Recently, one of my Casting colleagues lamented that she wished actors knew how hard we work for them. It made me realize that there’s a whole mountain of activity we Casting Directors do that actors (and other industry folk) really aren’t privy to.
So here is a brief list, specific to the things we do to help actors get the job. By no means is it limited to the below, nor do we do all of these things on a daily basis. It also doesn’t include the obvious: run auditions/watch tapes, provide direction, etc.:
1. Edit your reel/self-tape/audition clips to best present you to producers.
2. Pull photos of you from any/everywhere on the internet that are character/world appropriate to help people with their imaginations.
3. Make collages of you with other cast members for the sake of resemblance and/or to help people see a fuller picture of the beautiful people in contention.
4. Re-style you in the audition room, (change your hair, remove your jewelry, have you put on our jacket, etc.) to better reflect the character.
5. Download your tapes and reels/Upload your tapes and reels/Sync clips/Check that the video plays/Re-order your scenes so the first clip up is the strongest/Repeat – all day, every day.
6. Write blog posts/tweet/do panels/teach classes to help demystify the process and give you confidence when you go to audition.
7. GUSH about you to our producers and to your reps.
8. Liaise between studio/network execs, our producers, your reps CONSTANTLY so everyone is looped in and nobody loses an opportunity or an actor they love.
9. Look up flights online to prove to our line producer that there IS a way to get you to set in time to wardrobe/shoot.
10. Provide constructive, workshop-like notes for re-tapes when the director says, “Just have them tape again,” and leaves it at that.
11. Advocate for more roles to be open to any gender, any ethnicity, any physical ability.
12. Provide other deeply talented, realistic options when our wide-eyed, passionate director says they want Anthony Hopkins to do a scale role.
13. Keep files of actors FOREVER (online, hard copy, in our brains, etc.) so we can keep tabs on our favorite people and see them as often as possible.
14. Work with our production and your other project to make sure you can logistically work on both and that everyone is protected from flight delays/weather issues/etc.
15. Push production for more money for you.
16. Strenuously recommend fewer pages of sides for the first rounds of auditions.
17. Make sure you have all the information possible to succeed when you go in to meet/read, including, but not limited to parking instructions, all producer names and/or credits, word pronunciations, a page of terminology and references when you can’t have a full script, a phone call/audition/meeting with us beforehand to answer questions and so you know you have an advocate in the room.
18. Put our feelings in a box when we are having a super shitty day because we know that you get your energy from us in the audition room.
19. Show up on a Saturday because we KNOW you are the right person and that’s the only day you have available to read/meet before leaving town.
20. Don’t mention the things on this list because it’s part of our job and we don’t think of any of this as out of the ordinary.
**Photo courtesy of one very special post-pilot season affair, hosted by the always-wonderful Yesi Ramirez, where a bunch of us stressed Casting folk got to let loose and show off our goofy sides.**