Go From Auditions to Offers

All of these celebrities are doing it: Jonah Hill, Jason Segel, Judd Apatow, Jon Hamm, the Duplass brothers, past and current SNL cast members.

Why aren’t you?

What are they doing, you ask?  Working with the same people again and again.

In business it’s what is called the Know-Like-Trust Factor.  And it’s the true secret to going from auditions to offers.

World renowned speaker and best selling author Zig Ziglar says,

“If people like you, they will talk to you. If people trust you, they will do business with you.”

We all want to work with the people we already know.  The people who can get the job done.  In the entertainment industry, if given the choice, professionals will hire someone they know, like and trust – from a-listers all the way down to a first time student filmmaker.

When it comes to your acting career – it’s time to stop chasing after short term results like one-time auditions with random companies, just for the sake of getting into the room.   Create long-term relationships with a small group of people to establish the know-like-trust factor, and you’re well on your way to being hired over and over.

The know-like-trust principle is simple.  The more people know, like and trust you, the more likely you are to get hired.  No rocket science needed.

The biggest question actors tend to struggle with is where to find the people to connect with in the first place.  It’s actually a lot easier than you might think.

So let me walk you through how an Internet connection and some detective work can get you going on the road from auditions to offers.

Get clarity – what KIND of work are you focused on?

“I just want to work.”  You’ve said it.  I’ve said it.  We’ve all been there.  It’s a lot like saying “I just want a boyfriend.”  Without some standards, you’ll end up with a loser who makes you miserable.  You deserve way better!  Don’t be so desperate you’ll take any old acting job that comes along, no matter what.  Have some standards!

What kind of work do you want?  Indie film?  Do you want to be paid?  Do you want an IMDb credit?  What kind of TV shows are best suited to your strengths?  Procedural drama?  Single camera comedy?

Spend some time getting clear about the work you are most passionate about.  When you know what you want to be doing, it will lead you to the people who can hire you for it.

Just like your GPS (in your car, on your Smartphone) – you need a destination before you get the map.  In order to choose the best plan of action for your career, you first must decide where you want to go.


Congrats, you’ve got a direction!  Now it’s time for some detective work. Who does the hiring for the kind of work you want to be doing?

In the entertainment industry directors, producers and casting directors talk about what’s known as their “wheelhouse.”  They are attracted to certain kinds of projects.  Your job is to find certain people whose body of work and projects are similar to your own “wheelhouse.”

Awesome research tools are:

  • Film festival sites – the perfect one stop shop to find independent filmmakers, directors, producers and casting directors
  • Social media – you can directly connect with so many filmmakers, casting directors, and other industry pros, it is truly mind blowing
  • Google – never underestimate the power of a plain old Google search

Create a list the people you want to work with

Once you’ve completed your research, you want to choose a handful of people to build long-term relationships with.  Your best bet here is to choose people who are accessible to you. Sure, working with Woody Allen or Christopher Nolan may be a viable goal for you, but neither of these guys are readily available to build a meaningful relationship with.

Focus on people who you can find current contact information for – that can be an active social media profile, an office address, or email.

Keep this list small.  The bigger the list, the harder it will be to manage. Start small then expand once you get the hang of it.

Make Connections

When establishing a relationship, focus on how you can help the other person, not how they can help you.  This is a great way to create know-like-trust.

Is the filmmaker you want work with doing a Kickstarter campaign?  Help them spread the word.  Did a casting director contribute a great blog post? Let them know how helpful it was to you and then retweet it.  The more you focus on being of genuine service to someone else, the better know-like-trust factor is established.

There are various ways to begin long-term industry relationships with specific people.  Here are a few:

Film Festival Screenings

This is a powerful way to connect with specific filmmakers.  You know they are going to be there, and you can bet they will take kindly to someone who appreciates their work.  That in-person connection is a big plus.

Social Media

Everyone is on social media, from celebrities to casting directors to filmmakers, producers and agents.  If the people on your list are on social media, connect with them there.

Can’t make it to the film festival to catch that screening?  I bet your filmmaker has a Twitter account.  Connect with them there.  In fact, help them spread the word about their film! What a great way to begin a relationship – by seeing what you can give – rather than seeing what you can get.

Panels, Events, Workshops

Is someone on your list giving a talk, having a class or sitting on a panel?  Show up there!  Meet them!  Afterwards, tell them what you enjoyed about their presentation.

Follow up that in-person interaction with a thank you card in the mail. Check them out on social media and tweet about what a great talk they gave.

These are all great ways to begin that first connection.

Consistent Follow Up

Once you begin the relationship, you need to keep it going.  Communicate consistently with the people on your list to build the know-like-trust factor.

In addition to continuing to support your new industry relationships, be sure to keep them informed about what’s up in your career too.  Remember that a relationship develops over the long term.  Know-like-and-trust doesn’t happen overnight.  It is a process.   Be persistent in your efforts.

Focus on what gets results

Many actors put their attention in the wrong place.  They hear about an audition, and then they hustle to get seen for it.  If your first interaction with a casting director, filmmaker or producer is you trying to land an audition, you’re probably too late. They are going to give auditions (and offers) to actors they already know, like and trust.  The likelihood of someone taking a risk on an unknown talent when they are on a tight deadline to cast an important role is very small, if it happens at all.

The more time you focus on building strong industry relationships and upping that know-like-trust factor, the better off you will be.  When the people you want to work with know you well, when the role is right, you will be called in, and in some cases get a direct offer without having to audition at all!

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Emily Grace helps actors get in the driver's seat of their career with marketing plans that get results. She is an award-winning actress, a writer and producer. Want to hear more from Emily? Be sure to sign up for free video, "How to Market Yourself When You Have Nothing To Say" at http://emilygrace.tv/

One Comment

  1. Posted August 14, 2012 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Hi there! I really liked this article! It has a lot of very useful information. I am an actress in Paris and I think I’m going to start developping the know- trust-like-factor here! I also have a blog in spanish for hispanic actors, and I would like to transalte it and put in on my blog, if you agree with that! Please let me know if it’s OK for you.

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