Just because you’re signed with a talent agency doesn’t mean your hustle stops. However, self-submitting and booking outside of your agent can come with unique challenges and considerations.
On one hand, submitting yourself drives up the numbers, driving up your chances of getting seen and booked. On the flip side, once you’ve signed with an agent, you’re part of a team. Like every team, all members might not always agree on which projects are worthwhile.
As you navigate the ins and outs of self-submitting, here are some tips to help keep things safe and professional between you and your talent agent.
1. Keep Submitting Yourself
When you have an agent, it’s easy to let this part fall by the wayside. To keep your audition numbers up, you’ll want to make sure you’re an active participant.
Keep searching through casting platforms such as Casting Networks. If you do voiceover work or audiobook narration, look for platforms where you can put up your profile and demo tracks.
Remember, your agent has many actors on the roster and no one knows your work better than you. You might find a gig that would otherwise be missed or passed over.
2. Communicate With Your Talent Representative
Even though you’re submitting for and possibly booking projects on your own, remember that you and your agent are always a team.
Be open and communicative about the projects you might be booking and have your agent look over any contracts before you sign them. They may be able to help you negotiate better terms.
You also don’t want to lock yourself into a project that pays pennies without letting your agent know, only to have them submit you for better-paying work that conflicts. Make sure you’re both on the same page about when and where you’re submitting.
3. Remember to Factor in Fees
When looking at rates for projects you’re submitting to, remember to mentally factor in agent cuts and other expenses when you’re determining whether something is worth it.
Sometimes these can’t be negotiated, but it’s important to keep in mind. For example, if you’re auditioning for an audiobook, remember to factor in studio rates (unless you have a home studio) and possibly hire an editor.
Don’t say yes to something off the bat without considering what it might cost you.
4. Watch Out for Scams
Safety and legitimacy can become a much bigger problem when you’re submitting on your own, so be extra careful to watch out for red flags.
Look up casting directors and production companies to make sure they’re legit. Ask other people in the industry if they have had experience with new parties. Watch out for anyone asking for money. If you still have questions, run them by your talent representative.
5. Think Creatively
The advantage to self-submitting is being able to look for things that may not otherwise ping your talent agent’s radar.
If you have acting-related skills that you’re not necessarily represented for (such as voice acting), self-submitting might be a good way to expand your acting career. Keep your eyes and ears peeled as you network and explore the industry.
The actor’s hustle is a lifelong endeavor. The more you submit yourself, the better you’ll get at sorting through legitimate projects that are worth your time as well as those that aren’t.
As long as you’re keeping things honest and professional with your agent and management, there’s no reason to stop self-submitting.
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