Regional Actors! How to Get Noticed by Casting Directors

It is often difficult for regional actors from all over the country to figure out what the next step is once they become a big fish in a small pond. Actors need to decide whether to move on to the ocean that is all things acting, better known as Hollywood, or to stay and attain visibility to well-known casting directors from a safe distance. For most, the answer is to stay regional. For them, the question is: how do I get in front of LA casting directors? The answer is not simple, but with some hard work you can make it happen.

One great way to be seen by big casting directors without having to leave home is to attend workshops. Many LA and NY casting directors do traveling workshops that tour most major cities in the country. Even if you have to drive a few hours to the nearest one, it is well worth the trip. Look in your local newspaper, online blogs, or just Google to find workshops coming to your area. You generally have to sign up in advance and pay a fee, but again, well worth it. These casting directors teach regional actors what they are looking for, audition techniques, headshot and resume advice, and an opportunity to audition. This is not only valuable information; it is a chance to get face time with a well-known casting director that can ultimately lead to scoring a role. You get to meet and greet, give them your headshot, chat for a few minutes, and otherwise make an impression. It is a great learning experience that looks good on a resume, and is a chance to get in front of a casting director without having to hop on a plane.

Workshops are intensive classes where you are working hands-on with the casting director and other actors. It is usually a one-day thing for a few hours, or can be a weekend intensive. Unlike a regular acting class that meets once a week over the course of a few months, a workshop offers the opportunity to dive right in and learn a lot of information and skills within a short time period. During a workshop, you learn the fundamentals essential to develop necessary to become a working actor. It provides you with the chance to gain self-confidence, recognize your talents, and hone in on your particular unique skills in acting.

Most workshops offer advice, guidance and practice in the most important areas of acting and booking jobs. Things that you will be learning in a workshop include: acting exercises to master auditions, audition technique, cold-reads, scene study, the do’s and don’ts of the acting world, how to make choices, role preparation, breaking down scripts, the differences between those who book jobs and those who do not, etc. There is a lot of extremely valuable information taught in a workshop and it is important to come prepared to learn and work (It is called a workshop after all).

Another method is to submit to castings for films/television shows that are filmed in your area. Many productions are filming in places outside of Hollywood, such as Georgia or Alabama. They often have certain roles that are local hires only, meaning you would only be competing with your neighbors, instead of the entire acting community. This is a great way to start playing more prominent roles in bigger films. Especially since some non-LA locations such as North Carolina are “right to work states” in which you do not have to be SAG-AFTRA to get speaking roles. You can also submit to LA or NY casting calls for which you can self-tape your audition. Cast It Talent has a great casting submission system for actors to upload their video auditions and send to casting directors. You can view breakdowns and different projects currently casting in your area and easily submit online. Look on casting posts to see if they are accepting electronic submissions, and go for it. If a casting director sees something special in your audition, they will want to see more.

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lauren began her casting career as an intern for Sarah Finn Casting on films such as Captain America, Cowboys & Aliens, TRON: Legacy, and Faster. After her six month internship, she returned for her final semester of college, where she went on to become a casting director in Wilmington, NC on various independent films. She also spent over a year as a casting assistant with an independent casting director and acted in multiple films. She is currently working with Marcia Ross & Erin Toner Casting and also works as an actor and in production.

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