It always baffles me when I hear actors speak about Casting Directors as “the enemy” or a “road block” to booking the job. While the audition room can be an intimidating place, and the person opposite you isn’t always warm and fluffy, that does not mean that Casting Directors are rooting against your success.
With that in mind, here are TEN things to remember about us kindly Casting folks:
1. We WANT you to be “the one”: If you are invited to read, whether it be in person or via self-tape, we are envisioning you as a real option for that role. Nothing is more satisfying to a Casting Director than an actor who absolutely nails an audition/redirect, because it validates our creative genius [brushes dust off shoulders] and it means our work on that role is done.
2. We’ve selected you out of THOUSANDS of submissions: if you’ve made it in to the audition room, we already like you. (See #1.) We’ve culled down our choices from hundreds or thousands down to very few. We have to be a fan to give you one of those coveted spots. Walk into the room (or tape) with the confidence of knowing that Casting digs your work.
3. We have bad days, too: there are many aspects to a Casting Director’s job, and (shockingly) not all of them are fun. Beyond being creative and engaging with actors in the audition room, we are also up against crazy deadlines, we have producers/directors/executives all of whom might have a differing opinion on a character, we are constantly needing information from or in tough negotiations with reps, and on top of that, we are human beings with our own personal shit. Forgive us if we aren’t overly friendly when you walk into the room. We’ve got a lot on our plates.
4. If we request a self-tape instead of a live audition, it doesn’t make us any less interested in you: there are only so many hours in the day to read people and watch tapes. As such, we don’t throw out self-tape requests willy-nilly. If your rep doesn’t get you in live, but DOES get you a self-tape request, it means that we are interested to see your take on the role. Take it as a good sign (see #2.)
5. We all enjoy and appreciate actors: there is no way you can get into casting without loving actors. We love what you are capable of, and we love that you are fearless in pursuit of truth and beauty. We may not always be able to match your abundant energy, but that doesn’t mean we dislike being around you.
6. If we’re passionate about an actor for a role, we will work our BUTTS off until everyone else sees it, too: I’ve edited reels, spent hours looking for and ripping additional footage, put together photo collages, re-read actors multiple times to get an EXACT take… And I’m sure every Casting Director you meet will have similar stories of the hurdles they’ve jumped to get an actor hired.
7. If we aren’t in the room for your read, assume there’s a good reason: Casting Directors are constantly being pulled in 18 different directions at once. We’ve got conference calls, and emails, and deals in process, and self-tapes coming in, and oh yeah, sometimes we need to use the restroom. Also, occasionally, we just need a break from the audition room. If it’s your turn to read and the CD steps out and has a member of their staff read you instead, it is by no means a sign of disrespect or disinterest. We do this because we trust our staff to guide you, and we trust you to be make strong choices, and to be open-minded and professional. We will gladly watch your tape after the session.
8. If you only get one take, don’t assume it’s because we hated what you did: hey, guess what? Sometimes you nail it on the first take. Sometimes we find you very interesting, but just not right. Both of these are reasons why we might not have you read a scene again.
9. When you are in our audition room, we are not your parents/therapists/spouses/acting coaches: we may adore you and even be real/social friends, but when you come to audition, we want to see you work. We are there to guide you through the material, not coach you on career obstacles or coddle you when you mess up. Remember, we have crazy deadlines and likely a waiting room full of people. We care about you, but when you’re in our room, we want to keep things (warmly) professional.
10. Do good work, and we will find you: these days, because there are so many mediums (TV, film, shorts, web series, theatre, etc.) actors are always seem concerned that they will never be seen or discovered. If you are doing strong, exciting work, then somehow, someway, we will see it. If you build it, we will come. Every time.