We have to stop looking for work like it’s 1957. It’s 2017 and we are so much more than actors now. Every one of us is a producer of a kind, a content producer.
You can’t sit around waiting for the phone to ring. For most actors, it doesn’t ring at all. And even if you’re getting put up for stuff regularly, it doesn’t mean you ever see the inside of a casting room.
You no longer permission to produce. We live in a world where content can be produced cheaply. What it does require is taking control of those means of production and finding a way to showcase yourself.
Talent cannot hide itself. It will always come out. It might not come out immediately. People may not see it, but they certainly will see NOTHING of your ability if they have no opportunity to see it.
Let’s face it, the days of inviting agents to come and see your show are pretty much over. Sure, if they have time and it’s something interesting and it doesn’t pierce a hole in their otherwise full schedule and destroy their work/life balance, they might have time. But I doubt it.
To get seen, you’ve gotta produce. And you’ve got to produce for 2017. You have to get their attention. Because if they don’t even know who you are - they’re never going to call. But do you know who THEY are? Because if you don’t know the names of the top casting directors, agents, producers and directors in your area - why would you ever expect them to know YOUR name?
Being an actor was never easy. But getting auditions was easier when we didn’t live in a world in which EVERYONE has been told they can be an actor if they want.
Well, since we live in THAT world and not 1957, we have to start looking for work like it’s now - not then. The game is rigged. And you have to do whatever it takes to get the attention of the people who can employ you - without making a total tit of yourself.
If they won't pick you, or they can't find you - it's time to pick yourself.
It doesn’t matter the length. (Read - keep it simple)
It doesn’t matter how technically wonderful it is (Read - it should be competent though)
It doesn’t matter if it’s BAFTA winning (Read - it should still be your best work)
The best calling card. If you don’t have a decent showreel - is a piece of real content that serves as a calling card. Not a ‘constructed’ showreel which is meant to sell you but it’s really obvious that it’s just a scene you filmed - a real piece of content.
We’re all Producers now. Whether you choose to benefit from living in 2017 or not - is down to you.
To You, The Best
Mark Westbrook is the Senior Acting Coach at Acting Coach Scotland, a film director and writer.