Whether you’re looking for theatre or on camera roles - you can find what you’re looking for on these key sites for actors.
You: How do I find auditions? Someone: Get an agent!
Well that’s all fine and good, but until you score a meeting with agencies, audition for those agents, wait for a response, and then *fingers crossed* get picked up by one of the agencies - how do you find auditions on your own?
Truth is, agent or no agent, you should always be looking for auditions for yourself - so it pays (sometimes literally) to know where to find them and get going. Whether you’re looking for theatre, film, television, commercial auditions, etc - you can find what you’re looking for on these key sites for actors:
This site is perhaps the one actors are the most familiar with as it also operates as an industry magazine for actors, directors, and other careers in the biz. Ultimately, Backstage provides many services for an actor:
A digital profile for your résumé, headshot, and film reel with the ability to list any representation you have (agents or managers).
Online resume. This allows you to update your résumé in real-time so you don’t have to continually upload a PDF of your résumé when you update it.
An auditions calendar
Projects breakdown service (that you can customize to search for projects that fit your type and location) that provide access to thousands of roles that are being cast.
Casting Alerts. Based on your preferences, you can get casting notices that match your profile sent directly to your personal email.
Casting Call notice page.
There’s also an online community for actors to connect with other actors, directors, crew members, writers, etc.
Backstage provides role breakdowns theatre and film roles - so it is a great way for actors of both mediums to look for auditions.
Anyone can look at Backstage auditions and casting calls, but you must subscribe to the site itself to access its premium features like creating a profile and submitting for the roles you want to audition for which requires payment. Backstage usually offers an introductory offer of 50% off their annual billing plan: $120 (about $9.99/mo). If you’re not willing to commit to a full year, there is a monthly subscription fee of $19.95/mo.
Backstage boasts that filmmakers, directors, and casting departments scope their talent database over 2 million times a month, so if you want to get in on that action, it might be worth the cost to try your luck!
ACTORS ACCESS Another favorite among actors with and without agents alike, Actors Access (part of Breakdown Services, Ltd.) is one of the more popular sites for hunting for auditions and scripts. Unlike Backstage, you can sign up for free to create a profile but you CANNOT share the same name as someone on the site.
This is a good opportunity to think of alternative “stage names”, should your name already be in their database. (SAG rules apply here - no one can have the same name: i.e. the name Emily Stone was already in use, so this actress changed her name to Emma Stone....the rest is history.)
Features of the site include:
Digital profile for your résumé, headshots, film reel, size cards, slate shots, etc.
Access to breakdowns released to Actors Access by Breakdown Services. You can search breakdowns by location: Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, etc.
Access to your audition and eco-cast schedules - these list any upcoming or former auditions you’ve procured through the site. (Eco-cast auditions are essentially self-taped auditions. For instance if the Casting Director is New York, but they want to see people in Chicago for a role, they will request taped auditions through Eco-cast.)
Access to both on camera and theatre auditions - however, this website caters more to on camera auditions (film, television, commercials, web series, student films, etc.)
Role match alerts. Notices about auditions that fit your digital profile information come directly to your email so you don’t miss any opportunities.
CMail - essentially your Actors Access email. Casting directors or talent reps can communicate with you through this service that links to your personal email so you are aware of updates.
Once you’ve searched and found a role you wish to submit yourself for, you are lead to a “check out” page. Each submission does cost you $2.00 - so while your profile is free, your submissions are not, but the price is manageable. Submitting to 5 different auditions for only $10? Not the worst price. If the casting directors select you, they will reach out to you through CMail to either schedule an audition, request an Eco-cast, and/or send you your audition sides.
If you’re interested in shelling out a little extra cash, you’ll get some bang for your buck. For $68/year, there is an Actors Access PLUS version that allows you access to Showfax (a sides distribution website), make unlimited free Actors Access submissions (no $2.00 fee), and add media - like a film reel - to your submissions.
Ultimately, how much you choose to put into Actors Access is up to you - both the free and PLUS plans expose you to a number of auditions, locally and nationally, and is a smart place to host your electronic headshot/resume.
This website is heavily used by talent agents and directors in managing their talent’s profile, but you can sign up to Casting Networks without having representation with the Basic Membership Fee of $25. This is good for one year. You can create with Casting Networks site you plan on working within: L.A., San Francisco, Canada, UK, or - NY and USA (this includes Chicago). When prompted, make sure to specify that you do not have an agent (there are agent sign up codes, so tricking the system and making up a rep for yourself won’t work). From there you can sign up with basic user info, choose your plan (with or without extra services) and create your account.
Features of a Casting Networks account include:
Digital profile including headshot, resume, statistics (size card, ethnicity, etc), special skills, etc. NOTE: the first headshot is free, after that each upload is an addition $15.
Casting Billboard. his sites version of breakdowns that lists principal and extra roles available in your region (you can filter these searches to better narrow your search.)
Casting Billboard Email Preference. Like Actors Access and Backstage, this allows you to get auditions that match your profile emailed directly to you.
Role submission. This allows you to look through the Casting Billboard, find a role, and submit yourself. Each submission is $1.00.
Additional features with extra costs include:
Casting Board Unlimited. Provides no restrictions on what breakdowns are available to Casting Networks.
Media hosting. Allows you to share your film reel with casting directors.
Unlimited photos. Provides flexibility to change and add photos at no extra cost.
Like Actors Access, this website has both on camera and theatrical options available, but it more geared towards film, television, and commercial casting. It’s definitely one of the more expensive options and is perhaps the most beneficial once you sign with an agency. Nevertheless, it’s good to keep in mind if you want access to any and all breakdowns available to you.
THEATRE IN... (Theatre in Chicago)
For actors looking to delve into more stage work, then the collective Theatre In… site is a wonderful tool for unrepresented and non-Union actors to find theatre auditions. It’s also a wonderful resource for finding current productions - as it’s an actors job to SEE performances as well as audition for them.
There is no sign-up necessary as the auditions posted allow you to connect directly with the casting directors of a particular production. All you have to do is go to the main page and scroll down to find auditions. There, pages of productions are available by date and you can hunt for roles that fit your profile.
Features of this site include:
Non-equity and equity auditions.
Most listings include audition dates, callback dates, show and character descriptions, tech and performance dates as well as who to contact to submit your headshot and resume and to grab an audition slot.
There are some film auditions listed on this website, but it is primarily for stage productions. It’s important to read all the contact info listed for a show carefully; it’s here they will often list how to submit your résumé - and it can change production to production.
Theatre In… (for LA, New York, Atlanta, DC, etc) is a great resource for theatre actors as its free to use and submit. Sometimes casting directors don’t follow up with a submission, so if you are curious, feel free to follow-up with your first email. If you still don’t receive a response, let the audition go and keep hunting.
Like Theatre In…, Performink is a free resource for actors to find stage (and the occasional film) production. There is no need to sign up and you can narrow your particular search down with its search-filter function.
Features of this site include:
Equity and non-equity auditions.
Paid and unpaid opportunities.
Specific location searching that you can further narrow down by “type”: theatre, film, dance, etc.
You can look for theatre crew positions on this site as well.
Like Theatre In... you submit your own headshot and resume through the email or website link they give you (sometimes theatres ask that you apply on their own sign up website.)
CHICAGO THEATRE HELPDESK
Like Theatre In… and Performink, this website doesn’t allow you to have a digital profile but it is the most up-to-date calendar of where to find Equity auditions in Chicago. If you’re an Equity Member, you can sign up easily through the EPA portal. If you are NOT equity, this calendar is a good way to find which auditions you can “crash” - many equity theatres allow non-equity members to come to auditions. Most non-equity members are not seen until all the Equity actors have auditioned, so if you’re planning on crashing - bring something to do - you’ll be waiting a while.
Still, if you have the time, why not take a day to meet fellow actors and possibly get seen by some of the biggest theatre directors in the city. It can’t hurt!
Of course, there are still a ton of other resources at your disposal as an unrepresented actor, you just have to know what to hunt for:
Search Facebook for acting and casting groups like Theatre Mafia of Chicago, Chicago Actors Chat, and Chicago Theatre Connection. Directors and producers of smaller productions may post they're looking for theatre or film actors available for a certain project (always check out the legitimacy of a casting call before showing up to an audition - safety first!). You can also meet and chat with other actors in the groups - a chance to network.
Search for student films or staged readings. Chicago has a plethora of great film schools and theatres workshopping new scripts. Check with the Northwestern, Columbia, DePaul, and Roosevelt University websites to see if there are open calls for actors for upcoming student films. Search theatre websites for script workshop opportunities - it’s not a production, but if you help a writer or director read through a script, you might get the opportunity to audition for that production when it finally gets mounted. Both are also another wonderful chance to network - these students and theatre directors have been known to go off and do great things. What a great opportunity to have them on your résumé.
Create your own actor website. In this digital age, having a personal website for your acting is like a small business having a website. It represents you. Feel free to put up your headshot, resume, film reel, etc on this site. Casting Directors may find it and call you to audition for a role.
Take acting classes. Not only is it a good opportunity to train your performer muscles, when you take classes, you get acquainted with instructors who know the business and can help you find auditions or be a direct connection to a casting director. As you take more classes and make more connections, more doors to auditions may open for you.
Being an actor is hard work and being without an agent can make finding auditions seem impossible. However with time and dedication towards getting your name out there, you can audition regularly without the help of a talent representative. Other actors have done it and so can you! Agent, schmagent. Find your own auditions TODAY!
-The ATC Team
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NO AGENT, NO PROBLEM - With self-tapes becoming more & more commonplace & casting notices being just a Google search away, there is no reason for an actor not to be auditioning. The ATC staff will teach you how to navigate audition sites & how to tape & edit a studio-quality audition from home. For 9th Graders - Adults.
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Written by Rae Lindenberg