As an aspiring actor, your career depends on finding as many acting auditions in Los Angeles as you possibly can.
It’s not unusual for new performing artists to decide on pursuing their goals in Los Angeles entertainment industry and then become completely overwhelmed with the information.
I experienced this twice. Once when I decided to pursue acting many years ago, and again when I moved to Los Angeles in hopes to get signed by top talent agency in LA so that I can sit back and wait for the work to pour in.
Needless to say, that’s not what happened. 3 years later, I’m still working my butt off.
Over time, I learned more about the industry. I’m still learning, but at least now I can share some of that information with others and maybe you can reciprocate in the comments below this post.
With so many acting hopefuls arriving to LA with big dreams of finding acting work, or voice over work, and so much talent represented by powerful agents, and a giant pool of others ready to apply for your jobs, it can be disheartening when you embark on your search for acting auditions in Los Angeles.
Don’t fret, because everybody’s been in that position at one point or another.
The path to being cast in a blockbuster film or a successful TV sitcom is definitely arduous, but I believe it’s far from impossible.
By now, I’ve already been (or still am) a member of all major casting websites in Los Angeles. I hope this article will help you to find your future LA auditions and expand your acting resume to launch your career.
Need a full list of agents? 150 Top Talent Agencies in Los Angeles (2017)
Where to look for acting auditions in Los Angeles?
Your ability to find auditions depends on nothing else but knowing where to go online. Comparing 2016 auditioning process with that of the 1990s, we’ve got a better slice of the pie, I would think.
So what should you be looking for?
Just like with everything else, there are different types of auditions (acting jobs). Ultimately, the “fatter” your resume and your demo reel, the better your chance of getting higher level gigs.
It’s important to stay realistic and true to your goals.
Don’t be frustrated that you can’t find auditions for a Supporting role on the next Spider-man movie. If you’re just starting out, keep your main focus on small indies and student films.
Where do you start?
First, you should narrow down exactly what it is that you’re able to apply for. This means “knowing your type.”
Are you a muscular male who can play a mean looking antagonist in a short?
Do you look like a reliable, easygoing woman perfect for short and sweet commercials?
Are you the girl next door, or a handsome leading man type? What, exactly, is your niche?
I said it before: acting is a business, and you need to look at it this way.
Once you’ve figured out your type and your market, it’s time to start scanning through all those acting auditions in Los Angeles.
There is no one single master list. Casting calls are all spread out across different casting call services.
All legitimate LA casting services are paid. They use different payment models, with some being cheaper than others.
The best place to find acting auditions in Los Angeles is through using Breakdown Services.
If you’ve ever wondered how talent agencies are able to send their talent on so many different auditions, it’s through using Breakdown Services where all major auditions are posted by casting agents, directors and producers.
Breakdown Services is the casting calls website. However, only agents get to use it.
Talent agents get “certified” and their agencies pay a fee to receive a list of casting notices on a daily basis from Breakdown Services. We, the regular group of unrepresented actors, have no way to access professional casting call breakdowns.
Fortunately, there’s a similar service for everybody to use, and it’s run by the same people of Breakdown Services.
It’s called Actors Access.
So far, it’s the biggest list of all acting auditions in Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago and other places in the US.
AA casting calls are free to view once you sign-up, also for free. Head over to their site so that you know what I’m talking about.
However, you cannot apply for acting jobs without paying.
Fortunately, Actors Access doesn’t cost a lot, especially if you’re ready to be applying regularly.
It’s $2 per submission (1 acting job/audition).
Alternatively, you can get all submissions for free with their Showfax membership subscription, which is only $66 per year.
I highly recommend just paying $66. The other day I applied to 44 gigs at once. It would’ve come out to $220 (with demo reel submissions).
Should you pay for Actors Access?
If you’re serious about acting in Los Angeles, then no doubt the answer is yes. There are other sites, but AA is the best for beginning actors.
Let’s say you’re not going to pay for anything else. Then I’d say at least pay the yearly AA fee and continue submitting yourself throughout the year, for free.
Other services to find casting calls in Los Angeles
Breakdown Services and Actors Access are not the only big boys in town.
There are other websites you can sign up with
as alternatives in addition to your AA account. Remember to always be wary of scams as there are a lot of them in this city.
Here are other major websites I recommend:
- Backstage (paid)
- LA Casting (paid)
- Now Casting (paid)
- Casting Frontier (paid)
- Mandy.com (free)
- Craigslist (free)
The first four paid ones are well-known and definitely legitimate. Mandy.com and Craigslist.org can be good for finding acting auditions in Los Angeles, but you need to be more careful in there.
Want to increase your chance of getting invited?
Finding auditions won’t make a dent in your career, nor will applying for them. You have to book those gigs.
How do you improve your chances of booking? This begs a separate article, but it’s all common sense:
- Know your type and the roles you fit best
- Have a professional LA-made headshot on your profile
- Ensure your headshot represents your type exactly
- Have a detailed resume of your credits and training
- Ensure your resume has no grammar mistakes
- Have a demo reel (as soon as you can get it)
- Ensure your demo reel is short and has your best stuff
- Maintain active social media accounts, build a following
- Make sure your whole profile looks professional
- Keep training, working and updating your resume
It’s not going to be possible to have a very detailed resume for total beginners, but you have to start working towards it as soon as you can.
Check out my article on resume without experience.
Using free services (Craigslist, Mandy, etc.) should be used as a last resort. It’s best to invest into a membership on one (or several) paid casting website.
Again, just to remind you guys – this is all business, not art. Not yet. In order to grow this business, you must invest in it: time, work and money. Yes, you definitely can take a shorter path, and hope for luck to strike you, it’ll just take longer. Probably much longer.
Keep networking to get more jobs
The length of your resume matters a lot. The more jobs you book, the easier it gets.
Yes, it’s a catch-22 for aspiring actors who’re just starting out, but what can you do?
Aside from the tips I’ve given you in my Acting Resume article, it’s also important to keep honing your schmoozing skills, and get down and dirty into networking.
Staying active within the entertainment industry in general can bring you into contact with exactly the type of people you’re hoping to impress: casting directors, producers, screenwriters, other working actors and filmmakers.
Follow the industry, and you’ll find these people:
- Join local community theaters
- Get into several acting, or other performing classes
- Participate in student and small indie films
- Volunteer to star in various projects without pay
- Try doing some PAing (Production Assistant) work
- Join groups like New Filmmakers or Women in Film
- Hang out in seminars for actors and entertainment folk
- Visit all kinds of LA-based events, like Surviving Actors
There’s a bunch of ways to network in Los Angeles. Everybody does it. All of this is opportunities to increase your exposure and presence in this crazy city, get to know the entertainment industry and let the industry get to know you.
Then, whenever a chance to act present itself, jump on it.
Sure, applying for acting jobs from the comfort of your home, sitting behind a computer screen is all good and dandy, but all successful actors did all the dirty work, too. The more I live and see here in Los Angeles, the clearer the picture gets on how you work this city.
Most people don’t like networking, but they still do it. This is the way you find acting auditions in Los Angeles and build your resume for bigger projects. Make yourself visible and available.
As your exposure in LA grows, and more people see you around, you’ll begin commanding the attention of talent agents, producers, casting directors and start booking acting jobs.
Agents and casting directors (your target audience right now) are known to watch videos of actors on YouTube and/or stop by theater performances throughout Los Angeles. You shouldn’t depend on this, but you never know who’s watching.
It highly behooves you to avoid staying at home. Get yourself out there.
I wasn’t good at networking back in Europe, but I made a conscious decision to change that part of me. I’ve been in Los Angeles for a relatively short period of time, but already made connections that got me some acting work and PA jobs.
Utilize social media opportunities
Actors are only now realizing the power of social media. Even celebrities.
There’s no doubt that social media, though tied to your social life, can provide fantastic networking opportunities for actors.
I recommend everybody to join event pages, groups, and “like” different organizations on Facebook to see when casting calls are taking place throughout the city. I’ve joined a bunch of them and starting to converse with people to learn more, and get to know them.
Here are a few pages you should take a look at:
You can also follow talent agencies and casting directors through their Facebook pages or connect with some on LinkedIn.
A few other Facebook pages of casting directors:
There’s a bunch of these. Tip: when you click “Like” on one, Facebook gives you a horizontal line of recommendations. Do go through those.
You won’t communicate with most (unless you’re very bubbly), but it’s good to stay aware of auditions, what CDs are doing, how the industry is moving and so on. Some of those updates are very enlightening.
Also, it’s definitely possible to score a personal connection on LinkedIn or Facebook. Those connections can be valuable, but make sure not to become that annoying person who regularly hits up people to talk about themselves. We all know them.
Make it a habit to track film productions and castings in Los Angeles. Don’t memorize them, but stay up-to-date; keep that information somewhere close.
I’ve impressed many people with knowing who’s around, who’s working at the moment, where castings are done and so forth. If nothing else, this can create an interesting conversation with fellow performers.
To stay closer to the industry topics, visit related websites daily:
Becoming a part of the Hollywood community isn’t only necessary, however. It’s fun.
Casting calls for union actors
I’m guessing that you don’t yet hold membership in any of the industry’s unions.
One of your goals after moving to LA should be to join a SAG-AFTRA union, or rather become Eligible to join, as soon as you can. You shouldn’t rush into joining it; I’ll expand on why in a future blog post.
Anyway. There’s a myth out there that Union actors receive more auditions. Yes and no.
SAG-AFTRA has their own casting calls, but they are usually the same ones posted on Actors Access and/or Breakdown Services. Union status has very little to do with this; it just makes sense that represented actors (whose agents have access to Breakdown Services) are in the Union, thus the connection.
Becoming an extra in Los Angeles
Finally, don’t rule out background work – being an extra in LA is a useful experience.
Background work is not acting, however.
If you decide to start doing some background work or even become an extra regular, then Central Casting in LA should be your first stop. Here’s my experience with Central Casting Los Angeles and what you can learn from it.
Background work doesn’t go on the resume, and you cannot throw around names of the projects you worked on as an extra. This will immediately label you as an amateur.
When you’re just trying to become an actor in LA, it’s important to get onto a film set as soon and as often as possible. Being an extra is the easiest and quickest way.
Doing background work will not build your resume or secure you any bigger roles. What it will do is earn you a little cash, get you to meet some like-minded people, and allow to observe how professional film sets function.
Extra work can also be a somewhat steady job for beginning aspiring actors.
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to make a career as a background worker. There is no “ladder.” Unless you get extremely lucky, you mostly stay in the same position – being an extra.
With that being said, I think all actors should do some background work for fun and experience.