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Best way to contact actors?

When you're looking to offer a role to an actor with a comfortable enough career to not be on any of the acting sites like Mandy, but aren't high profile enough to be inundated with these sorts of requests, what's the best way to go about it? Via their agent, or via their linkedin profile?

(I can offer payment, but not a rate as high as say, £300 for the day, and the agency is a well established one, that I imagine doesn't need to bother with smaller projects, so I worry they wouldn't forward it on)

  • If their agent is the only route you have, use it.

    They might not pass it on - part of their job is gatekeeping and if the actor has said, "Bob, I'm using this time to write my novel/script, only seriously well paid stuff please", ce la vie.

    BUT, right now a lot of actors are a wee bit bored and a few days on a lovely project back in the old home town might get a yes whatever the money.

    2 months ago
  • Hi Scarlett,

    Would you not want to offer the role to an actor who is professional, committed and have the talent to bring your film to life, regardless of where you find them? Agreed it might take more time to find them than going through a top agent website, but they are out there.

    Apparently only 5% of actors make sufficient income from acting alone. This article says 2% ....

    It follows then that a huge proportion of those on spotlight and/or that have an agent won't have a 'comfortable enough career' in respect to income from acting alone. Ironically, the 5% statistic means they will likely have other income, so may not demand big bucks. Many talented actors keep a look out for good projects and will be less focused on how much. Acting is acting, whether the budget is £200 or £100 million - there is a script, camera and crew, and if the actor is earning money doing what they love and perfecting their craft, they may likely consider it.

    If you have a project and you want a well known name or names, you could try a cunning plan! This sci-fi short film producer convinced Jude Law to appear in it by arranging production local to Law and for him to be finished within 2 hours.

    It may take some time, but check out actors experience and show-reels, regardless of whether they have an agent or not. Are they workers? Check out google, agent websites (perhaps co-op agencies), facebook, meetup, watch short and student films, spotlight, backstage, mandy, etc. If you like an actor, you don't have to go via their agent, that relationship is between them. You can slowly build a network of actors that you like to work with, Gervais seems to use the same actors over and over.

    2 months ago
  • Hi Steven,
    I'm not looking for a name exactly, more a veteran actor I found via an obscure work they were in, so I suppose I just have to hope the script interests them enough. I'm on Spotlight myself, so I definitely know about the realities of most acting careers.

    For the other roles, I'm in the middle of a proper casting process with many brilliant self-tapes that I'm watching, so I'm not afraid of putting the time in! I'll likely fall back to that if necessary.

    And that's a good point about availability right now, Malcolm.

    2 months ago
  • I hope you don't think I'm being rude Scarlett but you obviously aren't aware that there is at any one time only about 5 or 6 % of actors in work. The other 90 something % are doing other stuff. I may of course be the ageing actor you refer to but not likely. If it's of any interest Scarlett you can see my showreel on youtube as Mac McKenna showreel 2013 (yeah I know a bit out of date now. Imagine the headshot with a few more wrinkles and less teeth.)

    2 months ago
    • Thank you, but I'm definitely aware of the realities, Allan, I'm an actor myself, I've worked on Equity contracts etc, and so of course I know a ton of other working actors, but there are still many at the level of not needing to jump on all available low-budget work, without being famous or a household name.

      2 months ago
  • I've found some really good actors on Mandy actually. I mean *really* good. I'm a self funded filmmaker and right now I'm casting for a feature and have met some really talented and lovely actors who have maybe not been out of drama school long or have recently come to the UK. They are anxious to get good reference material so it's a win win. It's easier now, most actors have a showreel and there is google and imdb to be able to cross check.

    2 months ago
  • Terri
    How do you pinpoint them, watch their demo reel and then audition? M

    2 months ago
  • Hi Scarlett - your original question was whether it's best to contact actors via their agent or via linked-in. The thing is, you have to contact them by any means you can. In approximate order of effectiveness:
    1. an actor you know
    2. an actor who knows or who's worked with someone you know. Ask all your acquaintances in the business: do you know [name], or someone like him/her, for this role I'm casting. You might not get your first target, but the next one might be as good or better, so don't let the search suck energy from the project.
    3. Agent AND linked-in.
    4. Mandy, Spotlight, and even SP
    5. Local amateur/semi-pro networks, especially for older actors who've pretty much given up on professional work but still have talent.

    Do you know anyone with a bit of experience and a lot of frint who might act as a casting agent? You're probably only a coule of degrees of separation from scores of great actors who'd fit.

    With work being scarce, it is not uncommon for famous faces to work for epenses if they like and trust the project.

    best wishes and good luck


    1 month ago
  • Hi Scarlet - I'm an actor and agent, i.e. a proud member of an actor's co-op. Wearing my agent hat: 99.9% of casting breakdowns come to us from Spotlight. So that's how to reach agents. We have a financial threshold below which we will not sub our clients. Wearing my actor's hat: Don't dismiss Mandy so quicky. Granted, there are many wannabees on the site and NOWHERE NEAR enough regulating of rubbish/sleezy breakdowns, but it's still seen as a valid option for actors and CDs (who often post on both Spotlight AND Mandy). Hope this is helpful; Miranda x

    1 month ago
  • Quick update, as this keeps getting responses: casting was finalised over a week ago, and happily going to the agent worked out. In fact, three of four parts ended up being cast via agents, though I did do an audition process for two of those. This wasn't my first time casting, I know how to find actors in general and I've previously used sites like Mandy, it was this specific kind of situation I was looking for advice on, but the answer in this case is definitely to just send them a letter and the script. Wouldn't recommend doing it for your first few films of course, having some credibility helps, and you don't want to waste a great actor on a production where you'll still be figuring out the basics!

    1 month ago