Just because you’re signed with an agency doesn’t mean your personal hustle stops. But self-submitting and booking outside of your agent comes with its unique challenges and considerations. On one hand, submitting on your own drives up the numbers, which drives up your chance of getting seen and booking, right? But on the other hand, once you sign with an agent, you’re part of a team. And the team might not always agree on what projects are worthwhile. As you navigate the ins and outs of self-submitting, here are some tips to help keep things safe and professional.
- Keep Submitting Yourself. When you have an agent, it’s easy to let this part fall to the wayside. But to keep your audition numbers up, you want to make sure you’re an active participant. Keep searching through Casting Networks and other casting platforms. 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.
- Communicate With Your Agent. 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. Have your agent look over any contracts before you sign them. For one thing, they may be able to help you negotiate better terms. For another, you 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.
- 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 be negotiated, but it’s important to keep in mind. If you’re auditioning for an audiobook, unless you have a home studio, remember you’ll have to factor in studio rates, and possibly hire an editor. Don’t say yes to something off the bat without considering what it might cost you.
- Watch Out for Scams. Safety and legitimacy can become a much bigger problem when you’re submitting on your own. Be extra careful to watch 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. And if you still have questions, run it by your agent.
- Think Creatively. The advantage to self-submitting is you get to look for things that may not otherwise ping your agent’s radar. If you have acting-related skills that you’re not necessarily represented for (such as voiceover 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, and the ones that are better passed over. As long as you’re keeping things honest and professional with your agent and management, there’s no reason you should stop self-submitting.