Maxann's Site

Auditions, Casting, Actors, Models, Singers

Tips on the Biz

Make sure that you are professional in everything you do.

Have professional headshots made by a photographer that takes headshots for actors, if you want this as a career, and already have some experience behind you. If you just want to be an extra, you DO NOT have to have professional headshots made.  Just a simple snapshot of how you look TODAY would be fine! Try to make sure you are the only one in the photograph, and have a background that isn't too "busy" in the background.  A photo of yourself can be from the shoulders up.  However, if you have some experience behind you, (theater, drama, little theater, school plays, church plays), and you are looking for speaking roles, you may want to get professional headshots made. 

Always be on time. When your call time is 7:00AM...this is what it means: It means that you should be there and have parked, filled out all your paperwork, gone to hair and makeup and wardrobe, if needed, and be ready to go at 7:00AM!  So, don't arrive at 7:00am...try to be at least 15-30 minutes early.  It shows us you love your job!  :-)

Be courteous and helpful.

Never ask a Casting Director, "how long is this audition going to take"?  It COULD be your last!

Your headshots should look like you when you come into an audition. If you cut your hair, color your hair, grow a mustache or beard, then new headshots are needed!  Children need headshots every year as they change so much.  Adults could go 2 or possibly 3 years before the next time you get headshots. 

Always have at least 5 copies of your headshot and resume with you when you come to an audition.  You never know what is needed.  Never say, "My agent said they sent my headshot", when you come to an audition.  Sure, maybe they did send it electronically, but sometimes Casting Directors want a hard copy!  Always come prepared! 

If you do not have an agent and you submit yourself, then make sure you are AVAILABLE to go to the audition!  Don't accept the job and not show up! 

If you accept the job, then make sure you are available the whole day!  This could mean 12 or MORE hours!  I have been on set for 21 hours before.  So, clear your WHOLE day AND night!  It makes it so easy for us to ask you to come again, when everything runs smoothly!  Don't ask to go to a Doctor's appointment, get your hair done or to leave because you have a date!  If you leave, you have ruined a day of filming and cost the production, especially if you are in a scene close to one of the stars!

Treat this career as your business! Keep perfecting your craft!  Try to take classes, workshops, and go to the film meetings to meet other actors and filmmakers.  It is all about the networking!  You get to find out who is who and who is doing what.  You never know if your next role might come from meeting someone in the business that can help you along with your career! Try getting some experience at the local theater, or your church or school plays.

An agent will charge 10% to 20% on the jobs that they book for you.  Make sure you pay them.  You would NOT have gotten the job if they had not booked it for you.  I see so many talent that do not want to pay their agent!  Well...this is a big business, but remember, we all know each other, and if you do an agent wrong, a talent wrong, or a Casting Director wrong, you better believe that we all will know about it!

So, you auditioned and you got the role.  Send the Casting Director a Thank you note.  Keep yourself in front of the Casting Director even when you do other roles that they did not cast for.  Send in a picture postcard of yourself and a little note.  I LOVE getting those!  It reminds me of the actor and it is just a nice little touch to be thanked and remembered!  


When you are working as an extra, and you are called to work a certain day, PLEASE be available the whole day and/or night.  You can't leave for a date, to get a haircut, etc.  You must commit to the whole day or night.  This could sometimes be 12 hours or LONGER!  So, just be available for the whole 24 hour period.

Extras are called to work at all hours.  It could be a 6am call, or a 1AM call.  Just be ready to go!  This is a JOB, so treat it as a real job.  You should be on time, you should never smoke on set, you should always be prepared, and you should never come to work/set having had alcohol to drink.  That will permanently get you kicked off the set.

When you are asked to come at your call time, and it is 6:00am....this means that you should have parked, then go to "extras holding", fill out your paperwork, and go to wardrobe and hair/makeup and be ready by 6:00am.  So, always try to be there a little early, so you will be ready when they call for the first shot.

You have to have patience as well.  If you are called to come to work and you sit all day and they haven't used you; don't complain because you or your son/daughter has not been used.  You are being paid to sit there and wait until the right time to use you! Sometimes you donate your time, to get experience.  That is awesome, and you can build your resume!  But, the same applies to you if you are getting paid or if you are donating your time.  We appreciate you when you are easy to work with.  Those are the ones that we call for the next time!  :)

You should bring your ID with you to fill out paperwork.  Kids in NC need a workers permit, if 17 and under.  Your paperwork can include a copy of your birth certificate, a passport, social security card, drivers license, and some other options are available on most of the LABOR BOARD's websites.

Set protocol states that you should not bring a camera to set.  When cameras are flashing, the electric department may think a light bulb has popped, so, the best thing is to keep it under wraps!

Lunch:  I tell people to always bring snacks with you, especially if you have a health problem to requires certain times to eat.  You should let a PA know if you have any special requirements.  Lunch is always 6 hours AFTER crew call.  This may not be YOUR call time.  Sometimes extras are called to come in earlier that the crew.  So even though you may have been there an hour before the crew call, lunch is served 6 hours after crew call.  If you are in line, and a crew member comes up or a cast member, must let them in line in front of you!  They have to get back ASAP, but the extras have a little time to sit and wait.

Sometimes the extras and the crew have different eating locations.  Please take note of this.  There should also be a snack table for cast/crew and then one for the extras.

We actually appreciate every one of you!  We want you to have FUN! If you have questions, please ask!

I have a Facebook and I post some auditions/castings on there as well.  If you are sending a friend request, make sure you send me a message.  I do not accept people if you do not tell me why you are requesting the friendship!

"Break a leg" everyone!  Keep me posted on how you do!



1.  The first thing that is needed for this business, is dedication. 
2.  The second thing, is PATIENCE!!!  If you are not a patient person, then this biz is not for you!
3.  You have to spend money to make, know that you are going to need photos!  HEADSHOTS are the key in the business.  Not unless you are trying to push your child!  Then just recent photos with the child ONLY in the photo.  Recent meaning, this past week.  Do not have anyone else in the photo, and try to have a close up type photo, from the shoulders up.  It can be a snapshot, or a polaroid! Once you get an agent, the agent will give you the advice on getting photos, whether headshots and/or portfolio shots.
4.  Headshots should be made by a headshot photographer.  Someone that KNOWS the business and knows how to take the photos.
5.  Look to spend anywhere from $300-500 for your photo shoot and mass production of your photos.  Sometimes more, sometimes less.  This is just an estimate! Agents are looking more towards color photos now...ask to find out!
6.  If you THINK you want to be in this business, then try to find an agent. Talk to others and see who their agent is.  Call around to find an agent.  Sometimes an agent may be listed in your local phone book under TALENT AGENT.  Also, you can find publications that list so many professionals in the industry by doing a search on most search engines, such as GOOGLE!  You could go to or and check out their "Production directory" or "Production manual".  Or go to any state film office site to get info!
They list pros in the business in their production manuals.
7.  Call the local film office, which is usually in the state capitol, and ask about agents. They are usually in your state capitol, however, some film offices are located in cities that have a lot of filmmaking going on.  Charlotte, NC, Wilmington, NC, Asheville, NC, Raleigh, NC, Atlanta, GA  Chicago, IL and NY and LA, just to name a few.
8.  Never pay any "upfront fees". 
9.  Sometimes there are agents that charge a small fee, and that is acceptable.  Some charge to have you listed on their wesbite, etc. However, you should NEVER have to take their classes to be accepted in the agency.
10.  Now to classes.......Classes are good!  Ask around to find out WHO is the best acting coach, or who is giving a workshop so that you can learn something!  If you learned just one thing you did not know in a class, then it is worth the money!
11.  Always perfect your craft of acting!  Join actors clubs, network, network, network!!! Join the local theater.  The more experience you have, the better it is for you.
12.  Try to find jobs on your own if possible.  There are lots of links on the internet!!
13.  I would suggest if you "think" you want to do this as a career, then first start off as being an extra, just to see if this is something you really want to do.  Then look for an agent.
14.  One more thing, if you are going to be on set, either by being an extra or an actor, DO NOT bring valuables to the set.  They could get lost or stolen, and the production would not be responsible.
15.  Last, but not least....if you go on an audition, do the best you can do, and leave there knowing you did the best you can do.  Don't look for a "call back", so if you do get one you will be surprised, and if you don't get one, you won't be disappointed as much.  Casting Directors actually want you to be good when you come to an audition.  We are rooting for you, so make it the best you can!
16.  Remember to NEVER GIVE UP YOUR DREAM!  Most of all, if you don't get the part, remember that you did the best you could do.  A lot of the time, it has to do with the LOOK and if you had the "LOOK" the director was wanting! 
 Good Luck!
(One last thing....if you had a leading role in a film or commercial......
the CORRECT spelling to put on your resume is "PRINCIPAL", not
"Principle").  Just thought you might like that info!!!  It is my Pet Peeve!


Dreams Are For Real!
Painting by Josephine Wall