At right: Soapdom's Linda Marshall-Smith front row center and Y&R's Jerry Douglas (John) with acting class. Photo: Aaron Montgomery, JPI
I am interested in auditioning for a soap opera. I would like to know how do I go about auditioning for a part, or even when auditions will be held?
Staten Island, NY
The best thing to do would be to snail mail each soap and send them your head shot and acting resume. You should do this regularly -- at least once a month. With the flood of headshots/resumes casting directors get on any given day, they tend to discard ones that they are no longer working with. So, once they cast a particular role, they may toss the current stack of head shots, only to accrue new stacks immediately. It's always a good idea to send your info out on a regular basis, because eventually your photo and resume may have the look and experience they need for a part, and it will cross their desk at the right time.
To get snail mail addresses click here:
Address your correspondence to "Casting Director."
Also, subscribe to talent breakdowns out of NYC. These are weekly, sometimes daily, listings of what roles are being cast in and around NY, including soaps. I am not sure of the specific company that does this in NY, but a good start would be to buy a copy of Back Stage East and check the advertisements. I would be willing to wager that the breakdown services advertise in that publication. There is usually a small fee to subscribe to this service, so expect to pay for the breakdowns.
If you have an agent or manager, great. See if they can set you up with a "Meet and Greet" audition. This is an audition where there is no specific part at the time, but you get to come in and meet the Casting Director. Casting directors do "Meets and Greets" occasionally just to see what new talent is out there. Cameron Mathison (Ryan) of All My Children did just that. Fresh from Canada, his agent arranged a meet and greet with the Casting Director of All My Children. She was so impressed with him, they wrote the role of Ryan for him and cast him to play the part.
Another technique is to purchase an ad in a trade publication, such as Daily Variety, Back Stage, or The Hollywood Reporter. The ad should include your head shot, some of the roles you've played, and your desire to work on a soap. Jacob Young (JR, All My Children) did just that when he first moved to Los Angeles. He was fresh out of high school and working as a waiter in San Diego. He ran an ad in Daily Variety, was spotted by the casting director of The Bold and the Beautiful, and landed his first role as Rick on B&B for which he ultimately won a Daytime Emmy. He left B&B and headed to General Hospital where he took over the role of Lucky from Emmy winner Jonathan Jackson. Young had big shoes to fill in that role, but he managed to do it with aplomb, garnering a second Daytime Emmy. And now, he's playing the manipulative and rather cutthroat JR Chandler on AMC. Could another Emmy be in his future? Time will tell. He once told me that buying that ad in Daily variety was the best $75.00 investment he ever made!
And most importantly, constantly work on and hone your craft. Which means you have to act! Audition for school plays and local theater. Try to break into commercials. (Many commericals are cast and produced out of NY.) Sign up with an acting coach and take acting classes. Again, refer to trade publications such as Back Stage to find an acting coach. Remember that acting coaches have many contacts and may help you land that first soap role. I can't stress enough that you must be able to deliver when you walk into that audition. It doesn't matter if you're the most beautiful or handsome person in the world. You need to have your acting skill as well. So, always improve yourself. Always be in a class. Always audition for anything and everything you can, because with each new experience you'll get better and better.
Last but not least, read these articles that I wrote originally for Soap Opera Weekly. One is called How to Make it in Soaps and follows my progress taking an acting class with Y&R's Jerry Douglas (John Abbott). The other, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Audition, highlights how some of soaps biggest stars got their first big break. Both may share some additional insight.
Good luck and keep us posted on your progress!
CEO & QueenRuler
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