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fish + tips

Crisp(y), sound advice with a dollop of practicality to give you the edge

Agents
  • Adult Fishpond
  • Young Fishpond
  • Agents
  • Auditions
  • Casting Director
  • Showreel
  • Head Shots
  • Self-Taping
  • Training

Fish & Tips - Adults

Your CV, Applying for Jobs and More

Getting the most out of your Profile

So, you've just created your Fishpond profile, how exciting and welcome to the pond!

We have a few recommendations to help you to maximise your chances of being called to audition.

Firstly, always keep your profile up to date with your headshots, training, showreel and skills.

Your main picture should be a clear headshot. If you don't have professional pictures, you can take some at home with a friend. Use a plain background and select a clear head and shoulders shot as your main photo. It's worth adding a few pictures, as it can be difficult for casting directors to get a clear idea of what you look like from just one shot. Check out the HEADSHOTS slide for more info.

Your Showreel

If you don't yet have a showreel - we strongly recommend that you add an introductory video. You can film this with a friend using a smart phone or camera at home. Stand or sit against a plain background and talk about your experience, training and a bit about what you like to do outside of acting. If you've recently returned to the business, mention that here.

You can also record a monologue or a duologue with a reader. Choose a scene for camera rather than stage and try to work with another actor if your scene requires a reader. Take your time preparing, be off book and use the best quality take. Don't add it until you are really happy. This is your chance to impress!

You can upload your videos easily using vimeo. (There are step by step instructions on the site - it's very simple). Don't put a password on the video as casting directors without the password won't be able to view it. Check out the Self-taping slide for more tips.

Extra Work and Credits

If you are new to the business, extra work can be a great way to get on-set experience but you shouldn't include it in your acting CV. Ensure you add all of your training, and experience within the last 5 years.

Applying for a Role

Both independent and represented actors can put themselves forward for roles. Responses to represented actors will be automatically sent on to the actor’s agent, as well as appearing in their account. Agents can also suggest their clients for roles via email.

When applying for a role through the site, make sure you really fit the character brief before submitting your application. Casting directors are busy and don’t appreciate receiving applications from actors who clearly don't match what they're after so you're much better off biding your time until you really fit the bill.

Of course if you're not sure, it's fine to apply. But let’s just say, 25 year old women shouldn't be applying for granny roles. Read all the info on the brief carefully before applying and make sure you are fully available if selected.

Commercials

If you are applying for a role in a commercial, remember other commercial work you have done can sometimes be a conflict.

The general rule is that if you are featured (recognisable) in one ad, you can't be in another while that one is live. If you're in an ad and unsure as to whether it's a conflict, just mention it in your application and the casting director can make the call.

It’s worth knowing the details of your current contract (when the buyout is due to expire etc.) and it’s a good idea to send a link of the commercial if possible so that the casting director doesn’t have to search online for the ad.

We're rooting for you!

If you have any burning questions about your profile or about applying for jobs, just pop us an email and we'll be happy to help.

Break a leg, we're rooting for you!

Scaly Kiss from,
The Fishpond Team

Fish & Tips - Young Fishpond

Some Profile Advice for the Pondlings

Filling out your Profile

So, you've just created your Pondling profile, how exciting and welcome to the pond!

As every casting director manages his or her own job on the site, we can't guarantee that you will be selected to audition. But we have a few recommendations to help you to maximise your chances!

Pictures

Firstly, it's very important to always keep your profile as up to date as possible. As kids grow and change fast, it's important to update your pictures regularly.

If you have professional headshots to add, that's great but no problem if not. Just take some pictures at home. Choose a plain background and take a variety of shots, then add the best ones to your profile. Your main picture should be a head and shoulders shot. You can also add other pictures of you outside or doing an activity. It's important that no one else appears in any of the pictures. We recommend adding a few pictures to your profile, as it can be difficult for casting directors to see what you look like from just one photo. But no selfies please!

Videos

If you don't yet have a showreel, we strongly recommend that you add an introduction video to your profile! This really increases your chances of being called to audition. You can film this at home against a plain background on a smart phone. It should be 20 seconds to a minute of you talking directly to camera. Start by talking about any acting experience you have. You can talk about things like a favourite role you played, why you love acting and what you like to do outside of acting. This last bit is important as an interesting hobby can help you to stand out from the crowd.

For little kids, mums and dads can ask them questions to help them along.

It's important that this feels natural and doesn't seem rehearsed. Casting directors want to see you being you in front of a camera so don't worry if it's not perfect.

In addition to the introduction video, younger kids might also like to add a poem or song and older kids can add a scene. Choose a scene for camera (not stage). Take your time preparing it, learn it off by heart and only add it when you're really happy with the result. Feel free to ask us what we think when it's done.

If you are a little baby, have your mum or dad film you doing things that babies do. This will help casting users get a better sense of you (and how cute you are).

All videos are uploaded using vimeo in the "Update Showreels" section. The site gives step by step instructions - don't worry it's easy. But if you're having any trouble just get in touch and a member of our team will be happy to help.

Extra Work and Credits

While extra work is a great way to gain on-set experience, it should be left off your acting CV. Many kids who sign up don't have professional acting experience yet but feel free to add any relevant info to the credits section. School plays, plays with your drama school etc. are all fine to add here.

Applying for Roles

Only apply for roles if you really fit the character brief. Casting directors are busy and don’t appreciate receiving tonnes of applications from actors who don't match what they're after, so bide your time. Of course if you're not sure, it's ok to apply. But a 12 year old won't fit the bill if they're looking for someone who's making their Holy Communion.

We're rooting for you!

If you have any questions, just pop us an email to hello@fishpond.ie and we'll be happy to help.

Break a leg, we're rooting for you!

Scaly Kiss from
The Fishpond Team

Agents

Your rep

Some actors choose to represent themselves while others prefer to have someone working on their behalf. If you're looking to sign with an agent, it can be a difficult process. Here you’ll get a better understanding of the agent's role within the industry and how to go about finding one.

Firstly, you should never pay to join an agency or to remain on their book. An agent will be paid a certain percentage of what you earn acting. The percentage varies and is agreed between the actor and their agent as part of the terms of their representation.

Some other key points to remember when signing with an agent are:

What is an agent and what do they do?

An actor’s agent will submit you for acting roles for which you are determined suitable from the breakdowns they receive. If the casting director for a project decides that you fit the criteria for an audition, they'll contact your agent.

If you are represented by an agent, the casting director will liaise directly with them regarding times to meet, scripts etc. If you represent yourself, the casting director will contact you.

Can I have an agent if I am on Fishpond?

Yes, both represented and independent actors can join Fishpond. At Fishpond, we like to keep everyone in the loop. This means that represented actors can view the messages exchanged within their account. Represented actors can also apply for roles on the site and any responses from the casting director will be sent to their agent.

What is a co-operative agency?

Co-operative agencies are staffed by actors themselves, who take turns handling the administrative side of the agency.

Choosing the right agent for you

At Fishpond, we work with all of the agents so we couldn’t recommend one over another. It’s important that you get on well with your agent and that you share the same vision for your career. Meet with them to discuss your ideas and go with your gut. Agents work very hard suggesting you for roles and negotiating contracts.

But remember, if you do sign with an agent, it’s still up to you to work hard to push your career forward. You should continue training, keep your headshots up to date and be prepared for any and all auditions you get called for. Keep an eye on the briefs on Fishpond so that you can apply yourself if you feel you fit the bill. If you’re called to audition the message will be sent on to your agent.

Sending your information to agents

Contact the agents or agencies to see if they are accepting new submissions (if it is not outlined on the agency's website already). If they are… Great! Check to see on their website if they give specific instructions as to how they like to receive actor’s submissions.

We recommend sending your Fishpond link via email which allows the agent to view your headshots, CV, showreel and personal details in one place. Agents will almost always want to see what you can do before they sign you so they’ll want to see a showreel or you can invite them to a play you’re in. (Make sure you’re proud of the play though. This may be your one chance to impress them).

Don’t try to force a response and don’t be too pushy. After a few days if you haven’t heard anything, you can email to ask them to confirm receipt. After that, if they are interested, they will call.

Signing with an agent

So if everything goes well, you’re happy with them and they’re happy with you, then the next thing will be to join their book. Most agents ask you to sign a contract. A contract is used to protect all parties involved in it, so it’s extremely important that you understand every word that’s written down on the contract before you sign it.

Getting turned down

If it doesn’t work out, don’t be afraid to ask what their reasons are. That way you will better understand if it’s something that you can work on. If one agent decides that you are not right for their agency, that doesn’t mean that another agent will feel the same way. It could mean they already have a number of actors with the same look as you.

Auditions

Breathe...

Every audition is an opportunity to showcase your talents. So we’ve compiled a few pointers to get you started.

Be organised

Whether you have an agent or are representing yourself, it's important to be as organised as possible. This means keeping an eye on your emails and texts and being as available as possible. A quick response to an audition invitation can mean a lot to a casting director who is working on a tight deadline, and to your reputation as being efficient and organised.

Once you have confirmed you are available to attend the audition, try not to make too much contact with the casting director. Of course, there will be times when you need a time change or have a question you need answered but make sure you've read all the info carefully before asking. Often with commercial castings in particular, there can be a lot of roles and so a lot of actors to deal with, so it's worth keeping additional questions to a minimum where you can.

Show up on time. Arrive at the casting 5-10 minutes before your slot so you can catch your breath. Listen to all instructions you are given in the waiting room. Ask them to repeat it if you need to. This information is gold dust. It can be special notes from the director or things they have learned during the course of the auditions so pay attention.

Don't cancel. Of course sometimes something will happen which means you can't attend an audition. Casting directors understand that. But make sure you only cancel for a really good reason and get in touch with the casting director as soon as you can to explain.

Prepare

If you are given a script…learn it! It sounds obvious but make sure you know it well. On the other hand don’t over rehearse. It’s important that you can take direction at the audition.

Sometimes you will only see the script at the audition – don’t worry everyone is in the same boat so just spend a few minutes reading it and feel free to ask the casting director or the assistant any questions.

Make sure you are available for all dates and that you’ve seen the fees being offered. If you show up to the audition and turn out to be unavailable, you’ve just wasted one of the casting director's valuable slots so make sure you read everything carefully.

Be confident

The Irish are notorious for their inability to take a compliment as well as their fear of appearing big headed. But remember it’s important to sell yourself at the audition. No need to go overboard but if you’re asked about a recent role you played, be positive in your response. “It was a small role which taught me a lot and I really enjoyed it” is better than “blink and you’ll miss me”. And don’t try to make excuses in the room. If you’re under prepared…well don’t be…but if you feel you are, own it rather than blaming anyone else - “I only got the script a few minutes ago” doesn’t tend to go down very well.

Commercial auditions

They tend to move at a faster pace than auditions for film and TV. Don’t be intimidated by the other actors in the waiting room or if there are a lot of people in the casting suite itself. Often people from the production company, agency, as well as the client will attend the casting – remember you have as much right to be there as anyone. The casting director selected you so take a deep breath and have fun.

Outside the room you will be given a casting form. Fill it out fully and read it very carefully.

You may be asked if you have been in any previous ads. In Ireland if you are featured in one campaign you usually can’t feature in another at the same time. There are exceptions though so make sure you answer everything truthfully.

Alcohol brands require all actors to be 25 or older – so if you’re asked your age, be honest. They can’t legally have you in the ad if you’re younger than this so don’t try to blag it.

Callbacks/Recalls

It’s always great to get a recall. Wear similar clothes as before (or the same outfit if you can). If it’s not broken, why fix it?

“Shortlisted / Pencilled”

If you’re lucky enough to be shortlisted/pencilled for a role, this means that you have been chosen (possibly with a few others) as a candidate for this part. There are often quite a few people who need to approve the cast for a project so sometimes a few options will be presented. Your job is to keep the dates free and not to change your appearance – no haircuts, beard trims etc. They liked what they saw at the audition so make sure you don’t change it. This is the stuff of casting directors’ nightmares.

If anything comes up which may clash with the dates, you need to let the casting director know ASAP. If you’re pencilled, everyone is assuming you are fully available and will accept the role. Once you make it this far, the casting director will let you know either way if you are selected.

Break a leg!

We have an ongoing list of current auditions on the site, click here to set up your Fishpond Account, and here if you're under 16.

We also have a 'free' jobs board - Stepping Stones where we like to support the up and comers and the actors who are looking for experience. These roles help actors to build up a showreel, network, and gain experience on-camera or on-stage, as well as allowing them to experience the audition process itself.

Casting Directors

Casting Directors have one goal – to find the right person for the job.

What do they do?

Casting directors are hired by the production company to find the right actors for a given project. A casting director doesn’t represent anyone - this is an agent's job.

How to approach them

It’s a good idea to become familiar with Irish Casting Directors and introduce yourself to them. It’s a small group so not a difficult task.

Usually email is the best method of contact. Send a simple email with your Fishpond link and a message – it’s worth saying something simple and personal that will help them remember you.

If you have a showreel make sure you have added this to your profile before sending your link. It’s always good to have some work to show. If you don’t yet have a showreel, why not spend some time preparing a scene? See the Adult Fishpond slide for more tips on this.

Casting directors are always looking for new talent so they’ll be delighted to receive your info. They can be quite busy though so don’t try to force a response, they may not come back to you right away.

Showreels

That little digital gem

A strong showreel is your greatest asset. Once you’ve built up an archive of work you’d be proud to show off, it’s time to get a showreel made. These will include short clips of scenes from the various productions you’ve been involved in. Choosing the right scenes to showcase the spectrum of your ability is your goal. Always make sure you put your strongest performance first and leave out the montage.

What should I do if I don’t currently have anything on film?

It’s a good idea to build up a body of work with your showreel in mind. Take a look at Stepping Stones for low/no paid work which is a great way to get material for your reel.

You can also film a scene yourself while you’re building up a body of work. You can film this with a friend using a smart phone or camera at home. Stand or sit against a plain background and talk about your experience, training and a bit about what you like to do outside of acting. If you've recently returned to the business, mention that here.

You can also record a monologue or a duologue with a reader. Choose a scene for camera rather than stage and try to work with another actor if your scene requires a reader. Take your time preparing, be off book and use the best quality take. Don't upload it until you are really happy.

How long should my showreel be?

We would recommend no more than two to four minutes. Casting professionals receive thousands of CV’s and showreels and don’t have time to watch every actor for 10 minutes each. Start strong - remember they may not watch the full reel so the first 30 seconds are very important.

Good luck!

Headshots

The first thing a Casting Director sees...

Your headshot is gold. This photograph is your calling card and will be the first thing a casting director looks at.

If you’re not ready to splurge on professional shots, get together with a friend and take a number of pictures. Take your time and select the best ones. You should look like yourself on a good day.

If you’re ready to purchase or update your headshots check out the great photographers listed in our Directory.

A few Tips when taking the pictures

Whether you’re taking the shots with a friend or a professional photographer, there are a few important points to note:

Your eyes are your most important feature, so make sure they are visible; face the camera straight on.

It’s worth having a variety of shots where possible – some where you are more serious and some more smiley shots. In all of them you want to look as relaxed and natural as possible.

Consider the background; some photographers like to do outdoor shots. A contrast between background and hair colour works well, whereas dark backgrounds work less well with dark hair, and the same goes for light hair on light backgrounds.

If you’re taking the shots with a friend, choose a plain background.

Which Headshot should I choose?

Make sure you choose a photo that looks like you – not how you would like to look. If you are unsure, ask friends or your agent for an honest opinion. Remember, you will be asked to attend meetings and auditions on the basis of your photograph, so if you turn up looking completely different you will be wasting everybody’s time.

Headshots & my Fishpond profile

When choosing a main photo for your Fishpond profile, it’s worth choosing a head and shoulders shot, and never add a selfie to your Fishpond profile. A thumbnail pic will appear in the casting directors account after you apply for a role, so head and shoulders shots tend to pop out more as they view them.

We recommend adding several additional pictures to your profile, as it helps casting directors to get a clear idea of how you look, which makes it more likely that they will bring you in.

Your profile will only return in searches when pictures have been added to it. We don’t require professional headshots but they are a good investment for adult actors.

Self-Taping

Grab your camera / computer / smartphone

We’re really excited to announce the launch of our brand new self taping technology, Auditioncam. The first of its kind in Ireland which allows casting directors to request a self tape through the site. Actors then follow the instructions to record their audition on their phone, tablet, computer or camera and can send it easily through Fishpond back to the casting director. For more info on how this technology works, click here.

Do’s and Don’t

Make sure you can be seen and heard clearly.

Unless otherwise requested a medium shot where you can see your head and shoulders is best. If recording on a computer, set the angle so that you are not looking down at the camera. If using a phone try and use a tripod, and hold the phone in a landscape position (on its side). We have added an example of a good shot here.

Lighting

Try to record in natural light and stay away from shadowy areas in your house.

Backdrop

Film your audition against a plain background, preferably in front of a pale coloured wall. If possible avoid having anything distracting (clocks, posters, flowery wallpaper) on the wall behind you.

Hanging a grey or blue bed sheet behind you is better for your self-taped audition than shooting with a distracting background.

Get a good reader

Unless your self-taped audition is a monologue, you’ll need someone to read the other lines in the scene. Try to use a fellow actor if possible. Have them sit/stand next to the camera and look at them so that your eyeline is in the right place close to the lens.

Make sure when they are reading they are a little quieter than you, as they will be right next to the camera, and you want the voices to balance out.

ID

Sometimes the casting director wants something very specific with the ID, like a full body shot, or a tight close-up and profiles. If you are required to give your name or agent, ensure you deliver it directly to camera. Read the original email carefully and follow all of the instructions. If an ID isn’t mentioned, just state your name and contact info (or your agent’s if you are represented). You can do this in a wide full length shot so they can see clearly how you look.

Performance

Unlike theatre, when acting on camera, your emotion should be more internalised, with a smaller physical performance.

Keep in mind the size of the shot, and how close the framing is. Study the script and any notes that have been given with it. Know your lines off by heart!

Training

Drama training should not cease as soon as you graduate

There are a lot of places in Ireland to start or update your acting skills. So many in fact, we simply cannot recommend one over another. Have a look at our Directory where you’ll find a number of institutions and private coaches Ireland has to offer. There are many courses available to suit all budgets and schedules. We ask that all adults have some professional training or credits before signing up to Fishpond.

Why do I need drama training?

The entertainment industry is an extremely competitive one, with thousands of performers competing for a small number of jobs. In such a crowded market, professional training will increase an actor’s chances of success, and professionally trained artists are more likely to be represented by agencies. Drama training can begin at any age and should continue throughout an actor’s career.

How do I choose the right class?

Your first step should be to research as many different courses as possible. Have a look on each school’s website and request a prospectus. Ask around to find out where other people have trained or are training now and who they recommend. You can browse the websites, look at their alumni, and check out the coachs' backgrounds.

I have already trained to be an actor. Why do I need further training?

Drama training should not cease as soon as you graduate or get your first job. Throughout your career you should strive to enhance your existing skills and keep up to date with the techniques new actors are being taught, even straight after drama school, in order to retain a competitive edge. You must also be prepared to learn new skills for specific roles if required. Ongoing drama training and classes can help you stay fit and active, and if you go through a period of unemployment you can keep your mind and body occupied, ready to take on your next job.

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