A special contribution from Basil Harris! Well, what follows was left as a comment, but the content was so good, I decided to copy and past into a new blog entry. Enjoy!
“Good subject to tackle, David, and tricky.
Seattle is not like other places and other places are not like OTHER other places. In other words, only LA is LA. The community, the network, the system is different based on your zip code, that’s for sure. To get cast here, get to know how YOUR community works, not the one you wish was more like Hollywood. Work comes to Seattle in fits and starts, so the key is to prepare yourself for its arrival, not watch it disappear before you finish printing out your resume.
One great trick I learned recently on how to sniff out what work was coming down the pike is to go out and party with the crew, especially if you get the chance to hook onto a feature or high-profile job. mMke the time to go out with the local crew. The benefits are twofold: 1) crews like it when actors are cool and come out and party. It’s just good karma, and the local crew in Seattle is completely top-deck. And 2) casting is often the last element of production to fall into place. Only after securing locations, crews, budgets, etc do producers turn their attention to casting. Therefore, local crew often knows about the work long before auditions are even announced. Find out some project names then badger you agent about them or call your casting agent friends and see what they now. Put the word out that you want to read. Ask a crew friend for their advance copy of the script and role breakdown (this is probably not quite legal and you can’t prove that I ever did it, I’m just saying). Do whatever you can to get more info on these projects. Which brings me to…
Go get yours. This is often a toughie for Seattle folks. “I want to audition, but I don’t want to make [agent, producer, director, casting agent] mad at me for being pushy and then never call me in again.” Truth: anyone who gets mad at an actor for going after a role is a total dope. They’re not going to send you an engraved invitation even if you do have an agent. See the project, go after it. Yes, as David says, be nice. Always. Be professional and respectful. Say please and thank you, but say what you want. Too often, we see the example of the “squeaky wheel” as the douchebag who is nothing more than a total pest but somehow gets roles because somebody wants to shut him/her up or has been hypnotized to think that brash, naked ego somehow equals talent. Wouldn’t it be nice if more of us worked to kill that stereotype?
The other valuable thing to remember is something [Spokane acting teacher and casting director mentioned earlier on this blog] Nike Imoru told me during an audition once, which is that the actor’s job is to get the callback. The callback means you have done your job at the audition – you are cast-able – and the rest is up to the producers & director to decide how best to put you in the project. A callback is good. Find whatever ego boost you need in the fact that you were good enough to get a second look. Of course, getting the part is generally the best thing, but I found that with this thought in my head, I have an easier time rebounding from the ultimate rejection.
One last thought. David wisely mentions getting involved in your game & getting “out there” on social networks. This is not just to create more useless noise around your name. Ours is a social, personal business. If you have something to say, if you are a savvy local actor, if you always try to know where your next target is – audition, class, workshop, event, lecture, etc. – you will not only do yourself a service as a working professional, you will help create a rigor within the community that promotes work. I know this is somewhat pie-in-the-sky but I truly believe it. There’s a reason Seattle actors and film professionals get more attention than those in other markets (they do, I’ve checked) – it’s because we are smart, hungry and talented. Hard to see from ground level sometimes, but with the right attitude and discipline, we can make our little corner of the universe a real force to be reckoned with in Le Biz.”