"The label you give yourself cannot impact external forces that are not motivated by your own psychology or influenced by a third party's pre-existing consciousness of you. We are all presented with reasons to struggle which come from completely external forces; to pretend that one is not struggling is either arrogance or an admission of defeat. To admit that one is struggling is a sign and a source of strength." - Evan A. Baker

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The 30 Mailed Submissions

About two weeks ago, I sent out 30 submissions knowing full well that in this age I basically can't move up without having a referral from either an acting coach, manager, or friend, and let me tell you, they are really hard to come by. I have a bevy of actor friends who would gladly refer me to their agent, however, either they aren't happy there, or they haven't booked anything in a while, rendering their referral moot as they feel they have no clout.

Two weeks ago, I sent out 30 submissions. I got three replies. All of them, "our roster is full." Which, if I'm going to be thrown away, thank you for telling me, even though that really wasn't the reply I was seeking.

I'm kind of at a loss. How do I get where I want to go when I seem to have absolutely no means of getting there? I'm booking on my own quite regularly, so wouldn't that mean I would book frequently on the much bigger projects, like....co-stars on television shows? I can slap Barney on the face on How I Met Your Mother. I can accept Leonard's awkward advances on The Big Bang Theory. I can swallow a couple of pills on Nurse Jackie.

As wonderful as it is to have directors and acting coaches say, "you're very good," while sitting me down and being very serious about it, it still doesn't do me any good. I mean, yeah, it's a great feeling, but it's kind of like not being promoted from secretary because you're such a good secretary. Except it's not like that at all.

It's a pity party here, and forgive me. I'm just frustrated. When you're doing well in your chosen field but can't move up, unlike every other single career in the world, it's daunting. How do I get to the next level?

I'm taking suggestions.

In the meantime, I'm off to go pretend I'm a paraplegic psychic for a non-union show on Animal Planet. A project I submitted for and booked myself.


  1. Well, I wouldn't know what to tell you on moving up cause I don't even live in L.A. for starters, so I don't have any practical advice to give.

    On the other hand, self submitting and getting work consistently rocks! You gotta be proud of that, since all you have you got yourself. I understand your frustration though.

    I suppose that working leads to meeting people (who may introduce you to good reps eventually) and to getting your work seen (which could lead to someone wishing to rep you). You are proactive, so I wouldn't worry over it. I'd keep on putting myself out there, and re submit in a while. I'm sure you'll find a good rep when eventually. Patience!

  2. While I don't live in an acting capitol of the world, I understand where you're coming from. I'm at the same loss- how do I move up/forward in my career? I'm also searching for a new agent because I get myself fifteen auditions for every one they send me on (unfortunately, I'm not exaggerating.) And I've had the same experiences of being told, very sicerely, that I'm good; but, like you said, what does that get us? Can't exactly put that on your resume! *sigh* I'm right there with ya.

  3. I have no advice either but continuing to book on your seems the way for now until you get noticed-- maybe?

  4. I agree with Mariana. I think you are doing the right thing, and the occasional "pity party" is a part of the process. (Just make sure you go through it, get over it, and keep at your goals!) I think one good way to (possibly) get representation is to put together a showcase. Get together with other actors, rent out a space and put on a show. Invite every rep in town (some of the other actors may invite their reps if they have them), and hope for the best. Whether it works or not, you'll be honing your craft, collaborating with other actors, and maybe building the blocks towards a theater group- one that will eventually get you that agent or manager. Sure, it takes work, but your not unfamiliar to that.

  5. Anon - I've tried that before, and the fact of the matter is that no one at the level I'm trying to get to comes, and I don't blame them; their workday is usually from 10-8 and they're too busy with their own clients to view others in a workshop that could potentially be filled with those who are soooo not ready to be seen yet. It's too much a gamble.

    It seems that New Media is the way to go now instead of put up independent showcases. If a web clip goes viral, you never know. We just have to keep on plugging away.

  6. Do agents in LA take e-mail submissions? In Toronto this is the preferred method of submitting. It makes more sense.

    E-mail submit yourself to every agent in town.

    An agent is a MUST for an acting career. (even if it's a bad one: you can move up later).

    Keep us posted, k?


  7. Will: Some do, but most prefer having a hardcopy, so that when they interview you in person, they can look at your resume and headshot and see if you match, etc. In the next five years, I'm sure more agents will be going green and only taking submissions electronically.

  8. yeah. hopefully!
    good luck on the agent thing!!! i'll continue to follow your blog to see how things go with it!


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