How to Audition for TV Shows

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Thousands flock to Los Angeles and other filming hubs in hopes of getting a role on a television show. One of the most difficult aspects of this for talented actors is knowing about the auditions and getting called in. Most reputable casting directors find audition candidates through agent or manager submissions. A few tricks can help you increase your number of auditions.

Things You'll Need

  • Representation Listing book Compelling Headshots Resume Monologue or scenes Internet Access IMDB Pro Subscription

How to Audition for Casting Directors - Representation

  • Obtain representation. Representation is having an agent or manager who "represents" you. This is ideally a person who is well respected in the industry with contacts, who will have his or her ear. To obtain a manger or agent, you will want to pick up a Representation Listing that has all of the Union (Screen Actors Guild) agents. You can find these at an industry bookstore such as Samuel French.

  • Get several hundred copies of your headshot with your resume attached to the back. Many printing companies such as Kinkos can copy the resume on the back for you. If not, the old-fashioned way is to staple a copy on the back of each headshot. Your resume should include your relevant acting experience. If you don't have much, don't lie. People are well connected and can spot a lie quickly. Also include special skills and talents that may be useful, such as sports, stunts, scuba certification or juggling. It can be the one thing that gets you a gig, but make sure you are extremely proficient in it!

  • Prepare a monologue and/or a scene with another actor. This should be something that really highlights your ability. If you are doing a scene, try to get a friend from an acting class who works a lot and is already represented. Don't work with someone who is the same type (look, build and sex) as you. You are not there to compete, but to have them make you look even better.

  • Review the representation listing book and target 10 agents/managers. Contact their secretaries and set up a time to audition. Most will require you to send your headshot and resume before setting up an audition. Agents and managers try to not have too many actors of the same type on their roster.

  • Nail the audition and impress them. Be on time for the appointment, friendly to the office staff and ready to act. Once you are signed by an agent or manager, they can submit you to the daily breakdowns for parts that you fit. The breakdowns are daily calls for actors that are put out by casting directors and producers. A good headshot coming from a reputable agent who follows up with a call and pitch is the most common way to audition for television.

  • The more you go in for auditions, even if you don't get the part, the more the casting directors get to know you. While you might not get the first 10 you go in for, you may be called in down the road because someone remembers you. This is a good sign.

How to Audition on Your Own

  • Get an IMBD (Internet Movie Database) Pro subscription ($12.95/month) that gives you all the current contact information of casting directors and producers. You can research the shows you like on the site, finding out who is the entire cast, crew and production company. Make a list of shows you want to be on and get the contact information.

  • Submit a headshot and resume for the casting director. It may be helpful to also try to submit yourself to others who are part of the casting process: producer, writers, director. Note: when you submit in this format, you are not submitting for a particular part. Actors rarely have access to breakdowns unless they are bootlegged. Submissions from bootlegged breakdowns can put a taint on your name, but it is done frequently by aggressive actors who utilize every resource possible.

  • Continue to submit yourself and introduce yourself where possible. One place to do so is workshops. Many casting directors have audition workshops. It's a great place to get in front of a casting director and learn what they look for while also impressing them. Note: many feel that the casting director's job is to find talent and disagree with the fact that they charge actors to be seen. It's contrary to their job description. But it's Hollywood and people will make an extra buck where and when they can.

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