Posted by: nancykenny | May 24, 2009

Am I Just Killing Trees?

I’ve got two more packages set to be mailed out to two more theatre companies.  What’s in these packages? An 8 by 10 glossy of myself carefully stapled to a properly formatted resume, along with a brief cover letter.  Since October of 2008, right around the time Rabbit Hole concluded at the Gladstone, I’ve sent out 21 of these little beauties.

I have yet to receive a response for any of them. In fact, looking through My Documents, I realize that I have been sending out packages like these since 2006 and I have yet to receive a response to any of those either.

It kind of makes you wonder what’s the point?  Does anyone even open my letters? And if they do, what makes it that I am immediately filed under “G” (that’s G for Garbage for those who might be unclear).

Is it my lack of Equity status? Is it my photo? My resume? My location in Ottawa? What?

I wouldn’t say I’m bitter, I’m more just really curious to know what companies are looking for when they claim to be holding general auditions.  If you have any insight, I would love to hear it.



  1. hmm… been there. wondered that. think of it this way – assuming you’re sending the majority of these packages to companies outside of ottawa (like toronto say), think of how many locals they probably have bombarding them with similar mail outs. in a town busting at the seams with locally trained actors, out of towners are probably not high up on their list of consideration. why not do a little experiment – get a cheap burner phone with a 416 area code and see if your luck changes any…

  2. Apparently, only 5 % of normal CVs get any kind of response; so I can only imagine the return is much lower in the performing arts. Networking is the only real option for all industries and if you aren’t in TO, it is difficult to do.

  3. I’ve taken to using recycled envelopes for my mailouts because I feel bad about the amount I send out (35 since March of this year). That said, I’ve been getting about a 65% response rate, though most of those are “we’ll keep that on file” and as a stage manager I think they are more likely to respond (that said, a year ago I had zero responses). I know that the company I work for puts a lot of stock in the cover letter (more so than the resume when we invite for auditions).

    • That’s a really interesting point, Lois. I’ve always figured, since they must be so busy and get so many of these packages, I should keep the cover letter as brief and to the point as possible. Perhaps I should change that.

  4. I agree with Sterling. Whatever career you are pursuing, who you know is always the key factor. It is therefore, best to try to make connections. Through Twitter,in person meetings, cold calling etc. and then capitalize on these connections. Sending out resumes, photos, etc. certainly doesn’t hurt but your odds are way better if you can make a real connection.

  5. […] up our rehearsal, I received a call from Theatre New Brunswick. I guess I haven’t simply been killing trees after all! I’ll be heading to Toronto on June 23rd (a day we are not schedule to perform on […]

  6. […] year, I wondered aloud what theatre companies were looking for when calls for general auditions are put […]

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