December 12, 2012
Forum School Of Acting
Hello Mr. White,
I read your article online while trying to search for some basic statistics or general facts on acting and auditioning.
I was hoping you could help me, as I’m not having as much luck as I’d hoped with the internet. I’d like to know approximately how many “failed” (I don’t believe that is the right word for the subject…) auditions an actor/actress will have on average before they land a role (no matter the significance of the role).
I had a friend say that an average of 10% of auditions will pay off.
Any help is greatly appreciated!
Thanks for the email.
Well, I suppose it all depends on what your friend considered “paying off” to be. So if “significance” is truly of no import, if an actor goes out on eight auditions for no-pay student films, one no-pay indie and one commercial audition and they book a student film, yes, they’d be booking 1 out of 10
. And, I suppose that might not even be unusual, save for the fact, that I’ve known quite a few actors that can’t even book those with any regularity.
Now, if you’re asking about roles like booking under 5′s, day player gigs and guest stars, then the ratio goes WAY down. I can tell you, that for 85 to 90% of SAG eligible and SAG members (going by SAG’s own numbers), the booking rate is dismally low.
For the most part, the bulk of that pool isn’t even being offered the opportunity to try out for the very few roles out there to begin with.
Meaning that, for those actors, IF they have an active agent that actually gives a hoot about them, they will get maybe 3 to 5 auditions a week for two or three years and never book anything. Or, if they’re particularly whorish, they might book a print job for Target or something like that in there.
To put it in a different perspective, I’ve personally known actors that grew up in the industry, with deep resumes, 3rd and 4th billing on major films and dozens of television roles that will STILL go out and book maybe 1 in 50 or 1 in 75 gigs.
While there are fleeting exceptions, I’d say the normal path for most SAG and SAG eligible actors, trying to audition for legitimate film and television roles, will probably audition for 300 to 500 gigs before they book their first one.
And, unless they were astoundingly amazing on that first gig, it will probably take them that many to book the next one.
Does that help?