5 Tips to Help You Prepare for Pilot Season:
Oh yes, it’s come again. Pilot season happens yearly, and it’s always a big deal. Basically, it’s chaos. Hundreds of projects that are all hoping to get picked up, trying to find actors who are not signed with other projects… it’s just chaos.
Do you know how pilot season works? Here’s a quick breakdown. This is the season where new TV shows are all vying for a spot in the next season. A pilot is a pitch. Pilots are used to send a sample of what the show will be like to the network. If the network likes it, they’ll order more episodes.
The number of pilots that actually get picked up is very small, maybe one out of every hundred. That’s why there are so many pilots all being filmed at once. They’re all competing for those coveted few open spots in the new television season. If you’re lucky enough to be part of a pilot that does get picked up, and you’re lucky because they decide to use all the same cast, that means you’ve managed to put yourself in a series!
So as an actor, what do you need to do to prepare for the coming pilot season? Here are a few things to consider now, before pilot season is upon us.
1.) Update your materials: Right now, before it happens, update everything. Your resume is only one part of that. Make sure your stats are right, your current hair color, and that your headshots are up to date. If you need more headshots, get them now! If you’re lucky enough to be busy during pilot season, you don’t want to be waiting for new headshots part way through. Print out resumes. Update your websites. Make sure your IMDB profile is ready. All of it, no excuses.
2.) Have a meeting with your agent: Just prepare both of you for what’s going to happen. Make sure they know you’re up for it, and that you’re prepared. Your agent is going to be busy during pilot season, so don’t be offended if they don’t have the time to have a one on one with you while it’s all going on. Have the sit down beforehand. If there’s something they think you need, they’ll tell you, and you’ll have time to work on it.
3.) Prepare your part time job: Most actors have part time jobs while they’re not on set. It’s just the way of the game. Sit down with your boss and see what you can do. Maybe you can switch to mostly night shifts? Pilot season only last a few months, so it’s not permanent.
4.) Don’t go away!! For an actor, this is the WORST time to go on vacation. If you can possibly help it, put it off until later in the spring. If you simply have no choice, make sure your agent knows exactly when you are and when you’re not available. The exact days, down to the hour if you can. Wherever you go, get on Google and see if there’s somewhere close you can quickly put yourself on tape in case something comes up. Take a few headshots and resumes as well. You never know if some crazy pilot will come up, and you want your agent to know where you are.
5.) Self-Tape Studio: Pilots are filmed everywhere. This is one of the busiest times of year for self tape studios. You could be putting yourself on tape for projects all over the place, and paying a studio tech to put you on tape every time can get extremely costly. Of course, our studio at Casting Workbook is always open and ready for you to book an appointment, but as an actor, it’s probably a good idea to find a way to do it yourself. With camera technology nowadays, it’s not hard to get a good quality. Run it through a couple of times, so your system is perfect. Compressing and editing are always the hardest parts, so spend some time figuring it out. Check out Trevar’s Self Tape Tips for more help on how to make your auditions as professional as possible.