Archives for : auditions


Maybe it’s better in Atlanta? Read on to find out how moving to a smaller market can mean more auditions. Guest Blog post from Hilary Pingle, a brave and talented actor who moved from Los Angeles to Atlanta and reports here on the ATL market and how to capitalize on it!

So you are thinking about moving to a smaller market, like Atlanta, for the MV5BMjIyMTA2NTAyM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTE2ODU1NjE@._V1_UX214_CR0,0,214,317_AL_ film and tv industry—great! The two big things I learned in my first year in the south is 1) Embrace the differences and 2) Be ready to travel!

Stop comparing ATL to LA—it’s different, it’s new, you’re new. The quicker you can accept this fact, the happier and more fulfilled you will be in the transition. However, since these differences help educate you on a possible location change—let’s chat! What are these differences? Let me give you a quick and brief rundown.

AUDITIONS: Since this is thing I’m asked most about, I’ll cover as much as I can here. You’ll get more of them! A lot more!

In LA, I was getting about 3-4 auditions (commercial and theatrical combined) a month. This was with some good credits, an agent and manager and a decade of actively networking with the casting community under my belt. In ATL, I average 2-3 a week! The most I have had in one week was 7. Auditions in the South East (SE = 13 states) market are mainly co-star roles, but tend to have more meat to them than your normal 1-2 line co-star. I’ve auditioned for guest stars and series regulars, as well as leads in films. However, SE actors for those roles tend to be seen as back-ups to LA/NY… but you are being seen.

Most SE states are right to work, meaning there is a lot of non-union work to be had, and an actor can do an unlimited about of Union work without being union.

The pool is a lot smaller here. In LA, casting directors quoted upwards to 4,000 submissions per role/per episode. In the SE it’s about 500. However—out of that number, they “see” and send off to producers about the same number of actors. You’ll notice “see” is quoted… that’s because 95% of auditions are self tape.

The great thing about self tape is you can do them anytime that works for you, prior to the deadline. You also have more control over the final product, because you choose what is sent to casting/production. However, you should always be off book, even if the audition sides can’t be seen! The downside, it’s very rare to get feedback—which we all crave! Also, unless you have an excellent home studio set up and actor friend who will read with you, you will be paying studios for this service. Depending on the location and needs of the audition, $10-$45 per self tape. 

REPRESENTATION: I’ve found that it’s a lot harder to be seen or get auditions without representation, but it’s a lot easier to get representation than in LA.

You still need a good headshot, training and business attitude—but they are not so concerned about a ton of credits, because it is still a new market. Most actors did not go to college for this, but are doctors, lawyers, police officers who train in their free time and simply love the craft. It’s also easy to get lost in the shuffle if you don’t work hard.

Your four big ATL agencies are: The People Store, AMT, Houghton and J Pervis. I am not with any of these, and very happy with my representation.

CASTING: There are about 15 must-know offices/CD’s in the SE: Alpha Tyler, Big Picture Casting, Coulon Casting, Erica Arvold, Feldstein/Paris, Fincannon and Associates, George Pierre, Jackie Burch, Jessica Fox, Matthew Sefick, Olubajo Sonubi, RPM Casting, Ryan Glorioso, and Shay Griffin.

And they are all pretty accessible. I am personally a huge advocate of casting director workshops in LA, when it’s done at the right time, with the right people, in the right way! I owe my career to them. However, most CD’s are open to generals, and often will do what is a traditional workshop for a group of actors through an agency connection for free. Yes, workshops happen here, but not as often and they are often geared to the beginner actor. Feldstein/Paris (Tara and Chase) do Twitter lunches about once a month, where they announce their lunch location and just hang out to answer any questions or touch base for a few hours. 

TRAINING: Because it’s still a new market, I found a lot of classes were targeted to beginners. Those actors that have extensive training, where I might be in a class with them back in LA, are now the teachers. My suggestion is to audit as many classes as you can.

Some great places to look at are: Drama Inc., The Company Acting Studio, The Alliance Theatre, and Get Scene Studio.

NETWORKING: Embrace the southern charm. Everyone is so willing to help you out here! There are some great Facebook groups that help you get connected like Georgia Film Tv + Casting, Atlanta Film Community, Atlanta Film Society and Film Bar Mondays. If you have a question—ask, people want the industry to stay here, so they are happy to point you in the right direction. Also, see my above comments about casting for more insights on networking with them. 

Lastly, be ready to travel, and usually on your own dime.

I’m ashamed to admit it, but a year ago, I could not tell you what southern state was where. Now I know. Because I’ve been to them or driven through them all!!  You will no longer complain about going to Santa Monica oN Friday at 5pm from the valley when you get a callback in Charlotte, NC from Atlanta, GA… 3 ½ hours away… one way. In person auditions or callbacks are rare, so when you get them—you go!  If you are booked on a SAG project outside of ATL, usually you will be a modified local hire, which means they can only afford $300 in travel pay. If you choose to fly in or rent a car, that’s on you, do not expect production to reimburse you over $300. If it’s a non-union project booking, you can negotiate, but it’s rare to get a travel reimbursement. But all auditions and callbacks are on you. The plus side, usually carpools are easy to find, books on tape or podcasts help pass the time, and the scenery in the SE is gorgeous and GREEN!!

Thanks for all your wisdom Hilary! Keep up the amazing work!



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How Actors Can Fight and Win the Battle Against Rejection



Matt Marr aka “Mattie” holds a Masters in Clinical Psychology and is a trained therapist. Specializing in Narrative Therapy, Mattie teaches in a way to open up artistic roadblocks in his client’s lives. He is also a successful commercial actor, host, stand-up comedian, host of a weekly advice podcast THE DEAR MATTIE SHOW, and has appeared numerous times on network television as himself.  He truly believes getting the callback is not about how well you act, but how well you are you.

Right now as I’m writing this article, I have a national commercial running like it’s Kim Kardashian’s latest naked pic—it’s everywhere.

My actor life coaching class is picking up and I’m getting regular students. I joined SAG. Finally after eleven years, it looks like I will be able to quit my day/office job. My family and friends have never been more proud. Constantly I’m getting texts and tweets from friends, agents, other actors telling me how “funny I am” and how “I’m making it” and that “I’m inspiring”. The art is truly becoming a career and a dream is coming true.

But I’m still anxious.

There is still that nagging thought in my head of “What’s next, Matt?” or “You should be promoting your podcast more!” Or “Yeah, you’re booking commercials, but you haven’t got out for a co-star in over a year. Get with it!”  Basically, I’m telling myself that I’m not doing enough…over and over and over. I mean, it’s good to be driven, but I probably should enjoy the fruits of my labor more.

I know it sounds crazy, neurotic, and even ungrateful, but I’ve got a history folks. Like one of Pavlov’s dogs, I have been conditioned. Yes, I got THIS part but there have been so many other roles that have not come to me that I really worked to get. So many others where I have been into offices several times and I’ve gotten sooooo close and the CD says she loves me soooooo much, but ultimately—no thanks.

Rejection. Everyone faces it throughout his or her lifetime, but actors are immersed in it often like a ship lost in a fog.  And what’s worst rejection is the seed for our worst demon, Doubt.

I use the word Doubt some people use the Fear…whatever you want to call it, it’s taking your artistic muse to the chopping block.

One of my favorite books is the War of Art by Steven Pressfield. Get it. In it he describes all artists as having a Muse and the Resistance. The Muse and Resistance are, he believes, natural forces—such as gravity. In his book he writes, “Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.”

This makes sense to me. How long have we been trying to push away and avoid the fear or rejection? Instead, I want to use it as a signal to motivate me to try harder and dig emotionally deeper. The Muse and Resistance are the Yen and Yang of creativity and one cannot survive without the other.

In other words, it’s time for you to acknowledge that the Fear, the Doubt, and the What-ifs—these things are coming to get you and kill your creativity. They want it dead. Accept it.

So now when I prep for an audition, not only do I prepare my lines, do a little meditation or listen to some music that pumps me up, but I prepare for the Doubt and the Resistance.  I expect it like a wolf waiting to attack its prey. Yet instead of being blindsided, I find myself empowered by the knowing of Resistance. I’ve given it a face and voice and it’s not some scary Hitchcock scene taking place in the wings of my mind. I see what it tries to do to me.

The thing about Resistance, Doubt, Rejection—we often try not to think about. It’ll go away.  Well it doesn’t go away. It smacks us in the face everyday and we can change that. Very talented people don’t get parts, and there’s not a damn thing they can do about it.  I can tell you that “it’s not about you”—which is true. But it doesn’t matter, when we pour ourselves (and our gas money) into an audition, it hurts when we aren’t chosen.

So next time when you get SO close to that role you don’t get, here are some tips to build the muscles to let Rejection sift through you instead of attacking you.

Feel it.  Let it wash over you and even ruin your day. Let it be the thing that you can’t get your mind off of and just let your self replay the moment over and over till your just exhausted by it.

  • The next time it happens (because it will) let it infiltrate your mind and go ahead and have a bad afternoon.

  • After that, the NEXT time it happens (because it will), spend 30 minutes afterwards yelling and cursing the Gods and wondering why you chose this life for your self.

  • Once you’ve let it in and sat with the emotions for 30 minutes (or whatever length of time you’ve set) …STOP. Move on to something that gives you joy and fulfills you artistically and emotionally.  Go for a run, watch a favorite movie, play Xbox– Just do something that puts you in a different emotional state and literally change your physical space from where you were to someplace new.

  • This was my plan. Now you can use these simple steps to create your plan. How do you imagine yourself reacting to rejection? As you sit with your feelings and then interrupt the pattern, you can gradually begin to shift your reaction from the habitual one to the new, imagined, healthier one. This isn’t smoking. Cold turkey ain’t gonna cut it. So make a doable plan—no seriously get a pen right now and write this down, type it in your phone notes, text yourself. Create the PREFERRED way of being you want to live, not a paralyzed way of being that feels attacked. You have a choice don’t let Rejection take that from you!

  • Track your auditons. I write in a Google spread sheet, you can use whatever format works for you.  Note what project you auditioned for and what casting directors, producers, writers or directors you saw, but also note how you FELT. Did you accomplish artistically what you intended? What didn’t work? What did? (Notice I’m not using good/bad—those are the Resistance’s words, not the Muse’s. Good and bad help no one).

No good can come by ignoring anything; neglect breeds dysfunction. These steps truly will help you make the Resistance adapt to your time, not the other way around. I’ve become so adept with this now that when I don’t get the part, I let the Rejection in and it lasts for about a good five minutes. Tops.

By exercising the emotional muscle you exorcise the negative thoughts. It takes practice, time,  and love for yourself …but hang in there, because the rest of us are hanging with you.

Thanks Mattie! I had the most fun doing Matt’s podcast recently, check it out for more great information, or to find out more about his lifecoaching class for actors you can see:




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