How to Book a Leading Role

How to Book a Leading RoleIf you’re an actor, then you’ve probably had that dream.  You know the one.  You’re the lead in a crazy awesome movie, your performance is mind-blowing, and you’re already getting Oscar buzz!  You’re evening already working on your speech!

Everyone wants that elusive leading role.  But how do you get it?  It’s one of the hardest roles to get.  There are so few of them out there.  A show will have only one or two leading roles.  It makes it even harder that producers are always pushing for ‘known’ names.

Ever catch yourself thinking “I’m just as talented, if not more talented, than that famous actor is.  So why are they getting the roles?”  That frustration has crept up on just about every actor out there.  So what’s the deal?

Here is some insight on how and why actors are ultimately chosen for these roles to help you focus your attempts.

It’s all about marketing.  The producers of a movie or television show want it to be successful.  Making a good product is part of that, but making a sellable project is a whole other monster.  One of the strongest ways to ensure a show’s success is to have an actor that already has strong marketability.  This translates into having a strong fan base.  Basically if they pick an actor with lots of fans, they’ve guaranteed that an entire group of people are going to watch the show.  To a producer, this is a huge deal.  A highly marketable actor is going to sell the project in a big way.

Becoming one of those actors is tough, but possible.  If your dream is to fill leading roles, then you need to start sooner rather than later.  Start building your marketability.  Start your fan pages, and figure out how to appeal to your fans.  Social media goes a long way in helping you build your name.  Really get involved in projects you’re part of.  Go to the events, and get your picture taken.  Collect your media.  Talent is only one thing in the armory you’ll need to book a leading role.

Second to marketability is a level of safety.  Taking a chance on a new, unknown actor is a huge risk for the people putting millions of dollars into a project.  They are more likely to take a chance on you if you’ve proven in the past that you’re a capable, professional and well-liked actor.  You need to have casting directors and directors saying “I worked with them.  They’re so professional and amazing!”, while names are being thrown around during casting sessions.  The only way to ensure you receive positive responses from the right people is to always, always be professional and hard working.  If there was a hairy situation on set, and you powered through it and proved your flexibility, resilience and devotion to a project while consistently remaining positive, they’re going to want to work with you again.

A lot of actors don’t understand the business of acting.  Talent does not always ensure success.  You need to spend some time and understand the business side of the industry as much as possible.  There is a formula for choosing actors for a role.  Talent + Marketability + Low risk of disaster = Solid choice.

Want to hear more about marketability and leading roles?  Leave a comment below with your suggestions/thoughts and we’ll look into it for you.

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  1. Romuald Hivert

    This is by far my favourite post so far. Much needed info. Thank you. I want to know more about this topic and how to better market myself, and build a fan base that I already have. I have 851 on my Facebook acting page. I wanted to get 1k by January 1st. Any coaching or help would be great.

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