Actors Access is a database of actor profiles any actor can sign up for OR an agent can sign up for on behalf of their actors. When you have a profile on Actors Access, some casting directors will use it for managing their castings.
The Actors Access database style is controlled by a company called “Breakdown Services” who has been in the industry many many years first as a source for castings, and now with a few other resources like Actors Access.
In the free version, they up-sell you to pay for adding additional photos, videos, and to submissions to castings in a self-service process. If you have agent in control of your profile, then the agent can submit your profile and make additions to your profile for free. If you pay $68/yr, then you can self submit and make additions to pictures and videos for free.
Because of its longevity in the industry, break down services has established itself and is used by a significant amount of casting agents. For this reason, if you do not have an agent to submit on your behalf, I would recommend paying the $68/yr to add content and submit yourself on projects as well as get insights on who is casting projects.
1. Choose a headshot that can be cropped square.
The casting directors are first seeing a cropped square version of your headshot. So choose a headshot where your face is somewhat centered. Of course the picture must look professional, absolute no iPhone selfies. Spend a little money for somebody that knows lighting, and has experience with headshots to make you pop from crowd.
2. Update your content weekly.
I get it, you’re busy. However, because so many casting directors are possibly using Actors Access, it is critical to keep your pictures and resume recent. If its been over 6 months since you have updated your profile, take 30 minutes and get back on that profile.
3. Use the paid “Plus” version.
The paid version allows you to make unlimited updates and self submit. While it would be great if you are your agent’s only client… if you are starting out you probably are not. So its best not to rely on your agent providing you any more value than to be a “credible witness” to you as an actor, and to act a facilitator for work you book. If they actually finding you work, that’s a bonus…but don’t expect it. For the self hustler’s out there (which is everybody reading this) until you become established, its worth the extra 68 bucks for self submissions and being able to keep things active and updated.
4. Use the slateshot options when submitting.
Slateshot option allows you to attach a 7 second slateshot to EVERY picture you have on your profile. Its not a high quality video, but without much investment in you, it allows the casting director to quickly validate that you can speak clearly and look like your picture. It allows a casting director to quickly filter you as viable or non-viable for their project.
5. Include your website actor domain name with a note.
If a casting director is at the point where they want to dig deeper beyond seeing your headshot thumbnail, do not play hard to get. Give them all the knowledge they need to fully understand that this “acting thing” is not an after-school-maybe-it-will-happen project. They need to understand you are here not to waste their time, you are prepared, and you are ready to exceed their expectations because they are putting their reputation on the line when they recommend you. So to get that recommendation, show them a commitment at all levels, and that includes your business sense. You must have professional pictures and a www.yourname.com website that looks professional and can allow the casting director to find more information about your experience and see different looks beyond the Actors Access profile.
6. Customize your submission notes.
Make the note short and sweet. A submission note allows your to further qualify what significant attribute you have that would make you perfect for this specific role. An agent that only has 10 clients will do it for their clients, but if they are managing 50 plus, then probably not.
7. Make a submission everyday.
Every single day there are new projects, be on top of it. I know its a grind, and its tedious and that you are an “artist” and don’t have time for this…but you must. This is show business and you must be recognize outreach, just like any business, is how people find you.
8. Only show pro-pictures and pro looking video.
Always put your best face forward. Professionals want to work with other professionals. Looking your best at all times is part of the game, its expensive and its hard. But you aren’t competing against non-professionals, this is the big leagues…go big or go home.
9. Include video in your submissions.
Submissions that have video get priority in the castings. So having high quality video in your profile can be a huge advantage in the big sea of submissions. Currently the pricing for adding video is $22/minute, and $3 to attach video per submission if using the free plan, or if using the paid plan you can add unlimited videos to each submission without additional charge.
10. Final Thoughts about Actors Access
As an actor, there are many many things to do and you must be efficient. Having your Actors Access profile set up is important one and paying the $68 allows you to make submissions with Casting Directors very efficiently. Don’t try to save the $68 a year. This work is tedious, but necessary. In addition, if you some how do make it through the sea of submissions, make sure your website is set up properly and accessible in the note. Even after all that work, there is still a degree of luck involved…so make yourself available to get lucky.
If you already have an Actors Access account, check out our new ActorGear feature that allows you to create a website (which you can edit even further with our visual builder). Watch the video of Ben Miskie (me) making a website in 9 minutes and 11 seconds with the new Actors Access import tool…and then making edits. Click here to watch the video screen cast or start creating one immediate. Click here to create your actor website.