By Jesse Daley
With the holidays and the New Year fast-approaching, it’s a good time to be reminded that “pilot season” is right around the corner! Are you ready and prepared for it this year?! It’s extremely important to do as much as you can today in order to be as equipped as possible for pilot season.
Give yourself the best possible chance at lots of success this year!
I’ve included a list of some of the most important things that you can do to be prepared for pilot season success.
What is “Pilot Season”?
I’m sure that most of you know what pilot season is, but for those of you who are new to the business, “pilot season” is the time of year when many new television series begin casting, typically for the release of a new show in the fall. Pilots are being developed and casting throughout the year, but the primary time of pilot season is generally January through April.
There are many new pilots every year, which means that you have a big opportunity to book work!
As I wrote in my article about actor headshots, your headshot is very important in terms of obtaining auditions. If you haven’t had your headshots updated recently, it’s a good time to start planning to have new photos taken. Headshots should be updated at least once a year (ideally more often, if you can afford it). Remember, you don’t need to spend an exorbitant amount of money on headshots, either! Having a good photo that looks like you and allows a casting director to get a feel of your personality is all that you need. Also, remember to not go over-board with re-touching photos!
My current agent explained that she didn’t want my photos to be overly-retouched, because she still wants the photos to look like me. As always, simply be YOU.
It’s always great to be enrolled in an acting class year-round, but I feel that it is essential to be a part of a good class during pilot season.
You’re going to be going on auditions with many other seasoned actors, and class will help you to be the best that you can possibly be. Additionally, consider taking a good audition technique class. Even if you are an amazing actor (which I know that all of you are!) you won’t have much luck getting on set if your audition skills are not up to par. As I’ve previously mentioned on my page, I have found much success through classes that I’ve taken with Carolyne Barry, Christinna Chauncey, and Billy Hufsey.
Additionally, signing up for casting director workshops (if you enjoy them) and networking (including social-media networking) will help you to make connections. This is always important, and during pilot season you just never know when one of your connections will call you in for an audition!
Agents and Managers
Speaking of auditions, we actors are always able to obtain auditions without the help of a talent agent. However, for certain auditions, the casting notice (breakdown) will only be released to talent agents and managers. Hence having a good agent or manager is obviously helpful. If you don’t have a good agent or manager at the moment, now is a good time to take meetings. You can learn all about how to find a talent agent here.
If you’re an actor who is currently with an agency who is just not doing much to help your career, you should consider taking other meetings, too. It should be noted that many agencies will not take meetings or sign new talent to their rosters during pilot season as things can get extremely busy!
Set Your Goals for Pilot Season
Knowing what you want to achieve is always the first step in reaching your goals. Although pilot season is still a couple of months away, I suggest taking some time now to plan out what you would like to accomplish during the upcoming pilot season – and year! Read as much as you can about what is casting, and which new shows are set to film during 2015. You can find lots of this information in publications such as “Backstage,” “Variety,” and “Deadline.”
In addition to setting your goals for the upcoming year and pilot season, set time aside to work on your personal life, too. I find that working in the entertainment industry, while extremely exciting, can become very stressful at times, and we actors need to be good to ourselves! As many of my readers are well aware, I am a fan of Dr. Wayne Dyer, and learning about how we have the power to do anything that we set our minds to.
If you follow the above mentioned steps now, you’ll be in good shape for pilot season! I’m confident that you will have a successful 2015 year, my friends!
April Yvette Thompson