So what is Pilot Season?
Pilot season is a season where the bulk of the casting for broadcast networks happens. That’s largely the distinction. It starts in January and goes through April. Generally speaking, that’s the season.
The traditional broadcast networks: NBC, ABC, CBS, and FOX, sell their shows to advertising which goes to Upfronts, which happens at the end of the season. But we are also living in a time where the cable networks and streaming networks like, Hulu, NetFlix, Amazon, etc. are developing and casting pilots all season long.
Comparatively, summer is slower than the rest of the year. But with every year that passes, Show Business is becoming a year round industry. I see so many actors check out for the summer. They go home. Go to weddings. Decide to just take it easy for a while. Yes, we all need breaks. But there a series regular roles being cast every month of the year now.
Here’s the interesting thing about the word “rejection” in this town. Largely, no one actually says no to you in this town. Actors have a tendency to feel rejected but nobody actually rejects you. At least not directly.
In other words, if you go into an audition and you’re not the person who booked, you just don’t hear anything. I understand that is kind of default and de facto rejection, but the process is also similar to trying to get a job through an interview process.
When trying to sign with an agent or manager, occasionally they say, “We can’t take you right now” or “We already have someone your type.” Most people don’t actually say the word no.
Understand that it’s a process and if you do hear “No,” don’t take NO for an answer!
It helps if you have a complete life around building an acting career. Your happiness is your responsibility regardless of what you decide to do with your life. Make sure you don’t attach your self worth to bookings or the lack of them. Stay busy. Learn to love yourself fully. You’ll need to find that for yourself whether you stay in show business or not.
Career counseling is an individual appointment you can set up with me here at Actors Comedy Studio. We do intense and focused work specific to your career. Together, we create an actionable plan and outline for you moving forward.
Actors generally need many of the same things, but individual needs can vary depending on where you are in your training, your age and where you are from. I help reflect how casting is going to see you. We can work on your branding. I can help give you a sense of who you are in the industry. Ultimately, we end up with a plan of action so that you know what to do for the next six months, nine months or year.
Actors need support and an objective person to help them sometimes. I’m glad to do that for actors. Managers used to help actors the way I help them. I don’t think the system is set up for that kind of individual attention at this point. It moves too fast.
So, yes! Let’s talk about your career.
This is a good question. A lot of actors have an agent/manager and are not going out on auditions. You’re not alone. There are many actors who do overcome the hurdle of getting represented and feel like they are not getting out enough or not at all.
There could be a lot of reasons why. It could be the agent or manager. But it’s important to note that it could absolutely have nothing to do with them. There is not always a role coming out in the breakdowns that is right for you. There could be multiple weeks where your casting is simply not in play. Or you could be in play, you get submitted but don’t get called in.
In that sense, it’s a numbers game.
Beyond that, you may want to ask yourself, “Why doesn’t casting call me in?” It could have something to do with your pictures. Do your pictures look just like you? It could have something to do with your reel footage. Is your reel footage up to date?
In summary, there are many factors that can contribute to this effect. It isn’t always just your agent not doing their job…
Sitcom Essentials Class is awesome!
It is a ten week course, which is different than our on-going weekly workout classes. Within Sitcom Essentials there are five teachers who deliver diverse points of view. I have a working actor that comes in and talks to the actors. I have a well known agent come in and talk to the actors. (Sarabeth Schedeen from BRS Gage) Phyllis Katz, who is one of my dear friends and an original Groundling, also guest teaches one of the weeks.
The actors also prepare, rehearse and perform a multi-cam shoot in front of a live studio audience. We have professional writers on set that are changing actors lines on the fly in the manner that they would on a real multi-cam shoot. It’s an incredible event.
Sitcom Essentials is a ten week game changer for your career!
Casting Director Workshops are a great way to meet Casting Directors. Honestly, it’s difficult to move your career forward, get credits, build your resume and your IMDBpro profile without people knowing who you are. Workshops are a way for actors to get their foot in the door. They help develop vital relationships with casting. It’s a way for them to get to know you and your work.
Casting Directors also give very specific and important information on how their office works at these classes. I think there is a lot to learn from going to casting director workshops. Plus, it’s more acting practice for you.
They are not as prominent as they used to be, but there are some still out there. In a hyper-competitive market, they may provide an advantage.
I teach Master Class exclusively here at Actors Comedy Studio. It is for actors working at a professional level. A lot of people in that class book work, and though they work several times a year, they’re not always performing on a set. Master Class gives actors a place to workout and grow.
There are some recognizable faces in there. Some actors who are more practiced in drama join Master Class to sharpen their comedy skills for the burgeoning opportunities in sitcoms.
I make sure that people stay ahead of what the breakdowns are going to ask of them. I take out my “acting scalpel” and chisel their wheelhouse. Then I turn them into auditioning ninjas that know exactly how the industry is going to cast them.
The work gets deep and dispels any myths actors may still have about working in comedy at the highest level for TV and film!
I coach actors like Olympians get coached. They want the gold. I get actors the gold. That’s the deal!
Most importantly, casting directors are looking for professional level actors.
To say that they are looking for someone talented or trained, is a given for everyone. Casting directors want actors who can walk into an audition confidently. They are looking for someone whose performance is in collaboration with the intentions of the writers. They are looking for actors who are strong, confident, and stable. Actors who give every indication that if casting moved them forward to producers, they could walk onto the set and bang out the job without needing their hands held. They’re looking for professionals.
Everyone is new at a certain point. But the right training helps you be confident even if you’re just getting started. If you’re only “trying” acting, professional casting rooms are not where you want to be!
Camera vs Stage:
It is important to note that good acting training is good acting training. A strong foundation applies to either medium; stage or screen. In both cases, actors are blocked and marked, with choreographed crosses and movements. That is where the similarities begin and end.
Acting on stage requires larger gestures, emoting and projecting of your voice. This makes it easy for the audience to follow your performance.
Acting on camera requires a much smaller amount of movement, outward emoting and projection. When you’re working for TV and film it is important to develop a relationship with the technical aspects of the medium. Reason being, performing for cameras while surrounded by staff and equipment is an entirely different environment.
Working in front of a camera also means having an awareness of shot composition, It’s such a different dynamic than working on a stage. The scaling between the two mediums is totally different. It can be unsettling to have a camera (many cameras) pointed directly at you, if you’re not used to it! That’s why we train to actors to love the camera!
Archetypes are a large part of storytelling. They are the part of the foundation of writing. Furthermore, casting uses them to define what shows are looking for. Yes, we are all special snowflakes, but our essence can be categorized or defined by a short list of characteristics. That’s what archetypes are for.
For example, we use The Heroes & Heroines of Comedy here at Actors Comedy Studio. We figure out which archetypes highlight your essence as an actor: Are you the Dreamer? Are you the Neurotic? Maybe you’re the Rebel? There are ten archetypes we use in total. If you really want to learn more about them come here to Actors Comedy Studio and we’ll teach you!