Every year I go to Showcases throughout the country looking for new talent for my management roster at WAW Entertainment in Los Angeles. I am looking for the best kids in the bunch. They can be all types nerdy kids, athletic, teens, little kids, outgoing, big energy, charismatic personalities, dorky, fat and bullyish, goth, strange looking kids, gorgeous or really unique looking... all types and all ethnicities.
But the one thing in common that I am looking for is actors who are BELIEVABLE and seriously committed to building an acting career. I am not looking for the curious, I am looking for the serious. I want actors who will come to LA to spend 3-4 months every year auditioning for projects, getting to know casting directors, taking acting classes here in LA and working their way up the ladder of success so we can make money together.
Actors under 18 need their parents to be fully committed as well because 99% of the work actually falls upon the parent. The parent is the one driving the actor back and forth to auditions, callbacks, and the sets of the jobs their kids book. The parents are the ones paying for acting classes, dance classes, voice classes and new headshots every few years as the kids grow and change and always need new pictures to reflect their child's current look.
The struggle is real. Parents often have other children and have to be away from those children for long periods of time, and away from their spouses. That's not easy. It is expensive to live in LA and the traffic is horrendous. Literally, it could be 5 miles from your audition and it can take an hour & 1/2 to get there. As a parent of an actor you will spend all day in traffic.
Many of the parents I talk to ask "What I am looking for?" When I tell them I want kids who are going to be in LA 3-4 months every year some are shocked and certainly are not going to be doing that. That's fine and I say get a local agent in your own state for film and TV auditions they may have there. Have your child do plays there and audition for student films in your local colleges. And have them takes lots of acting classes where you live.
The majority of opportunities for pro acting jobs for TV are in LA and some are in the certain hubs like New York, Chicago, and Atlanta. If you are not in those big cities you have to find opportunities where you live, I discuss that in detail in my ebook HOW TO BE A STAR RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE which you can instantly download here: http://www.secretsofahollywoodtalentmanager.com
Wendy and her future star client JAYDEN HEDDEN
PARENTS OFTEN ASK WHAT OPPORTUNITIES YOU CAN GIVE MY CHILD?
Many parents say, "I will come to LA if you have opportunities for my child."
Or "I can come for 2 weeks in June. Can you get him auditions during that 2 weeks?"
Because I hear that comment so often I felt it would really be helpful for parents if I explained very clearly why that is NOT the way opportunities work.
The fact is we don't know what opportunities your child will get and here is why:
Every Talent Agent and Talent Manager gets a daily list of projects that are being cast. That list is called The Breakdowns. It describes the characters that Casting Directors are looking for in every project that is currently being cast that day. The descriptions might be:
[TOBY STEVENS] Male, 30s, angry and confused. Social Worker. GUEST STAR
[CINDY] Female, 8-10. African-American. Spiteful. Devious. RECURRING CO-STAR
[VI] Female, 7-9. Caucasian. Soccer player, rude. RECURRING CO-STAR.
[BRANDON] Any ethnicity. Can play 12- 13. An aggressive and competitive basketball player. 3 lines, 2 speeches.
(Note: Somedays or weeks there will be no descriptions that fit your child)
Agents and Managers look at these daily descriptions and see which of their clients fit those descriptions. If we have a client that fits the description of what the casting director is looking for that day, we submit our client's headshot, resume and acting clips to the Casting Director. The Casting Director will receive about 2,000 submissions for the role from every Talent Manager and Talent Agent in town that has a client that fits the description. The Casting Director and their Associates and Assistants will go through the pictures and resumes they have time to review and set up appointments to see the actors in person.
The Casting office will email Managers and Agents a pre-read/audition appointment time for the actors they want to see along with the part of the script the actor needs to learn - that is called the "sides." Casting schedules those audition 5 minutes apart and see every actor they have time to see.
For TV Episodics (weekly shows) casting only has 2-3 days to find the actor they need because it shoots the following week. For films they can cast for months and casting has time to see everyone they want to.
The selected actors go in to audition whichever actors they think were CLOSEST to the description of the character will be called back for a 2nd audition. Sometimes they call back 10 actors, sometimes just 2 or 3. That 2nd audition is called the Producers Session because show's producers, writers and directors will be coming to watch the auditions to see the actors the casting director is suggesting to them.
There will also be actors who have gone straight to the producer session and skipped the 1st pre-read audition because casting already knows they are right for the role because they have auditioned them many times before or have hired them before for certain roles.
We never know what characters/roles are needed until the day the breakdown comes out therefor we cant predict opportunities. Also don't know who will get callbacks or get the job. We all gamble around here :) If our client gets the job they get paid $585 for a Co Star which is 1 day of work or $2,800 for a Guest Star which work 3-5 days. If they book a Series Regular role they could earn $5,000 - $25,000 an episode. Every Agent and Manager hopes that the clients they sign will get auditions and that their clients will book a Series Regular role. And if it gets picked up and it's a HIT actors can get paid $100,000 - $300,000 and episode or become a spokesperson for a product like LEE Jeans which may pay $1 - $3 Million Dollars for the campaign which pays the REAL money we are all in this for.
There is one final stage of auditioning called Network Testing where the final 2 or 3 choices for each role are brought into together to TEST. If our client gets called back from a producers session to TEST that means producers and the Network executives are seriously considering our client for the role. Now everyone wants to see the actors work together to determine what the chemistry is between the actors. Most actors are let go during this process and the final actors who Producers and the Network feel have the best fit together will be cast in the series. All of this is a process totally out of our hands and yours.
The Producers will decide who gets the role and casting will call the Agent or Manager who represents that actor and tells us the good news. They do not call and tells us which actors did not get the part. Also they do not call and tell every single Agents and Manager why the clients they submitted did not get a callback or go to Producers. People are WAY to BUSY for that.
Everyone just moves on to the next auditions...and so should YOU.
Since auditions come up out of the blue and are totally unpredictable, sometimes our clients are called in the same day for a role, maybe the day before, or even a few days before. Actors that live here are available for every audition they may get. Actors who don't live here will never be called in for Co star or Guest Star roles. Show audition and book locals for those roles because they are cast very quickly and they want to see people right away.
Actors who live out of state could be asked to go on tape for Series regular roles and if the casting director wants to bring them in the actor/parent will pay the expense themselves. If the actor is asked to test, then the network will pay the cost to bring the actor in.
WHEN ARE THE AUDITIONS?
Episodic Season is Sept - November
That's when shows that are already picked up and given airdates show their programs. Those shows are looking for actors every week to be in the next weeks show.
Pilot Season is end of Jan-end of April
That's when the majority of new SERIES REGULARS are cast. This is the gold mine we are all digging in.
Summer Season June- Aug
Because there are so many cable channels now many shows that cast year round and hold auditions even in the summer. Of course in summer there are considerably less opportunities for TV outside of pilot season - but summer is a great chance to:
- Come out and get LA training
- Get some really good headshots with LA photographers
- Meet some casting directors in classes they teach during the summer at places
- like Actor Training in LA and Actorsite
- and go on some auditions for short films, student films, feature films and commercials.
- It's a time test the waters while your child is out of school and see if this is even right for you or your child.
Commercials and Films cast all year round. For Commercials actors MUST be in LA to get any commercial audition whatsoever. Commercials don't ever ask actors to go on tape.
Films audition year round. Film Casting Directors can ask out of state actors to go on tape and again the actor will have to pay for their way to LA to audition in person if they are asked.
So you see, being in LA for longer period of time you have the most opportunities. Many actors come in just for pilot season to take a chance on being called in for auditions. Obviously, the actors who are here throughout the year have probably already seen the casting directors for other the smaller roles and casting has had a chance to get to know them throughout the year. That is an advantage.
When pilot season comes around in January, Casting will bring in the actors they already know and often bring them straight to producers. They bring actors who have tested before straight to producers and actors who have been on a Series before will go straight to producers.That is an advantage.
The miracle is when an actor who no one has ever seen before goes in to audition and gets tested and cast as a Series Regular !
That is like winning the lottery and we all want to win the lottery right?
Wendy Alane Wright
See You On The Red Carpet!
Wendy Alane Wright is a Talent Manager and president of WAW Entertainment. Her clients work in TV, Film, Commercials and Print. She is the author of 5 books on breaking into show business in her series "Secrets of A Hollywood Talent Manager" She has been on numerous radio shows and is asked to coach actors and parents throughout the country.
Coaching Website: http://www.secretsofahollywoodtalentmanager.com
Management website http://www.wawentertainment.com
For more helpful information subscribe to her You Tube channel SECRETS OF A HOLLYWOOD TALENT MANAGER. Click here for her videos just for Parents: