Acting : Next Steps After a Slight Breakthrough? by Sean O'Connor

Next Steps After a Slight Breakthrough?

Hi all, I've only been acting about 8 years now, starting as an extra as a lot of us do I'm sure... It's fair to say I haven't stopped in that time, taking things seriously pretty early on by leaving a regular, well-paid IT job in 2009 to complete an On Screen Acting Diploma. That enabled me to get signed with a top local agent and more regular, better-paid audition opportunities. 45 or so short films later, mainly unpaid or expenses only (to build up the resume), 4 feature films and a couple of commercials', I got a call from my agent last month, a few weeks after uploading my new showreel ( - I self promote at every opportunity too!) asking my availability for a location in the States from January to mid-March this year? Quite stunned, I asked more and after my agent checked out that it was indeed a real project, it transpired to be a lead role in a feature film with a few A Listers! I had to self-tape on the weekend as it was a very fast turnaround. The audition took several hours to upload as there were 2 scenes to do. I was panicking, but the file was uploaded a few weeks ago now. The opportunity may have passed as I've heard nothing back, but there has been Christmas in between times I guess. Principal Photography is due to start very soon, so I am just very pleased to have been asked to audition for a pretty big name producer, who my agent thinks saw my reel on youtube. The request came through as an invitation for me to self-tape. I can't name the production for obvious reasons as the cast has not been finalised. Who knows, I may still be in the running.... I guess I am on a radar now - one that I never even considered I would be on. As for what happens from here, I don't know - the agent starts really pushing me now? I know she has been anyway, but hopefully this is a verification of how much I put in to my work. What advice would anyone (particularly those based in the States) give now? Should I expect more requests for self-taped auditions now? Should I look at moving to the States to maximise this exposure? I guess this is also a message of hope for people like me, who started late. I only started acting at age 41. I wish all of you the very best for 2016 and beyond and am pleased to have this forum to share my experiences. Regards, Sean.

Michael J Smyth

great reel Sean, can see why they were interested. Good luck

Sean O'Connor

Thanks Michael :-)

Sebastian Tudores

Sean, first off - nice work man! great camera craft :) If you're looking to book work in the States, you need to develop TARGETED relationships with casting directors. mostly right now that's done through participating in casting workshops at places like or or . each of these offer the opportunity to be seen and, therefore, known by casting directors spanning film, TV, and theater, all currently looking to find actors to bring in for their projects. it's a numbers game, but if you are consistent and targeted, chances increase greatly. Of course that's hard to attend if you're not in the states. but what I'm thinking you COULD do for starters is use the Actor's Connection service called - you should make your profile, then upload your REEL and submit it for review by the casting directors you pick from those available. They will then give you feeedback on the reel, i.e., length (a bit too long now), order, what to take out, tone, etc. & I would imagine you could ask them as well what they think about moving to the states. Hope this helps a bit Sean - GOOD LUCK! a fellow late-starter :) cheers Seb

Rachel Rath

Great reel. They might get you to remove your name at the beginning. CDs here love when it begins with your performance. Guessing you are from UK? My advice would be to have everything ready for your work papers. Most jobs here need an O-1 visa. Here's a post I wrote about some of the dox you'll need for them. Best to be prepared than not. Congrats Sean!!

Sean O'Connor

Guys, thank you so much for the positive feedback and Sebastian, some great information there which I will look at to push myself forward. Thank you so much and for connecting too. Rachel, interesting point you raise on the showreel and actually I am an Englishman by birth and moved to New Zealand 11 years ago now. It will be a fairly simple task to remove the name at the start. Thank you for your response. I have just been offered my first audition of the year for a commercial. Self tape again for overseas shoot. The year is starting well...

Michael J Smyth

Sorry for butting in Sean, but just wanted to say thanks to Sebastian and Rachel for some great advice. i will certainly be looking into some of that.

Karim Davis

Nothing much can offer except a congratulations great showreel ,(and great advice from everybody!) The only thing I can suggest is to continue to network, promote and put in the hard work (which you clearly have. Apart from stage 32 I have seen Facebook and Instagram being used by a variety of Australian and New Zealand based actors to reach their peers, you might find something there other than that do you fancy the idea od directing and writing your own short? If you haven't already it's a great way for an actor to gain a new and fresh perspective , you might not need these particular skill sets but once you start promoting your short you can begin to cross promote, ask other director's what they think and tjrow in that you yourself are an actor with a solid background, might be an nice opener, other than that best of luck mate!

Veria Starr

Great work. I enjoyed it.

Sean O'Connor

Thank you so much everyone. I really appreciate the kind comments and the advice provided. In the last day or two I have offers to self tape for Australian productions, so happy that this year has started so well. Hopefully I can book some work soon. I really appreciate the support of everyone on the forum and the learnings from everyone else will be really useful for me taking my next steps on this great journey so far. Sean.

Douglas Eugene Mayfield

Sean. I liked your reel. I have a question for you. And I have no answer myself. As far as moving to the states, how does your accent fit in? In other words, are you able to speak fluent 'American' when a potential acting job calls for it? If possible, I'd suggest discussing the issue with actors from the UK/Commonwealth who are already here. I know that BAFTA is here in LA. Perhaps they can provide contacts and/or information. Good luck.

Sean O'Connor

Hi Douglas. A very good question and yes, my accent is pretty good, but I am always learning, so have done a worshop with a local accent coach (who is American herself). Most roles call for Standard American, Californian I guess being the prime example. With more American productions' hitting my adopted home country (New Zealand), having a flawless American accent is essential these days. Thanks again for the advice.

Mikael Roth

I have seen many actors since I started acting at the age of 8. But when I see an actor started out at the age of 41 I really get impressed, your performance it is really amazing. If you just keep working forward I am sure you will do just fine. :) Keep up the good work Sean, I am looking forward to see more from you. I will send you a request if that´s okey? :)

Sean O'Connor

Thanks so much for your kind words, Mikael and I hope you are doing well? Yes, it's interesting how I almost 'fell' in to acting at the very start in 2008. Extra to Guest Role on a local New Zealand soap to Hollywood audition - 7 years or so. Hoping I can go forward from here. Please check out my website at and feel free to subscribe to my youtube channel at I am planning to upload some more of my work to the youtube channel in the coming weeks. Will certainly accept the friend request. I appreciate your very kind support. Thanks again. Sean.

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