By Guy Camilleri
Each year, from January through April actors are presented with the opportunity to showcase their talents to casting directors, directors, and writers for upcoming television shows. This period is commonly known as “pilot season.” A pilot is a stand-alone episode of a television series that will be used to sell that show and typically runs as the first episode of said series if a network or cable outlet picks it up. For the actor, this period is filled with an abundance of job interviews and potential work.
I can’t stress enough the importance of getting your ducks lined up in a row to ensure that you will be able to weave your way through the chaos, drama and the absurdity during in these coming months. How will you position yourself this year to stand out from the crowd? What assets do you need to be ready when the audition notice comes your way? And, most importantly, each audition is another chance to revel in the work and a chance for your voice to be heard, so let’s maximize each and every one of them.
Here are three things you to do this pilot season to assist you along the way.
1. Get in shape, literally!
Whatever form of exercise you enjoy, now is the time to kickstart it and/or dial it in with consistency. Somehow, someway, you need to be in shape to sustain the energy levels required to learn lines and to balance your personal-work life. Pilot season is exhausting, so don’t fall victim to lowering your immune system, instead find a routine/ritual to boost it. If you haven’t already, now is the time to visit your Internist (a comprehensive physical), the dentist, dermatologist, chiropractor, acupuncturist or any other health specialist to ensure you will be in your best shape to BE HEARD this pilot season.
2. You are your brand; your brand is you!
This month is the time to reach out to your team (agent, manager, acting coach, publicist, brand specialist) to confirm everyone is on the same page and sending out the right signal to promote your authentic self. It is your responsibility to communicate this clearly to your team, so don’t play the victim card and put it on them. Your “Brand” is tremendously powerful and it’s vital to hone your niche and simultaneously know just how far you are willing to stretch your comfort zone when that one-of-a-kind role comes your way. Be sure to have that conversation with your team to avoid any miscommunication and more importantly, avoid the buildup of resentments so you can continue to operate from a place of appreciation, respect and inter-dependency.
Actors without representation would be best not to rely on pilot auditions as their primary source of bookings. The majority of castings come from a casting directors industry list and agency submissions. That being said, this is not the time to sit on your laurels and watch it pass you by. Keep digging, stay relevant, collaborate, create content and if there is a project you believe you are right for, go after it.
3. Assets, Assets, Assets!
In the past, the sage advice might be to avoid setting up an appointment to get new headshots due to the time factor. However, with cell phone cameras being what they are, if you are in need of a new look(s), get to it. And, if you need to update your reel, there is absolutely no excuse to upload new material. Grab a friend, write a scene or a monologue, light the room and throw down some takes of you acting.
Your team needs clips of you doing what you love to do, so be a team player and give them what they need! Also, it’s critical that your resume is current and easily downloadable in a PDF format. Get organized by creating a folder with your headshots, reel (clips), resume and bio along with the passwords for all of your acting websites. The last thing you want is to scramble around trying to remember passwords driving from one audition to the next.
Also, make sure your website is ‘mobile friendly’ and follows the 3 click rule for casting directors to navigate easily?
Your presence on Social Media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) is a requirement for today’s actor. It’s your job to provide your team with the tools of the trade, so they can best represent you and get you pilot auditions.
4. “Acting is doing, and the doing requires practice.”
I coined this phrase because it sums up the importance of attending acting class on a regular basis. Acting is not static, and it’s not something you can just learn reading a book or watching online videos. It requires the act of doing and the exchange of energy between one or more individuals.
If you are not currently enrolled in a class, right now is the time to audit and/or register enroll in a workshop or class that best suits your needs to practice your craft, sharpen your skill set and take risks in a dynamic and safe environment.
I invite you to consider my classes at the Electric Lodge in Venice Beach, California and at the same time, it’s important to me that you will be 100% comfortable in choosing the right studio and teacher at this pivotal moment in your career and beyond.
Guy Camilleri is a Venice-based actor, acting coach, and poet. He teaches on-going classes at his studio, RAW acting studio on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings at the Electric Lodge, in Venice. His private coaching specializes in audition preparation, self-taped auditions, original reels, and career consultation. To audit, a class, enroll in a course or book a coaching session, visit www.guycamilleri.com. Follow Guy on Instagram @guycamilleri, @raw_actingstudio and on Facebook.