The best and safest way to find local acting jobs, casting calls or acting auditions in the Philadelphia area is to go through a legitimate professional casting call listing site like Actors Access, Casting Networks, Casting Calls Philly or Backstage.
There are a variety of acting opportunities in Philadelphia. From un-paid student films, to full rate SAG-AFTRA (the actors union) projects.
Union vs. Non-Union Acting Opportunities
If you’re a union actor, you can start with iactor, SAG-AFTRA’s online resource. You can also check with the regional SAG-AFTRA office, and ensure you’re on their email list.
If you are a non-union actor, there are two primary ways to find legitimate local acting opportunities. One, go through a talent agent. Two, self-submit through a talent listing site.
If you already have an agent, they most likely have an agency account on all or most of the professional casting call listing sites. They may ask you to pay for your account, or they may have an agency account to submit you. This varies depending on the agent and the casting call listing site.
If you do not have an agent, you’ll need to create and manage your own profile on the talent listing sites.
Talent Listing Sites
There are a few national talent listing sites you may wish to register with.
The projects that use these sites typically cast their speaking roles our of Los Angeles through agents and cast their Philadelphia area U5 (under five line roles) and background/extras through sites like this (in addition to the local site).
Casting Calls Philly focuses on local roles and projects, like Philadelphia area commercials, web-series, independent films and other Philadelphia, or regionally based productions. The key difference is these are local roles and productions more interested in working with local non-union, and union, actors for key speaking and on-camera roles. The bigger sites have bigger projects with smaller roles for Philadelphia actors, Casting Calls Philly has smaller projects with bigger roles (small ones too).
If you’re primarily a theater actor looking for paid live stage roles, be sure to check out Backstage.
This site is best for experienced professional stage actors looking for roles inn regional and national touring productions that are accepting submissions from Philadelphia area actors.
For local theater, paid and un-paid, Casting Calls Philly is a great resource.
What You Need Before Submitting
There are some key things you need to have ready before creating an account on a casting call site and submitting to Philadelphia area casting calls.
First, a headshot. A headshot tells the casting director you’re a serious actor. Some projects ask for amateur or candid photos, but unless that is stated, you should always send a headshot. It doesn’t have to be an expensive one fro a professional photographer (at least not to start), but shouldn’t be a selfie either.
Second, a resume. If you’ve never acted or been on-set before you should take at least one class, or work as a background actor or extra to have something on your resume. Something is better than nothing.
If you’ve never done anything then be sure to start submitting to the local un-paid roles, such as student films, small independent productions, etc. These productions are more likely to accept submissions from actors without resumes, especially if submitted through a site like Casting calls Philly, since that means the person submitting is at least committed even if they don’t have an acting resume.
Unfortunately there are multiple scams targeting veteran and new actors. The key thing to know is, professional casting directors use professional (requiring a aid subscription) casting call sites like Actors Access, Casting Networks, Casting Calls America (which Casting Calls Philly is a part of) and Backstage. If you see a role posted on a free site offering thousands of dollars, or paid travel, or other perks that seem too good to be true, it probably is a scam.
There are also sites that appear to be professional talent listings sites, but aren’t. They’re “copy and paste” sites. Here’s the key way to tell a professional casting call site, from a “copy and paste” site; profiles and emails.
If a casting call site requires you create a complete profile in order to submit, and your submission is guaranteed to go to the casting director’s account on that site, NOT their email, then it has the key characteristics of a legitimate casting call site.
If the site gives you the email address of the casting director or producer, stay away! Professional casting directors don’t work this way.
Regional based production companies, such as those making local commercials, web promos, training videos or independent films, may not always use only professional casting call sites. But since submissions through professional casting call sites indicate the actor is more professional, those who do submit through professional resources are more likely to be seen and taken seriously.
The other benefit to submitting through casting call sites like Casting calls Philly is the fact the people and posts are screened. This is important for new and veteran actors alike who don’t wish to waste their time and effort submitting to non-screened producers. Not to mention sending those non-screened producers the actors personal information, a huge security risk.