Day 15. A Tutorial

March 8, 2011

Did you know that you can subscribe to this blog by e-mail? It’s true, look on the sidebar.———————–>

I have not heard back from Community. That is fine, it went well, but I didn’t have big expectations either. I think they are filming this week. It was good to get in front of those casting directors so they can remember me.

Today was fairly mundane, and nothing much to expand upon. I went on an unsuccessful bike ride, finished up my professional website, and had dinner with my friend Jen and her family. Jen lives in Springfield, and was out to visit her parents that live here. It was nice to see a familiar face, and to dominate at ping pong.

I have just been plugging away writing this little blog, but I haven’t acknowledged that there are people out there reading it. In fact, there are more of you than I would have expected. Thanks for sharing this experience with Michelle and I. It really does mean a lot. The support we have gotten on this is greater than I would have anticipated. While I am out here trying this mostly on my own it means a great deal to know there is support out there.

Before I left I had a lot of people ask me what my plan is out here. As I said the other day, it is hard to have a set plan, it works differently for everybody, so my ‘plan’ is entirely open ended. I’ve also had a lot of people ask (including myself), “So, what do you do when you get out there? How does it work?”

Here is my understanding of how it works. Sorry if this part is dry, it’s the tutorial, so you can know what we’re dealing with. Keep in mind, this is coming from a guy who has two more weeks experience than you, but has also done a ton of research.

Basically, you want to get an agent, who will then get you auditions. Then, you do well in the auditions and you get hired as an actor for a job.

Simple, right?

The first things you need as an actor are a headshot, an acting resume, and a reel. A headshot is the picture of your head, from the front, meaning your face. An acting resume is a listing of all the pertinent things you’ve been in. A reel is like a video resume that showcases your best acting on video. I have these.

The first trick is getting an agent. This is not easy because the agents don’t know you and haven’t seen you do anything. There are different ways to go about getting an agent when starting from scratch. You can send out your headshot and resume to a bunch of agencies, hoping that you stick out in their pile of potential clients. You can also get a referral from an actor who is already one of their clients so your headshot and reel look more appealing. Or, an agent can see you performing in a play, in an improv show, or doing stand up. Or maybe, you know the right people who can get you connected.

Often, actors will have a commercial agent and a theatrical agent. A commercial agent will just look for commercial work, and a theatrical agent will look for film and television work. Then, writers will have a different agent for writing as well.

Some projects will have an open casting call, meaning anyone can show up. But, most of the good ones require an agent to hook you up with it. As you can tell, it is just like most jobs, you can’t get a job without experience, and you can’t get experience without a job. Agents are licensed to do their job and get a 10% cut of what they book for you. I have had a friend tell me that you can get by without an agent if you get on stage and know the right people. I do not have one of these.

Now, there is the whole deal with the Screen Actor’s Guild. They are a union, and like a union, they have rules meant to protect the interests of their members. So, the best auditions out there are for the members of SAG. You can only become a member of SAG by doing enough work recognized by SAG. How do you get SAG work if you aren’t a member of SAG? Exactly. I do not have a this.

In the meantime, you try to get noticed by an agent and you try to get into SAG. This is difficult and anything but straightforward, and is why when people asked me about my plan I said, “Ummmmm…” For now, I am still setting up meetings to get to know people, because it really is a lot about knowing people. I have gotten a profile on a site called,, which alerts you to auditioning opportunities for non-union work, I will start taking improv classes, and I will continue to do stand up. I have also heard that working on your own projects, with your own ideas helps a lot, so I’m going to look into that as well.

That is the extent of my understanding of things.

That is my plan-ish.



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5 responses to “Day 15. A Tutorial

  1. matt s

    Dear the real Jeff Houghton,

    When I return, lets start going to Christian Assembly together. There are lots of actors with agents there, and you can get to know them and make them your bitches. Or maybe we can just watch tv one evening and I can point out which commercials have CA people in them.

    Also, I feel like this blog plays a key, if also unrecognized/unspoken role in your plan. What do you think?

  2. “I love it when a plan comes together… ” Famous old actor dude from the A Team (famous old sitcom).

  3. Kim Everest

    Hey Jeff,
    I’m reading your blog daily and keeping track of your progress! I admire your drive so much! I’m saying little prayers for you every day!
    I knew from the first day in Leadership Springfield you were a very special guy and I’m honored to be a Jeff Houghton fan!. Keep blogging…it’s so very fascinating!!


  4. I know it looks like a huge mountain to climb but you have the comedic gear to tackle it.

  5. I’m sure it is harder in LA, the hub of all acting, but if it helps at all, in AZ we have a lot of open casting calls that are recognized by SAG and get you towards becoming a member… Good Faith Casting run by Faith Hibbs Clark is the big company here…

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