Read these 8 Casting Calls Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Acting tips and hundreds of other topics.
You may encounter this phrase from casting directors more than once in your career: "I'll know what I want when I see it." One thing is for sure: They're not looking for a scene-stealer. They're not looking for a prima dona. Chances are, they want chemistry within their cast. They need to see that you're a team player, someone who listens, is respectful of others, and ultimately brings more to the team. Showing casting directors and fellow actors that you can work with them is far more valuable than showing them up.
You're the only one who can make yourself look good in a casting call, so be proactive. Take note of the following advice: Show up on time. Be prepared for any readings that you have to do. Bring two copies of your resume/headshot package. Be very respectful to all of the people that you interact with, even other actors. Show that you can work professionally with the casting director and anyone else attached to the production. Follow up with a postcard or another small mailing the next day.
Here's a key piece of advice: Don't be annoying, don't be needy, don't be whiny, and don't beg for a break. Nobody wants to hear it, and it's not anyone's job to help you. Be confident and respectful. Be yourself. You can always train more and improve, you can always give it another shot, but you can never again make a good first impression. Remember that you have a set amount of time with a casting director; they have to sit there all day and audition people. Be respectful of their time. It pays off!
There's a basic application process behind getting into a casting call. Keep your mail-in package simple: just a headshot, cover letter, and resume. Make sure to put your name on your headshot, so the casting director isn't forced to flip through pages to remember your name. The cover letter should be brief. Introduce yourself, highlight part of your resume, and give them a reason to see you. You can always try to send something crazy to seem creative, but they might just remember the crazy part and forget all about the creative. It's best to stay professional.
During casting calls, you need to show casting directors that you are a flexible actor. They need to know that your skills can translate from the stage to the screen. They also need to see that your character creation skills are always at work. Even though you get up to a week of prep time for your sides, you still need to be able to show them that you can fully flesh out a character with minimal input. Realistically, you have very little time to accomplish this, but use the two minutes on camera to convince them of the great actor you will become.
How do you prepare for an open casting call? Make sure that you have an up-to-date headshot and resume package. Bring two copies. Make sure that your training is up to date. Gather information through any connections that you have made in the industry. Whenever possible, prepare by reading the script from which you will be performing. If this is not possible, get all the information about the key players: director, writer, producer, etc. The more you know, the more you will stand out.
Try and think of casting calls from the point of view of the casting director. They are under tremendous pressure to put together a winning cast -- a group of actors who are not only skilled but also have an attractive chemistry when placed together. The casting director has to work quickly, but she or he also has to make excellent decisions. If they make a mistake in casting, it could cost them their career. A casting director usually has a preferred list of actors that she or he wants to work with, so make sure that your agent gets you as close to this “A List” as possible.
A huge part of getting a casting call or finding out about open casting calls is working your connections. A good actor keeps track of the people she or he meets. Always have your feelers out looking for leads; casting directors from your previous work might be able to recommend a new direction for you. Be active in the industry community. You're not going to find any leads by sitting at home. Try to introduce yourself to new casting directors, producers, and writers every week.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|