The Cattle Call: Slaughter or Refuge?

This week: EPAs; Equity Principal Auditions a.k.a. Everyone Packs Auditions.

I don’t like covering material in this blog that I’ve previously touched upon in my book ACTING: Make It Your Business. Mainly because I don’t wish to bore the readership (too late) of the-nasty-little-monster-that-took-over-my-life. I want to explore new insights here. But there’s been a question from a reader sitting in the answering queue for so long that it was about to file for divorce from my laptop citing abandonment.

The question: Should represented actors (i.e. those lucky enough to have an agent and/or manager) attend EPAs?

Answer: Yes.

Why? Well not to rehash material I fonted several lengthy pages about prior in that pile of pulp and print I will give a few reworked and new insightful sentences here.

First and foremost a talent rep cannot get everyone they submitted for a project into the casting office for each specific potential of employ. They, like you, are fighting a numbers game. In casting we have a finite amount of audition slots. Talent reps have many clients. It’s like trying to put John Goodman into a Speedo. Not pretty.

Also a reason for reped actors attending EPAs is that there are many actors with agents who have never been seen by a particular casting office. If the actor is type appropriate and avail. for the project in which EPAs are being held; then by all means that performer should get their ass into that call!

Since the Bush Legacy tossed our economy into the trash – leaving, as is an ugly American custom, a black man to clean-up after – I have noticed a large increase in represented actors from the “better” agencies attending the calls. Desperation has finally pushed people to promoting their careers as they always should have been doing well before our near drop-off into the Bush Abyss.

Now those familiar with the EPA system (and if you’re not; please don’t make me plug once again my first born which details this; Christ we’re all getting tired of the title including my laptop’s keys)… sorry I digress… for those familiar with the EPA system you may be asking yourself, ‘Should I attend only Required EPAs or Non-required EPAs?’ Yes and yes. If you have the time; do both. Staying home constantly updating your profile pic on Facebook, Tweeting your most recent bowel movement on Twitter or watching videos on YouTube is not doing anything to further your career (plus we all know that nearly every actor has an IPhone and can do those all so important online activities nearly anywhere, anytime).

So in short; Yes Virginia, if you are represented there are EPAs you should attend.

My Best,

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Paul Russell’s career as a casting director, director, acting teacher and former actor has spanned nearly thirty years. He has worked on projects for major film studios, television networks, and Broadway. Paul has taught the business of acting and audition technique at NYU and has spoken at universities including Yale, Temple and the University of the Arts. He writes a column for Back Stage and is the author of ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working Actor. For more information, please visit


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