You have your photos…now what?

Having a professional 8×10 photo that looks like you is the first step to becoming a working actor. Here are some frequently asked questions about the next step.

Resumes-

8×10 is the standard size for photos.

Office paper is 8.5 x 11, so you will need to format your resume to match up to your 8×10 photo. Format your resume with large enough margins for you to cut off the excess. We recommend that you format it so you only have to cut two sides instead of all four. Then staple the resume to the back of your photo.

Representation-

There are countless books and guides on how to get an agent or manager in LA. If your brand new, a trip to Samuel French bookstore will help you decide which path is right for you. However here is an overview of just some of the options, now that you have your 8×10 headshot.

Mass mailing:

Rays sells labels to the over 300 talent agents and managers in LA. Print a cover letter with details about who you are and send it out with your headshot & resume, with over 300 out there your bound to get a few bites, but do your homework before meeting someone in a dark alley or signing anything.

Drop off:

After narrowing down which agencies or managers you are most interested in, you can drive to each office and hand deliver your cover letter, headshot & resume. You may be stopped by a receptionist or assist, but you might just get the exact person your looking for, or develop a relationship with an office over time, if your persistent. Every office is different so some will be open to a drop offs and some wont.

Workshops:

LA has loads of workshops for both representation and casting directors.  Some workshops are run like a class or an audition or just a question and answer session, bring at least two headshots and resumes. This can be a good way to meet someone in person, especially if you are a specific “type” or have an unusuall special skill.

In the Know:

Agents and managers will tell you that one of their favorite ways to find new clients is word of mouth. So ask your friends and family if they know anyone who might be able to help you out. Of course if your uncle happens to be a top agent at William Morris/Endeavor, then you might want to talk to him first.

Postcards and Business cards-

After meeting, auditioning or even just sending a headshot and resume. A post card is a good way to stay in contact with people in your network.  If you booked a job, or meet them at a workshop, send a postcard letting people know what your up to. You can tell them to come see you in a theater production, to catch the TV episode you’ll be on, or that you have new representation.  Keeping yourself fresh in the minds of people who can help and hire you is key. Promote yourself with fast and easy to mail postcards.

Biz cards are a great way to give info to someone you just met. If you are a singer or dancer, or writer, put it on your card, that way when you hand it to them they just learned something else about you, a great conversation starter, or another way to hire you. A professional always has a biz card with contact info at the ready.

Unions –

It’s a good idea to be familiar with the two major unions in LA. You may not be a member or want to be a member yet, but just going to their websites or office can give you a lot of info.

SAG:

“Screen Actors Guild” major union for film actors and performers, they also have information to help with young actors and representation guidelines.

AFTRA:

“The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.” Union representing professional actors, dancers, singers, and broadcasters.

Casting websites-

Many casting directors utilize the Internet to cast their projects or research talent.  Having your photo listed on a website or casting site doesn’t mean you’ll get an audition, but if you are starting out it’s a good way to get involved in student films and smaller projects.  But be sure that the site is actually going to give you the access they promise. Be sure it’s a reputable site. Here are some of the major sites. Rays can make a CD formatted for each site, so you can upload your photos.

LA Casting

Actors Access/Showfax

IMDB (internet movie database)