1: Do I need an agent?
No, you don’t NEED an agent. You can find casting calls and self-submit. BUT, having an agent helps once you have some experience under your belt. Submissions from agents get looked at first, even on the established talent listing service sites, because a submission from an agent means the actor has already been “screened.” Also, once you start getting bigger and better offers, an agent helps negotiate those terms and makes sure you’re getting what you deserve. But, if you’re just starting out, registering and self-submitting through a legitimate talent listing website will suffice.
2: Where do I find legitimate casting calls and acting opportunities?
For most areas outside of LA & NY your best bet is Casting Calls America (CastingCallsAmerica .com).
Backstage.com, Casting Networks, and Actors Access also do some regional casting call listings.
Check out our “Tips to Avoid Actor Scams” article for more information.
3: What do I need before I submit?
First and foremost, you should have a professional headshot. You don’t have to spend gobs of money, but it shouldn’t be a “selfie” either. Find a reasonable local photographer, at least to start. When you submit to a casting call, the first thing looked at is your headshot and if it isn’t professional they’ll assume neither are you. If you’re just submitting for extra or background parts, a “nice” photo is fine. But again, if you want to be taken seriously, you need to take your submissions and talent listing profiles seriously. Check out our multiple articles on headshots for more information on headshots.
4: Do I need training?
Yes. Yes, you need training. If you want to be a professional, or even amateur actor, you need to think along the same lines as an athlete. Regardless of how naturally talented or gifted you are, you need coaching, you need training, and you need practice. Check out our online acting class directory for more information.
5: Do I have to join the Screen Actors Guild to be an actor?
No. In fact, you have to already be a working actor before you can join. Most paying local jobs are non-union, and don’t require you join the Screen Actors Guild (SAG-AFTRA). Even projects that are union, but shooting in right-to-work states, can’t require you be a member. How to work or not work with SAG-AFTRA is very detailed and complex and we suggest you review our additional resources page for more details. Check out our series on SAG-AFTRA for more information.
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Last modified: June 20, 2018