Richard Evans CDG is a casting director who teaches The Art of Selling Yourself at The Actors Centre. Here, Richard writes about the eight-week workshop, which begins on 18 October and will guide actors to help them stand out in an overcrowded marketplace.
A career as a performer is something that many people feel is their vocation in life, spending time and money on training to make themselves the best they can be, before launching themselves out into the big wide world in an overcrowded marketplace. The performing arts is the only profession where graduates and experienced professionals alike, are thrilled if they get offered a job that only pays them less than their rent every week, sometimes even just their travel expenses — a sad fact, but true.
While many courses are excellent at teaching the students how to act, sing and dance, many graduates often feel ill-prepared for actually entering the industry and having to sell those skills to potential employers (especially if they haven’t managed to secure representation with an agent while at college). With more and more people entering the industry every year, yet the amount of well-paid work diminishing, it has never been more essential to make your mark, sell yourself and stand out from the crowd.
You may think that I am painting a bleak picture, and yes, I am being truthful, as performing is not an easy industry in which to sustain a successful career and keep making a living. That said, never forget that this is the one industry where you can be out of work and so despondent that you feel you have no choice but to give up and get a ‘proper job’ one day, yet get a life changing offer and be at the top of your game the next. There is always hope and you never know when the phone will ring or the email will ping and you will be offered the audition or meeting that will lead to a brilliant job. That said, in today’s marketplace, it is essential to have the necessary skills to sell yourself to potential employers at every stage of your career, whether suggesting yourself for work; when you get into the audition room itself; while working on a job; or being in the public eye at social events. With that in mind, here are some things to think about:
- The first thing to think about is yourself – the ‘product’, which you are selling. It is essential to have a good idea about your casting potential and type, what you have to offer, how others perceive you and where you fit into the industry. Be honest about all these things at all times. Know what you want to do (and what you don’t), where you want to be and what your goals are for the near and distant future. Think about those people and companies who would find what you have to offer useful and target them.
- When suggesting yourself for work, it’s important to be realistic. Do you fit every aspect of the brief? If you were the director or casting director, would you get yourself in to audition, if you had never heard of you? Think about your suitability for the part and project, what you can bring to it, why they should see you, instead of the other hundreds or thousands of people who applied, and how you would convey these elements to them succinctly (in the comments box on Spotlight Link, for instance).
- If you have an agent — no matter whether they are big and high-powered, small and just starting out or somewhere in between — it is essential to work with them on your own behalf, to keep selling yourself and your career (no matter at what stage you are). After all, nobody can (or will) ever work as hard for you as you can yourself.
- If you are offered an audition, it is vital to maximise your impact by researching every aspect of the project, including the team that you will be meeting, learning any sides (script pages) that they have sent you in advance, being able to chat and making the right impression. Knowledge is power and the more you know beforehand, the more confident you will feel when you walk into the room, and during your meeting.
- Finally, it is worth thinking about the social side of your life — both in person and online, using social media. How do you project yourself? How are you perceived and who sees what you do or post? How can this affect your chances of future employment and how can you make it work in your favour?
All these and many other topics will be discussed in depth in The Art of Selling Yourself, over eight Friday evening workshops at The Actors Centre. There will also be time in each session to air and share your questions, thoughts, news, problems and grievances with me and the rest of the group, build a strong supportive network for mutual encouragement and support to inspire you into action and after each session, we’ll go to the green room bar, to improve our social skills and get to know each other on a more informal level.
Since I started running The Art of Selling Yourself back in 1992, it has helped hundreds of performers — from recent graduates, whose careers hadn’t started as well as they had hoped, to experienced actors, who, despite having worked successfully in the industry for many decades, were looking to get their careers back on track in an ever changing business.
So come and join our friendly group and take action to get your career into gear — it’s the most positive way to end your week!
The Art of Selling Yourself begins on Friday, 18 October. For more information, as well as booking links, please click here.
About Richard Evans
Richard Evans CDG began casting in 1989, and prior to this worked as an actor for ten years. He was the first British casting director to specialise in all areas of theatre and has since has cast a wide variety of productions in all media. He has devised and presented audition and career development workshops at many top drama and theatre schools worldwide – from RADA in London to The Lee Strasberg Institute in New York – as well as workshops at The Actors Centre and live events for Samuel French and The Stage. Two editions of his book, Auditions: The Complete Guide, have been published by Routledge, and the illustrated eBook, Self Taping: The Actor’s Guide, is published by The eBook Partnership. Richard is a member of The Casting Directors’ Guild of Great Britain and Ireland. For a wealth of tips, advice and resources, go to www.auditionsthecompleteguide.com
Back to articles