Common Sense Academy

Common sense can be described as having sound judgment derived from experience rather than study.

So some of you don't have the experience

but I do............25+ yrs. to be exact.

Stop making these common sense mistakes!

Knowing the lingo is essential to doing this correct. Attached is a glossary of Talent Terms every actor should know.


  • What are sides? Not potatoes!

  • What is a wrap? Not food either!

  • What is a booking? Not a book deal!

  • What is a cattle call? No cows are called!

  • Have a shoot? No guns are used!!!


A Dr. or Lawyer for example has to learn the

vocabulary and this is no different.

Always confirm or decline your audition ASAP!

The casting directors and your agent are all waiting on You!



You Must have paper work filled out

on set at every job... even non-paying jobs.


Under Terms and Conditions

you add copy/footage in place of payment.




Sample Voucher



Represented talent should contact their agent for all forms and you must send the agency a copy for billing purposes.

Always include your rate and usage!




Adults can not say they have a current headshot if it is 3 yrs old!


Kids can not say they have a current headshot if it is over 18 months old!


Talent must have current shots if you want your agent to submit you and you be their first choice to push to a client hiring off of headshots.






Self-taping is a must and you must invest into this!

Start with your background.

Remember you should be standing when you do most self-tapes.

A pop up background

A sheet background.

Use background stand


Your camera must be turned horizontal for video auditions.



Next is lighting. Bad lighting, sound and background can ruin

your self-tape.

If you go on Amazon you can find pop up backgrounds

and a dual tripod ring light that is 6 feet for around $80.00 total.

Self-taping tips on my YouTube page....

Natural lighting is great.

Dual tripod ring light

(6 feet or taller is best)

Hire a professional.



Print out these tips and watch the videos on self-taping to make sure you do this correct. We see experienced actors making these common mistakes. Even with the directions we were giving out we still saw these mistakes in the

"What not to do" video on self-taping.



Simply drag this onto desktop to print.

Hot tip: Wear the same thing to the callback as you did for the audition.

Take a photo of yourself in your audition outfit with that script.

Callbacks can be weeks apart.



Actors should always have their headshots and resume attached and ready for all auditions, callbacks and jobs. Yes jobs since you never know when someone might want one. You want to list as many skills as possible that you can only do the next day. The last thing you should list is valid passport if you have one.

"Your look"

On my Audition/Job preparation page I have links to music videos. These are a great example of how you can change up your look for photo shoots. Come on folks musicians do this all the time! You should be doing the same thing as an actor and getting shots to market that. Playing around during off peak season is fun and a good idea. If you have a look that is booking it might not be a good idea to change things up to much but if you went a year with little auditions and little bookings it might be time for a change. Contact your agent to go over some options and send them some photo's of a new look you'd like to consider. Never change your look with out talking to your agents, they know what works, what is in more demand and you could be going way off base and be less marketable with the wrong change. Misti has seen this happen. Plus they are always submitting you so a job could literally be a day or week away with the current look they have on you. Misti has seen her own talent miss out on straight bookings off headshots for jobs $1000 per day or more because of a hair changes and them not discussing it with the agency. No one is happy in this scenario not the client hiring, the agents or the talent. And never change your look after an audition and before it shoots!

So you are not getting enough auditions/jobs why?

If you are with a good agency, one with a good reputation and works with all the local casting directors then seeking out a new agent is not the solution!


  • How many auditions have you turned down? How much were you booking out and not avail for auditions and jobs the past year or over the years?

Every audition and job is prime real estate they say. Each audition has you in front of the casting director so they get to remember you each time helping to bring you in more. Each audition and job booked helps you get more auditions and jobs with some repeat directors or ad agencies. You also need to be avail during the day during the week for this to work. Kids will need to miss school.


  • The amount of work in the market you are in allows you to get a certain amount of work.

First of all what state do you live in??? In AZ we have 5 SAG/AFTRA agencies and 4 casting directors. That is it compared to the hundreds in Cali! I'm tired of people who don't work at any agency or in casting telling actors you should be working more and then questioning an agency. AZ has never had 5 shows shooting here year after year with all the talent that would be needed on a set that big and for that long. We have never had 5 big budget films shooting here all at once that would have hundreds of talent being hired. We get commercials and print with more like 5-10 people on set per job! Others imply backstage or others sites have so much work and you should be an independent actor or change agencies because you are getting more auditions on your own on these sites. You don't sign with an agency for that work, you sign with them to get the work you'd never see. Agents get big jobs that pay great. Leaving a great agency could be the biggest mistake in your career, talent have told Misti that when they've come back saying sorry. FYI most actors who don't have an agent couldn't keep an agent or get one. Agents release folks all year long for being unprofessional and they turn away thousands because they are not at the level they need them to be when signing. All agents want their talent working and a good agency has been in business for years and gets quality work. So please don't take bad advice from those in your life who struggled. Call your agent. Talk to them. More then likely you are not doing everything you should to get more auditions and jobs. Misti really wants all talent in AZ to step up and be professional so our town can flourish. So please stop taking bad advice from bitter jealous actors. Or worse they are with a very bad agency and are getting crappy work and then they tell you to come to their agency. The rates matter, the usage and the quality of work you have out to view all matters over time.


  • What is your competition like? What is in more demand in that market?

This is an important questions talent should ask? In some cases you can look at agency sites to see what your competition in town looks like. When you are at networking events or acting classes you also can see who is out that you compete against. But at the audition is more likely where you will run into the same folks time and time again. You will see them in the ads on TV and remember as much as they are your competition you are their competition. Every actor is individually amazing and you are not all avail for all auditions or fit each break down. As for the market in AZ for example we have a large amount of Spanish speaking roles and jobs but we actually don't have a lot of Spanish speaking talent surprisingly. So those that do have less competition. Talk to your agent about how you fit into the market and agency.


  • Any work out of state will be a long shot! Any national site you or your agent is submitting on you will have less chances of booking up against 200, 500, 1000+ people. Simple math folks! Those National sites have over one million performers per site. (google it)

One of the many reasons you want to get signed to a local agency is to get the local work. Most auditions come into the agents direct or to a casting director and then they work direct with an agency. Depending on the market and agency clients/casting directors will work direct with agencies and the jobs will not go out to the masses. In AZ that is the case casting directors work direct with agencies and most jobs have professional actors on set who are signed to agencies. Clients like to know they are also working with talent at a certain level. These auditions will have less folks to compete against once auditioned so you are less then 100 per role and some time maybe one of 20-30 per role they considered. Way better odds. The quality of the jobs and pay also come from good casting directors and working with a reputable agency.


  • Am I in demand as a talent? Why not? If not when will I be?

Your age range, your look, your resume, basically Your entire packaging gets you more auditions or jobs at different points in your acting career. You are always changing and certain ages work more. Certain ethnic backgrounds work more. We are in the middle of a pandemic now so that contributes to the amount of work. Talk to your agent more about this or Misti so you know what realistically you should be seeing and what are your options to increase you auditions and jobs. Some agencies are not legit and talent needed to do more research so that is when changing an agency is important. Review how long they have been in business, online reviews and word of mouth can help. Google sear the name of the business with the word scam or rip off to see what also comes up.


  • Having good communication with your agency is extremely important.

Confirming for auditions fast, being avail for jobs, sending updates and booking out is your job as an actor! Casting directors see your name and you declining or taking forever. Building a relationship with your agency and the casting directors is part of your job. Being unreliable, out of date, unprofessional and lack of good communication slows down your natural progression.


  • Does the agency get the type of work you are wanting to get?

This is very important since some agency are more model based, actor based, commercial agents or theatrical agents. You can have more then one agency in some states and some states you can only have one. In AZ all the SAG/AFTRA agencies are exclusive so only one agency is typical within the state. A SAG/AFTRA agency will be found more in searches by clients hiring and will book more SAG/AFTRA work so in some states it is your first choice. Over the years lots of great agencies in Cali for example have decided not to be SAG/AFTRA but are still good to get signed with.


Marketing fees and websites


You can call around and talk to other agencies in others states with sites with all their talent on it and yes they will charge a fee to be on that site. SAG/AFTRA approved agencies charging a website/marketing fee around 2007. Really can you get anything good for free these days. You get jobs that pay $1000 a day or more booked right off the agency site with no audition at our agency. This is a small business you are starting and yes you do have an investment to make but with a good chance of making some damn good money per day. It takes time to get everyone on the site, market the site and update the site. Over two decades ago no fee why...no site. You should always see what you are paying for and a site that has been working for over 20 yrs has value. Headshots are needed and will last you a lifetime and likely be the best shots you ever get. Classes also are an expense but you are seeing what you get, what you are paying for. Those skills also last a lifetime. These agency sites help get you jobs. The fee for the sites should always be reasonable and inline with what industry sites are charging. Actors Access, IMDB, Casting Networks and others are all great sites and yes you have to pay to be on them. If you are lucky enough to get an agent they will do all the work and submit you weekly when you fit the roles off those sites. If not that is how your week is spent reading castings and submitting when you fit and those are long shot auditions. In Arizona local castings are not posted for the masses. Good quality jobs work with agencies. The agent can establish profiles under their agency brand on a few of the sites I mentioned above and you can avoid these fees from other sites if you have an agent. Plus at our agency we have clients that work exclusive with us after 35 yrs in business so they will be considering you or your child when they search the agency site including new clients coming to AZ to shoot. The idea is that you are not paying an application fee or processing fee and get nothing, like applying to colleges, now that is crazy!!! You are paying for that persons time to get put on all the sites and the updates and to be marketed. FYI an agency has clients, casting directors, photographers and directors who are hiring the talent and making the selection so if you don't book a job it wasn't the agencies fault, agents don't get you jobs we get you opportunities You get the job, You are what they wanted or didn't want. That is the hardest part of the business the rejection and judgment part.

More facts and tips are added to this site each year.

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