people at schools or your friends or family. Try printing posters and hang them up or leave them at shops. Many actors will work for free for experience.Thanks!
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