To clear up any misconceptions, I want to introduce myself and what I do.
I am a casting director or “CD” for short. Sometimes people use the term casting agent, which in this case is not the proper term. I do not find actors work, I find directors actors to work with…there is a difference.
Definition: The Casting Director auditions and helps choose all the speaking roles for actors in movies, television shows, and plays. Must have a wide knowledge of actors, and be able to match the talent with the role. Also serves as the liaison between Directors, actors, and their agents. Responsible for negotiating deals with agents and for obtaining contracts for each hired actor.
What I cannot do is represent you – an agent does that. Did I mention I am not an agent?
Early in my career I spent a year or two as a manager for a few actor friends of mine…but then I remembered, actors could be like children and I already had two! So managing went out the window and I went back to casting.
Now that we have that cleared up I would love to hear feedback from my musings, but PLEASE don’t ask me if I can represent you!
This blog will sometimes provide information for newbie actors and filmmakers working with casting directors for the first time. Some weeks we will have interviews with celebrities, and entertainment information.
“How do I break into the business?”
I thought I should start with the question that floods my inbox nearly every day. While there is no simple one answer, here are some steps to put you on the path to success.
Step 1 – Hone your craft! That means, take classes, read and analyze scripts, and participate in any way you can. Student films, community theater, showcases are a great way to get your feet wet! You might think this goes without saying, but you’d be surprised: No one will hire you if you’re not good enough to be hired, so work at it!
Step 2 – Be prepared! Have your headshots, resumes, and bios ready. If you are lucky enough to be called to audition and receive “sides”, read them! Show up on time for the audition! Don’t call the casting director to keep changing your appointment.
Step 3- Find your audition notices from a reputable source. Actorsaccess.com is a service almost every casting director in the business uses. They are “vetted” before they are allowed to use the service. Read the notice carefully. Are you the right fit for the job? Don’t waste the casting director’s time. If the script calls for a male actor, and you are female don’t submit! You would be surprised how much this happens. Actors do this to “get noticed” and you do, but for all the wrong reasons!
Step 4- You have beat out the competition and booked your first gig! What now? READ your contract and/or deal memo CAREFULLY! If there are changes to be made now is the time. Do not show up on the set and act surprised that you will be working for the next 12 hours.
Step 5- Show up early and prepared! Be a team player. Remember, very few people ever receive “star treatment”, so even if you’re cast as the leading role in a project, be prepared to work!
Lastly, unless you already have a good deal of experience, don’t look your nose down at a project just because it seems low budget or is a student-film. Student-filmmakers are the studio-filmmakers of tomorrow, so be nice to everyone!