Actor Tips: Self-Submissions

If you are submitting for a role, please read this post! Important career DOs and DON’Ts!

So, my dear actor, you have your hands on a breakdown, or a casting call, or whatever, and now you are going to self-submit via Email. Below are things you can do which will make you more “castable” in the eyes of the producer, casting director, director, and anyone else who wields power when it comes to whether or not you get seen, or get the job!


1. Read the breakdown carefully to determine if you are a good fit for the casting need, then follow the instructions of the posting.

2. In the subject line of your Email, unless you are told otherwise, put the name of the character you are submitting for, along with your name. Perhaps like this: “Submission for the role of LANCE (David S. Hogan).” Again, unless you are told otherwise.

3. In the body of the Email, state which role(s) you would like to be considered for. You should be submitting for roles which you can believably play. Know thyself, actors, especially physically, and submit appropriately.

4. When it comes to your headshot and resume’, do not send a link to a headshot, resume’, website, etc. Send a digital headshot, since that is what is typically requested. 500KB or less should do. Now, this does not mean that you should not also provide a link which provides other information and content about you, just be sure to first do what was asked. Oh, and while this may seem obvious, please send a headshot which looks like you. If you look considerably different from your headshot, mention it, and send a second image to reflect this look (say, you are sporing some facial hair or a new haircut).

Now, this is kind of a branding issue, but your Email handle should not be crass or foul, and cutesy Email handles might not be taken seriously either. Remember, this a business, so addresses which look more like are more desirable than Remember, this is a business, and producers want to work with professionals.

And, here is when you DO NOT submit at all:

  • If you are not available for the dates of the audition, shoot, show, or rehearsals.
  • If you do not fit the description of the character.
  • If you are SAG-AFTRA and this is a non-union project.
Final thoughts:
  • Read the posting carefully, then reply with your submission and any questions. If you ask questions which can be answered in the post, then you will not do yourself any favors with the casting people/producer. You will be wasting their time.
  • Spell check.
  • Do not send pictures of your body scantily clad (I am sorry that it has to be said).

Thanks for reading. Please heed this advice.~ David S. Hogan

2 thoughts on “Actor Tips: Self-Submissions

  1. Great advice. I’d add another, though this is a tough call. Often, when I’m casting, I end up getting a group of “general submissions” like: “I know I’m not right for any of your roles, but here’s my head shot & resume in case you have anything I fit in the future.”

    Okay, so (1) I fully appreciate an actor being proactive in his career, but (2) doing that makes my job more difficult. I’ve had to establish a policy of dumping those submissions – don’t want to – makes me feel bad – but I NEED to focus.

    The other thing that David mentioned which is not only helpful, but also makes me believe a potential actor is walking in our direction, is: Please, please say which role you feel you’re right for. This (Seattle) is a weird area – no one wants to commit. I’m not going to toss a head shot if you make the wrong “choice.” But then why are you sending me your stuff in the first place? Don’t make ME guess. Please.

    Thanks, David!

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