If you’re struggling to establish a position in the field of performance entertainment, this lead might just do the trick!
What is Actors Access and How Could It Be Useful to You?
Actors Access functions like a virtual database which intermediates between casting directors and aspiring actors looking for jobs. This online platform allows actors to maintain profiles, upload and keep headshots, update a resume, add skills and traits, manage demo reels and many more. It was created in 2003 and there are more than 400,000 subscribers, of which about 200,000 in California alone.
Perhaps the most appreciated function of Actors Access is the option casting directors have to instantly release breakdowns to actors and also receive submissions from them directly.
Actors Access functions alongside several other services from Breakdown Services, like Breakdown Express, Showfax, Sides Express, Screenplay Online, Talentpro, CastingAbout and The Online Agency Guide. The Casting Society of America recognized Breakdown Services as a preferred online resource, and it is used by most of CSA casting directors as the primary distributor of casting breakdowns. Sounds pretty awesome, right? Take into consideration that you can use it if you are in a town in Atlanta, Chicago, LA or NYC the same. The majority of film and television casts are established on Actors Access.
First Steps to Using Actors Access
1. Buy a Membership
The easiest way to gain access to this platform is to buy a membership on showfax.com, which allows you to get submitted to Actors Access for one year. This way, you can add photos directly from your computer to the database.
2. Upload a Reel
Upload a reel to your profile in order to get shuffled to the top of the searches that casting directors conduct when they need talent. A reel should reveal any skills that could complement your craft – be it sports, combat fighting, playing an instrument, singing, dancing, riding, beatboxing. Anything that can distinguish you from the large pool of talent is welcome.
3. Get Good Headshots
Make an effort and acquire good headshots and photos made during quality photo shootings. Amateur photos will not guarantee you a preferred spot on the shortlist. Careful with light, brightness, contrast, outfits and body language, as well as for postures and clothing. Regard the number of applications that land in the folder of reviews and try to have an amazing headshot listed firstly, just like you want your profile picture on Facebook to be astounding.
How to Get a Good Headshot?
Also, you need to have a picture which has to represent the type of roles you would be appropriate for: a leading role obviously has different requirements than an extra or a voice character. You need to make sure you outshine your best physical assets in a single picture, so try to avoid white, don’t make an excess of makeup and don’t crop it too tightly or too loosely, because we live in digital times and your face says it all. Keeping up with the trends is also a very good idea. Some reviews indicate that a black and white photo could help you stand out and it sounds legit – but don’t overdo it. If it’s your primary headshot, make sure you add color photography as well.
4. Submit Notes
Actors Access allows you to submit notes to the casting director. That is an excellent first step in personally communicating with the deciding authority of a casting call. If you’re wondering what you could be writing, then imagine calling a friend and explaining why you would be the person who NEEDS to get the role. Adapt your explanation to the profile of the script, the production type (commercial, film, animation, theater or choreography) and be warm and friendly.
Here’s what you could write to your casting director:
I read the script for Romeo and Juliet and I believe that this cinematic interpretation of one of the most appreciated performances ever suits me in the role of Juliet. If you will have the time to watch my reel, perhaps you’ll notice my natural inclination towards drama and tragedy as it reveals in my monologue and maybe you can observe that I a have suitable physical appearance to play a young girl according to the breakdown of the script. I also took dancing and singing lessons and I think I should get cast for the role.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
You might need to provide tens of notes if you are willing to audition for several roles, but that is an effort no one can guarantee for. Your note might not even get read since providing headshots is already an action speaking for itself. What you can know for sure is that you definitely have more chances to land a role if you follow these tips and submit an exhaustive application.
Actors Access Tips
1. Fix yourself the perfect resume.
That means it needs to be attractive, quick and easy to read and convincing. If you are applying for films they are shooting in Los Angeles, that’s the place where television and film have priority, so list your features in this type of productions first. If you are dreaming of starring on Broadway or getting cast in a theater play in New York, you start by listing previous theater roles you were cast in.
2. Use Actors Update moderately.
You don’t want to spam anyone by sending countless emails about progressing in your ballet lessons, but you do want everyone to know if in the meantime you get to collaborate with Disney Channel – and maybe not only as an extra.
Extras – but in Terms of Services, not Roles!
CastingAbout is a service that you can use in connection with Actors Access which allows you to keep yourself informed about everything going on in the industry in LA and NY. This is a database which is accurately listing casting directors, what type of shows they cast as well as the current status of it and even their assistants. If you have an account, hit login and research the casting directors who interest you, watch parts of the shows they work for, and find out where they are shooting the show.
The interactive part begins in the Notes section and it functions kind of like a peer review: you can write about your experience with a casting director, give feedback after auditioning for a pilot or testify about a workshop. You can even use their search filters and add tags to your profile for an easier and more transparent exposure of your skills and typology. The only bad part is that this service doesn’t come for free, but it also doesn’t cost a fortune.
Optimize Your Reel
The video you’re submitting is what will determine a probably overbooked and overloaded professional to determine whether you’re good for a role or not. Your reel should be convincing, but not over-promising, accurate but not boring, revealing but not exhausting. You have to make sure that the every second belongs to the logic and narrative of your reel and cut the title card however much you can.
Skip the montage, leave the text in the position of discrete subtitles, center the action around yourself if other people appear in it and, well, do your best to make your reel as short as possible – by that we mean one or two minutes. Choosing an attractive title is also a part of the game – you know, everyone tends to call it demo reel insert-your-name-here, but that is the worst idea ever. The same way we recommended above that you should write the note to the casting director as personal and exciting as you would communicate with a friend, imagine you would upload your reel on YouTube and pray for it to go viral.
Choose a catchy title, use your humor and creativity, keep away from mediocrity and boredom. Your reel isn’t footage from a play, it must really be a cool audio-video product that would represent the best assets you have to offer to the craft of acting. It’s cool to also shortly add your contact details like email, phone number and location in the end.
You have to label yourself using your deepest motivation and find the elegance to reveal your struggle without sounding desperate. Your attitude has to reflect that you have to get a role because you are good and appropriate, not because you need it.
On the Side
Going online and using this app doesn’t mean that you can neglect your day-to-day efforts. Try to perfect your craft and evolve in your acting skills. Being an actor isn’t a regular 9-5 job, so you should spend most of your energy in developing into the best version of you, participating in workshops, landing a good agent, networking and creating healthy professional interpersonal relationships. Your preparing is basically never over and it shouldn’t feel like a burden. Your networking will include Actors Access, IMDB Pro, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, specific databases and social events; and perhaps even the prestigious Screen Actors Guild. If you add your talent to this struggle, it’s a sure recipe. There is no way on Earth you won’t secure the role of your dreams eventually.