10 years ago Julie McNiven was living in Brooklyn, waiting tables and trying to figure out how she could make it on the Big Screen. She created a new approach and now she has a role on Mad Men. We sat down with Julie to find out how she did it!


Here’s her story….

Julie McNiven
AG: Julie! Thanks for taking the time to do this interview.

Julie: My pleasure.

AG: So when you first signed up for ActorGear you were living in NY and auditioning but without an agent. Now I flip the channels, turn to Mad Men and see you on TV. I guess a simple but not so simple question is, how did you do it? Take me through some of the key steps you took from when we met-to now!

Julie: That’s quite a question, it’s not really a short answer.

AG: I’ve got time.

Julie: Okay…well when I met you I was living in Brooklyn and waiting tables and working at Giovani’s Pizzeria.

AG: Do you like pizza?

Julie: Only when they’re Vegan!

AG: I love mushroom.

Julie: I love soy cheese! SO anyway, I was doing short films, student films, and spec commercials. It wasn’t always good work, I wasn’t getting paid or getting to audition for tv shows, but I was building a reel. So I decided I needed to get my career in order. I had a dead website that was very difficult to keep updated. So I went on the internet and did a search for actor websites. ActorGear came up as well as a couple of others. After comparing, ActorGear seemed the easiest and cheapest to keep updated and looked very clean. I signed up, put my work online, and got some new biz cards with my headshot and website. I then signed up for one of those paid casting workshops. I had been doing those workshops for awhile, but without any footage or an agent, the casting directors weren’t very interested. But, when I got a website, it actually worked out for me. One of the casting directors thought I did really well, and liked my website and headshots. The could see that I not only had my craft down, but understood the business side of “show business” as well. The next day I had a producer’s session for the role of “Hildy” on a new pilot called “Mad Men.”

AG: That’s fantastic.

Julie: The next three weeks I met with 5 different agents who all showed interest after seeing the scenes I had posted on my site. I signed with one and immediately started going out on a couple auditions a week, which was big for me because I used to be going out on 1 audition a month. After a couple of months I had an audition for a small guest star roll on Law and Order…I booked it! I was so excited!

AG: I’ll put a link to the clip on the website. (note to reader, it will be posted next week)

Julie: Please do! After that, I kept hustling on my own with my website, sending it out to any audition I could find with an email and that seemed to get me even more auditions. I finally felt like I was finally doing what I was meant to be doing. The website was very helpful when I was trying to get an audition with a casting director I haven’t met because my agent would just send them the link. I did a couple more small roles on “Brotherhood” and “Waterfront,” while keeping tabs on whether “Mad men” was going to be picked up or not. When I found out it was happening my agent contacted the LA casting office and told them I was still interested in playing Hildy and once again sent along the link to my website.

AG: Wow! So you certainly aren’t one to sit back and wait for the phone to ring.

Julie: No way! You have to be good on both the business side of marketing yourself as well as your craft and that holds true at all levels, from starting out, to doing guest star appearances to being a series regular to being the star of a show or film, you still need to focus on both the craft and looking for your next job.

AG: Well Julie its been fun to follow your career as an ActorGear user for the last 3 years.

Julie: Thank you for making this product, it’s been an important tool that I’ve used almost every day. I can’t tell you how much it’s helped.

AG: You already have!