All you need to know about casting!

Posted by SmartActors | Leave a comment

Written by Casting Director, Jeannine Fisher


Yesterday I had a casting session and some things happened that, in some cases happened before, and I want to address them in hopes that your future auditions leave the casting room with a positive experience and you are remembered.

1. Not all representation is good representation. One guy had a 3:10 audition and showed at 4:30. When I asked him why he was so late he told me his agent just informed him of the audition. He had the sides but didn't have the character breakdown so he didn't know how to begin to play the character. When I gave him instruction that he was to start his song right after his read, he looked like a deer caught in the headlights - he had not been told singing was required. He told me this was his first agent and he just got him/her. It wasn't the actors fault, but not a good look none-the-less and it really flustered this actor. He wound up not auditioning. Do not jump at the first person or agency that wants to represent you. Remember they work for you so interview them. Make sure they present you in a positive light and will set you up for success.

2. I was in contact with a publicist about her client. She sent me a bio and I sent her over what her client needed for an audition and a request for an actual head shot/resume. I never heard back from her. Her client shows up at the audition. He was not scheduled and I did not expect him. He had no head shot and resume with him. Again, not his fault, but not the best start to an audition.

Now let's talk about head shots and resumes. I am surprised how many actors do not practice this basic step in their careers. If you emailed a prospective employer your resume and were called in for an interview wouldn't you still bring a copy of your resume to the interview - several copies in fact? Well your career as an actor is no different and when you come to an audition unprepared that sends up red flags.

Many actors think no one uses hard copies of head shots/resumes any more. That is untrue. In some cases we still do so you must be prepared. If the CD doesn't need it they will tell you - then GREAT you can take it back home.

If you have never sat in a casting session let me explain WHY you want to have your head shot/resume with you even if you have sent it electronically. This even goes for you actors who are friends of mine or who I have seen auditions before.

1) You never know who else will be in that audition room besides the person who got the electronic copy. If it's the Producer or Director, they are going to want to review your credits while you are in the room - and you want them to have access to that information immediately, right?

2) Casting sessions are very long days for us and we do discuss certain actors during the day. After seeing dozens of actors we sometimes need to reference back to you, but if there is no head shot you may be forgotten.

3) Many times if the Director or Producer are present, after the last audition, we will spread the head shots out across the table and have discussions on who we liked and who would look good with who in the cast. You ABSOLUTELY want your head shot in the mix for that discussion.

4) I personally write notes on the head shots so that if you do not get this specific job I still have your head shot for other projects and I have notes on you which makes it easier for me to know to pull you in the next time. THIS IS HUGE!

I hope this information/insight is helpful. I sincerely wish each of you actors all the best when you enter an audition room!

I have some pointers on head shots/resumes and the submission process that I will share with you all in the future.