As with any business these days, one key way of getting business, or in this case keeping yourself in acting work is to network at every opportunity. When I say networking I don’t mean attending organised networking lunches, I’ve been to a couple of those and it was full of sales people all expecting to walk out the door with orders in their hand, Oh well, you live and learn. I mean making industry contacts, in the acting world that is just as important as any other. Yes keep going to auditions, but the more you socialise with people in the music, theatre, TV and film industries, the more opportunities are likely to come your way. Just because you met someone at a production or gig which you didn’t get the role in, still make sure you have their details, and more importantly make sure they have yours.
I had, well, still have a good friend who you will have probably seen on TV from time to time, he’s no A Lister, but he does get a fair few scenes these days in quite a wide range of TV shows, from comedy to drama and even as an extra in a science documentary scene. Anyway, he loves to tell the story (so I’d better get it right in case he ever reads this) about the time he was after a part in a local theatre production and he lived pretty close to the theatre back in those days, he went for the audition and didn’t get the part he wanted, but did get friendly with a couple of other people who were there on the day, I forget if they were cast or crew, but certainly were not involved in the casting. Rehearsals had begun and just before the show was due to open, someone got hit by the proverbial bus, it turns out that someone he had been talking to about 2 months prior remembered that he had played a very similar part before and still had his contact details, passed them on the the producer and in no time he had the job. It was for a part in a stage show which then toured the country for a considerable time, so he really landed on his feet.
So how do you make sure you are always networking in the acting world? Firstly you need to know your own objectives, do you want to do odd extras work, is your passion to tour the world in a theatre company or would you like to be the next Ian Beale in Eastenders (OK probably not the best example, but the actor Adam has been in it for a very long time and will most likely continue to be). Make sure you are able to articulate your objectives in a clear and concise way. So you need to always make sure that if there is a show opening that you could get an invite to, you do, is there a film festival you could attend, a music event, or perhaps even just the opening of a gallery, whatever it is, be there, socialise and don’t be a wallflower.
And don’t forget bands off all sorts have auditions for new musicians too you can find plenty of them here, they don’t have to be a famous band already, but if they have potential go along and audition. they could be rock, pop or a local party band like my mates band Pop of Ages, but regardless, it’s all good experience of playing in a group.
That being said, don’t just rely on networking, especially at the start of your acting career, you absolutely must continue to attend auditions, scour the industry press for any suitable casting calls and television auditions you can apply for if you are to find suitable acting jobs. The To Be Seen site has audition listings for many of the major cruise liners, bands and musicians and TV channels including the BBC, Sky and ITV.