How to Obtain Auditions Without a Talent Agent

Man and woman on reading script onstage.
Emmanuel Faure/The Image Bank/Getty Images

There are many ways to secure auditions until you find can an agent more adept at procuring opportunities. Being your own agent is very important, and doing so can be highly effective in advancing your acting career. In fact, you should always aim to act as your own agent to some degree--even if you're at a point in your career when you don't need to. This keeps you constantly proactive in your career, aggressive in your search for work, and you’ll be able to make your own career choices (i.e.: being your own boss.). Everyone has an opinion and lots of people will try to tell you what is best in this industry. The only person who truly knows what is best for you is you.

Be Your Own Agent

The most important way to obtain your own auditions is to find out who is casting a particular television show or film. It’s also very important to know when auditions for certain roles are being held. You may find this to be difficult without talent representatives, who have instant access to casting notices. However, it's certainly not impossible to find casting and audition information on your own.

You can start by checking out the "SAG-AFTRA Show Sheet." If you’re a member of the union, and you can do research online for current information about productions on such sites as "Casting About." 

Ask around town. Networking is always a huge help and in show business, everybody knows somebody. Many men and women around town undoubtedly have knowledge about the roles that are currently being cast for a project.

As soon as you do discover a pilot, television show, or a film that might be a good fit, send your headshot, resume, and your reel to the casting director via e-mail, or by dropping it off at their casting office. If you are not able to physically drop off a headshot, then drop it in the mail. Most casting offices list their email addresses and physical addresses online. IMDB Pro is a good place to find this information.

Let’s say that your friend has an audition for a specific role on a television show that may also be right for you. Consider putting yourself on tape for the role and send it to the casting directors. Often the audition "sides" (lines) for a character that is being cast are available for download online. A service called "ShowFax" allows you to download "sides" for a fee. There's no guarantee a casting director will watch your reel, but you have nothing to lose by sending it. It is the casting director's job to seek and find the best person for the job, so help them to find you.

Casting Notices

Another great way to obtain auditions without an agent is by searching casting notices available in publications such as Backstage. The projects are screened by the company in order to be sure that the notices are legitimate.

You should also sign up for certain websites that allow actors to self-submit to certain projects electronically for a fee. Do your research, as there are many websites that charge fees and promise to deliver countless auditions, but may be scams. "Casting Networks" and "Actor's Access" come highly recommended.

Another way to obtain auditions without being represented is to attend "Casting Director Workshops." These allow you to meet casting directors and read to them for free. They can be helpful, but they’re not for everyone.​

Hiring a Talent Agent

Eventually, hiring a good talent agent or manager can help advance your acting career. However, until you sign with a talent agent who can assist you, you can achieve a lot of success independently. A majority of auditions, bookings, and successes in my career can be achieved without the help of a representative.  

The Bottom Line

You have the power to do anything, and obtaining auditions on your own is very attainable. As is true with everything else in this business, it will take hard work, perseverance, and determination.