Relationships relationships relationships.
If you’ve been with us a while, you know why we’re repeating that word. The film industry runs on relationships. It is very much a who you know industry, and while that might appear on the surface to be a negative, it’s not. We want to use it to our advantage.
When thinking about how actors are chosen for big budget films, the question you should ask is “who were they connected to that got them into the audition room?” Auditions for these kinds of projects are rarely posted; open auditions aren’t the way people get their break like they were in the past. Big-name actors (who weren’t initially vocalists, models, or related to other actors) have their own personal relationships in the industry and/or their agents and managers do.
It’s normal for new actors to assume that casting directors make casting choices and that building relationships with them while working in production is the way to go. It’s in the name. CASTING director!
They’re half right. Casting directors can get you into the room, but directors and producers are the ones who make the final call. You’ll want to be making relationships with all three of these kinds of people if you want to succeed. We refer to these people as your buyers because they are the ones that need to buy into what you are selling— your energy and the way you portray a role. While you’ll be starting as a production assistant, the entry level job in the film industry, quickly you’ll have opportunities to become a casting assistant, director’s assistant, or producer’s assistant. That’s when you can build relationships with those important people.
When people like you, they will be more willing (consciously or unconsciously) to buy into what you bring to the table. They’ll have seen what you’re like as a person, as a worker, and know things about your industry aspirations. If they see that you respect the work and everyone on set, it’s much more likely that they’ll want to help you out on some level.
We have to mention background acting. Overall, this will NOT be the way you can start getting auditions for principal roles. That doesn’t mean, though, that the experience is useless. It’s another opportunity to see how the set works and, possibly, hear some of what goes on between the director and the actors.
The important thing right now is to get on set and start working. Waiting for the right moment is the wrong way to go. This is the moment to start.