Written for Casting Networks News by Terry Berland @berlandcasting.
The casting director is hired to bring in a select number of actors to audition for specific roles so that an agency or production company’s creative team can later decide which actor or actors will be booked. Impressing the casting director, therefore, becomes every actor’s number one focus going into an audition.
Besides being a talented performer, there are qualities that will really set you apart. The following checklist will ensure that you leave a favorable impression with your casting director:
Be consistently acting. One of the ways an actor can keep acting between bookings is to keep honing their skills and continue with acting classes on an ongoing basis. Working out in acting class should feel fulfilling, a way to keep feeding the creative beast in you.
Be sure your package is well put-together and your submission process is honest and well-organized. Your photos should look like you and your resume should be clean, organized and up-to-date. Your resume should be honest with regard to your special skills, including which languages you speak fluently, which accents you can do flawlessly and which sports or other unique abilities you excel in.
There are many breakdowns out for actors that have actual knowledge or ability in this or that skill. When you sign with your agent or manager, or you have a meeting to go over how to gain more auditions, be sure to review your special skills with your reps to make sure you have everything covered.
Don’t take your skill and knowledge base for granted. There might be items on a breakdown list that you’re proficient at, though it may not occur to you. For instance, if you have culinary skills, have training as a photographer or you really were a paramedic in the past, keep these valuable abilities in your toolkit of special skills.
Keep your photos up-to-date. Don’t confuse a casting director. Don’t have old photos in your package in which you’re sporting hair of a different length or color. Only have current looks for viewing. Also, don’t portray a character you can’t play. For instance, your photographer might have taken a great photo of you as a tough guy or an edgy girl, but if you can’t truthfully play that type, it won’t do you any good to promote that look.
Keep in touch with the casting director. Get to know how a casting director likes you to keep in touch and follow through every couple of months. Personally, I like postcards with your professional updates on it. It’s a quick read for me and seeing a postcard every three or four months helps me get to know you and keep you in mind in the long run.
Have active social media accounts. Keep in touch through social media. Find out which social media platforms the casting director uses. Use your social media platforms to post scenes that you’re shooting if your production can release anything for the public. Don’t take photos on a shoot on your own. Your focus should remain on your job as an actor. Use social media to talk about jobs you’ve booked (if you’re allowed to) and theater productions you’ve been in. Even if you’re under an NDA and not allowed to mention a product, there are ways you can communicate that you’ve just booked.
Post all things acting. Every once in a while, post something personal. Be aware, though, that we won’t be impressed if all we see are photos of your dog. In fact, you can expect to be deleted.
Have a great reel. If you don’t have actual scenes from film or television that you’ve booked, go to a reel-production service and have a few scenes produced. Do the kind of scene that you love and are right for. Caution: The final outcome must look highly professional.
Leave a good impression at auditions. Try to make the audition time we give you. If you can’t make it for a very important reason, ask to change or cancel your appointment in as promptly as possible to give us enough time to give your slot to another actor.
Be in a good mood when you show up. Be happy to be at the audition and friendly to everyone. Be prepared at the audition. Know your technique and give a great audition.
Be busy with acting outside of your auditions and classes. One way is to create your own film and web series projects. Another way is to do theater. LA is packed with theater companies, and the local theater scene is thriving. Take advantage of the Hollywood Fringe Festival, which features short plays performed on theater row. I went to several shows during this year’s festival, and the place was buzzing with theatergoers. All these shows had to be cast with hundreds of actors. So, wherever you live in LA, find your local theater and get involved.
Be aware of breakdowns. An agent is crucial for the lion’s share of better projects and for your own protection and professional career. Nevertheless, go after your own work in addition to what your agents submit you for. Iron out a system and an understanding with your agent for a smooth working relationship between you. It is important to have an honest relationship with your agent.
If you want to sharpen up on your commercial acting technique, follow this link to Terry Berland’s Commercial Acting workshop.