12 Ways To Get Ready For Pilot Season

Most casting for new series takes place during pilot season. Pilot season runs from approximately January through April, ending with the network’s annual upfronts in May, where network executives unveil their new fall and midseason shows to potential advertisers and the press. A pilot that gets picked up can quickly skyrocket your career! Here are 12 ways to get ready for the coming pilot season.

Update your tools

Headshots should capture the essence of who you are, the kinds of roles you’re castable in and should look like you will when you arrive at the audition. Resumes should be organized, easy to read and up-to-date. Have your current reel available online in single clips and labeled so casting can watch your 12 second ‘comedy’ clip without having to watch your entire reel.

Get your social media together

When casting Googles you, what they find should look great and give them a real sense of who you are. Check out Heidi Dean’s blog at Marketing4actors.com for a ton of terrific, free social media “how to” information.

Update your website

Your website makes it easy for people to find you, it presents you the way you want to be perceived and tells them about your current projects. It’s also the hub for your social media platforms. It’s an indispensable promotional tool. Keep it current.

Get in shape & stay healthy

Pilot season can be stressful. To maximize every opportunity you’ll need to spend a lot of time and energy preparing to be your best. Eat well, workout, get plenty of rest and stay hydrated. Keep your head clear by doing yoga, meditation or whatever keeps you focused and in touch with yourself.

Do your research

Read the breakdowns for all of the characters. Get a script if you can. Research everyone involved in the project: What they’ve done can give you a feel for what the style of this new show may be. Backstage, the Futon Critic, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and CastingAbout are all good sources for current information about pilots.

Have a self-taping system

Don’t scramble when the call comes. Have your self-taping setup ready or know where you’ll go to tape. Line up some actor friends now who are willing to read for each other when tapings come up.

Talk with your reps

Agree upon the kinds of roles you’ll be submitted for and how you’ll confirm auditions. Good communication creates less stress so you can focus on preparing.

Plan ahead

A little forethought keeps small things from becoming big things. Is your car gassed up? Is your MetroCard low? Do you need more headshots? Are your printer levels low? Are your clothes clean and pressed? Think ahead.

Hone your skills

Don’t wait for an audition to start working on your cold reading and memorization skills. Find a class or a coach and stay sharp.

Get an audition coach

Going solo for important auditions is risky. A great audition coach is a small investment to make for a potentially huge return. Find yours before pilot season.

Bring YOU to your audition

Because audiences watch series regulars over many seasons, CD’s look for interesting, confident actors who understand their uniqueness is their currency. Co-star roles, and to a lesser extent guest star roles, function to move the plot forward. In series regular auditions you are your greatest asset. Bring your unique point of view to everything you do. Trust and own it throughout your audition. Ask yourself what you would do in the character’s circumstances. Then be yourself in them as if they were happening to you right now.

Have fun!

Everything in life is a choice. Instead of making pilot season a high pressure test, make it a grand experiment in how relaxed, present and confident you can be. Nail that and you’ll have the most fun you’ve ever had at precisely the right time!

Need help booking that next big gig? My class Audition Sides Made Easy is a complete A to Z roadmap for crafting excellent auditions...

All my best,


Philip Hernandez is a respected acting teacher and singing coach in NYC. He is also the only actor in Broadway history to play both Jean Valjean and Inspector Javert in Les Miserables. He created principal roles in Broadway’s Kiss of the Spiderwoman and Paul Simon’s The Capeman. You may also know him from his many television appearances: The Blacklist, Gotham, Blue Bloods, The Path, Bull, Nurse Jackie, Elementary, Person of Interest, Law and Order, Hostages and Damages to name a few. For information about acting lessons CLICK HERE or singing lessons CLICK HERE

Follow him on twitter @philip24601, on Instagram @philip24601 and on Facebook at @philip24601.