Pilot Season Swagger

Pilot Season Swagger

So even though FOX says it isn’t, there certainly is a lot going on! It many circles it’s still officially pilot season this time of year. Do your research, go in prepared, and have GREAT photos! Your reps can only pitch what you give them so make sure they have the variety and the quality they need!!! Capture personality, not poses.

Three Reasons to be THANKFUL

November is a time to reflect and give thanks for all the opportunities and experiences we’ve gained over the last year. It’s also a time to start preparing for the upcoming pilot season!! Here’s a couple of quick and fun things to be thankful for AND help get you in gear for what is to come!!


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JT Pro Imaging is offering a screaming deal to get photos done to send out for Holiday Greetings to all those casting directors!! A really nice way to reconnect and say thanks for the great year along with making sure they see your face before all those pilot season breakdowns come in!! Why the great deal? Our way of saying thanks to you!!


SO many lovely festive things going on! While you are giving thanks and prepping for the next few months, don’t forget to smell the turkey! Enjoy what life has to offer you! get out there and LIVE!!

Making your Resolution to be SUCCESSFUL!!

from American Greetings.com

The New Year has begun and resolutions have been made! January is always such a nice time of year to start things off on a clean slate. It’s excellent timing for the actor with the onset of PILOT SEASON.  This year in 2012, we are going to post one challenge assignment each month…all these assignments will help you shape up your business and put it on the path of where you want to be.

How will you run your business this year? Have you even thought about it? Be excited because this is the perfect time of year to get things organized the way you want and to set your self up for success! This year, we challenge you to take your business to the next level. Take the JT Pro Challenge! Make goals, make a plan, and see it through! Let’s start the year off with a real plan to get closer to where you want you and your business to be! Where do you want to be this time next year? In Five years? in Ten?

January’s Challenge assignment: Draw up your goals!!

Decide what you want in life. I mean what you really REALLY want in life. Translate it onto paper and get a real picture of what you want your life to look like. Include all facets including business and personal, educational, and emotional. Keep it simple and keep it clear. For example: By December of 2012, I will _______________. Write them down and keep them in a spot where you can see them.

The crucial part to goal setting that people to often forget, is to then take your large goals and turn them into manageable bite size mini goals. If you think of your ultimate goal as the end destination, what stops must you make along the way to get there? If your goal is to book one Guest Star role by December, 2012, great! Good destination! Good goal! Now, what can you control along the way to make that happen?

You can make sure your reps have up to date info and photos.

You can make sure you get “X” number of auditions.

You can take specific training and/or Casting Director workshops.

You can tailor your marketing to the appropriate people.

Divvy up the mini goals into monthly tasks, weekly tasks, and daily tasks. Making things managable while keeping your eye on the prize is the secret!!

Your turn to talk: What are your goals? How will you achieve them? Tell us and let us cheer you on to success!!!

Prep for Pilot Season- Being Prepared

Simply put being prepared eliminates extra stress. During pilot season things happen fast and furious. Instead of an article full of fluff, let me just lay it out in checklist form for you…

1.) Have great HEADSHOTS. Make sure they look like you RIGHT NOW. You may think that shot from two years ago looks great but trust me, you look different.

2.) Up to date RESUME. Make sure your paper one is up to date with any projects, new skills you’ve aquired, training, etc. Check your ONLINE RESUMES too! Make sure your sizes and hair length and color are all accurate (as these things seem to change).

3.) Up to date DEMO REEL. Make sure it accurately reflects your talents and is filled with the most up to date material. If you don’t have enough material for a demo reel, consider a slate. Lastly, keep it short.

4.) Bone up on your skills. If you haven’t been in a COLD READING class lately, take a brush up. Be ready to jump when those calls and emails come in!!

5.) Check in with your REPRESENTATION. If you don’t have representation, now is the time to get it. NOT once pilot season starts. Once pilot season starts, Agents and Managers are working double time over time and then some and the last thing they will be doing is taking appointments for new talent. Get it squared away now. And make sure they have everything they need. (See points 1-3)

6.) Reliable TRANSPORTATION. Yes, you need a car to get around and you also need a Garmin, Tom Tom or some kind of GPS system to get around.

7.) Printer or Print Service for sides and breakdowns. This goes without saying.

8.) Have your CALL BAG ready!!

9.) Work permits, ID, Passports. Make sure they are all up to date. Period.

10.) Phone. Make sure you have access to a mobile phone and internet for those last minute appointments. And make sure your representation has all the info AND a back up number.

OK, that is the ‘hard and fast version’ but it should give you a nice checklist of what you need to do BEFORE January. Best of luck and may all those dreams come true!!

Prep for Pilot Season-Call Bag

Yes, it is the holidays! Time for all things festive!!! But amongst the parties and the dinners and all things Holiday, the serious actor knows it’s time to get ready for the busiest time of year right after the holidays….PILOT SEASON!!!! This month of December we are going to give you lots of tips and advice in getting ready for pilot season. If you think of something we’ve missed or something needs to be added, by all means, jump in and comment. We like and encourage comments and discussion!!!! That said, here’s the topic of the week. The CALL BAG

Your call bag should be ready to go at the drop of the hat. Why? Because things happen fast in pilot season and it isn’t out of the question to expect several auditions in one day, sometimes with a hour’s notice. The prepared actor will gladly accept that phonecall and spend the next few minutes plugging in directions and hitting the road instead of scrambling around trying to get everything together last minute. The result will be a calm relaxed and PREPARED actor who will stand out amongst the frazzled crowd around them.

The CALL BAG should be the size of a backpack or messenger bag. It should be comfortable to carry and you should keep it near the door or even in your car ready to go at all times.

What should be in it:

Headshots, resumes, and stapler (10 copies)

pens and pencils

Up to date Work permit (if minors)

Casting Frontier Bar codes

water bottle

high energy snacks like granola bars, nuts, etc.

breath mints (just in case)

lozenges or cough drops (in the event you need to sing or you are feeling hoarse)

reading material (in the event you have a long wait)

brush, comb, hair product and elastics

handi wipes

astringent for a quick face wash and cover up for blemishes

a fresh and clean shirt to change into for those last minute auditions

Your audition log book, actor notebook, what ever management system you use

If you are a singer: add music book with music prepped and ready, demo cds, portable music player WITH BATTERIES CHARGED, warm up tape and accompaniments

If you are a dancer: your dance shoes (all kinds if you have them) along with all music and play (see above)

An actor with a prepared call bag will be able to move faster when the phone calls come in. Then you can spend your time finding the place, printing the sides, and studying them instead of scrambling around to collect everything you need to be there. It may not seem like much but when you are slammed for time, you’ll be happy you took the time to do this now.

Holiday Season = Prep Season

It’s already happening…people are gearing up for PILOT SEASON!! People are buying their plane tickets, saving their cash, looking up apartments and short term rentals….for those of you in Hollywood, your pool of competition is about to go up, exponentially! Are you ready? Is your business ready? Let us show you some business and clerical things you should think about in order to streamline your pilot season.

Bring your I-9  information to be photocopied for your agent and manager files; this is a copy of your passport, or birth certificate, social security card and school or photo ID.  If you do not have your i-9 materials, you will NOT be able to accept employment. Save the hassle…put this all on the TO DO list now!!!

Make a photocopy packet of the documents you are asked to present at your jobs.  Every job requires you take a copy  of  your I-9 information (passport, or birth certificate, social security card and school or photo ID. You might not need to present it all, but better to be prepared!

Provide representation with 30 pictures with resumes stapled 3 weeks before your arrival.  Notify representation of your anticipated arrival and departure dates and keep them posted of any changes.

If you have demo reels, supply representaion with two copies. Post your demo on Breakdown Services/Actors Access; this nablesyour reps to submit your demo with each electronic submission. FYI, they charge a nominal fee.

Update your resume on all the outlets: LA Casting and Breakdown Express, Casting Frontier and IMDB. Make sure your reps have your LA Casting account as ACTIVE as it will go INACTIVE when you are out of town.

MINORS: You will need to have a  current work permit from the state of California. They take a month to send it out so make sure you do it in DECEMBER!!

You will also need a Coogan account- if you do not have one, you will need to open one when you arrive.

Make sure representation has a list of your current  commercial conflicts.

When to call:  Try to avoid calling your agents. They are uber busy. Instead, call your Manager. Please be advised that we suggest you not call  before 11:00 a.m., asgenerally reps are in  breakdown meetings and need to make a messenger  deadline.

As CEO of your own business, get excited! This is a truly exciting time of year. Stay on top of all your business requirements and when pilot season hits, you’ll be ready to rolL!!! Now get your ticket, your accomodation, your resumes and headshots and go get em!!!

Thinking about Headshots and Pilot Season

Actors have a love hate  relationship with the concept of headshots. It’s a funny thing how many people approach getting headshots done like going to the dentist or doctor. This phenomenon is mostly something we see with adult actors. Kids generally can’t wait to step in front of a camera. Love it or hate it, as an actor, it’s part of the job, and a pretty major part at that!! If you are one who dreads the annual appointment, (or every six months if you are under 18) then today’s blog is for YOU!

Pilot Season! I feel the panic that just arose in you with just me saying those tow exciting scary horrible and wonderful words. Well, it’s on the horizon and the prepared actor will start thinking about things now. Yes, NOW. Start by looking at what the industry is up to these days. What shows are hot and what types of things will be likely to see as new projects. Then start thinking how you are going to fit into that picture. If long hair is really in (and it is on both guys and girls) start growing it now so that come January, it’s at a length and style that you like. What image do you want to portray in your headshots? Work on it now so come pilot season, it’s natural to you.

Photo Shop….ha…see what I did there? Photoshop…Photo Shop. HA! OK, seriously, window shop through headshots. See what makes a particular headshot effective or not. Look at magazines and advertisements and see how certain ‘looks’ really speak to you. If you want to be REALLY bold…cut them out and study them. Even bring them to your photoshoot and explain to your photographer the looks and feels you are going for. Truly, this is a collaberative effort between actor and photographer. The more communication you have, the better.  Doing your research, you come prepared and will give a lot more to your photoshoot. The stress will be off because you took control and know what you are getting from the appointment. Talking with the photographer and showing him what you are going for will help him out too. In the end you will end up with better photos for the process….and heck, you might even ENJOY it!! 🙂