Becoming a successful actor is often about getting in front of the right casting director at the right time. The perfect role may be out there somewhere, but you must be ready to apply yourself to the call. Open calls, or what they sometimes call casting calls, are preproduction meetings where the director is looking for the specific actors for roles within a movie, play or television project.
While a casting from a large agency can be exciting, there are also people out there who create fake castings to take advantage of others. It is essential to know not every casting announcement is a legitimate call for actors. Safety is the most important thing to consider when casting does not seem to be real or handled in a professional manner.
What Is A Casting Call?
Casting calls usually start with a public request for actors to come audition for a role or upcoming project. The first step in applying for a part is often the submission of headshots and an acting resume. There are other times a production company may ask those interested in a role to create a short video about themselves. This is often the case for reality television castings since it is more about the individual in that case
Precise Details for each Role
When larger productions put out a request for actors, they usually come with some precise details for each role they are looking to fill. It is essential to make sure you are only replying to castings you fit within these guidelines. For example, if they are casting four teenage girls for a television show, it is not a wise use of your time to send in a headshot if you are a 30-year-old man.
Get an appointment to Audition in Person
After the directors receive the headshots and resumes, they will sort through them. Making the first cut means you might get an appointment to audition in person. Many actors may try to sneak into a casting without an appointment, but this rarely does anything beyond upsetting the staff. Each actor signs in as they arrive at casting calls, so they will know if you do not have an appointment.
There are some larger castings open to the public and do not require an interview. You can tell the difference between this casting and one where you need an appointment by the text of the press release. When they ask for actors to submit headshots and resumes before the casting, this is usually a signal they will set appointments with anyone they are interested in auditioning.
How To Find Casting Calls
There is a variety of ways to find real casting calls, but first, one needs to know there are just as many fake postings out there. Sadly, some people prey on unsuspecting actors with fake ads. This may include finding posts for modeling calls on classified ad websites. There are also people who approach younger females in public places with a business card that appears to be from a casting company.
How to Determine a Real Casting Calls
These casting calls are often at a private residence or a hotel room. This is a huge red flag because most real casting calls will happen in a rented space like a conference room or the office space for a larger production company. It is safe to assume a casting director is asking you to come to their house is not offering anything beyond a dangerous situation. They may not even be a casting director.
Weeding through the fake ads and strangers offering to jump start your acting career takes practice. There are also some companies that try to sell budding actors and parents of children wanting to get into the business sets of expensive acting classes and headshots. This also may look like casting calls, but they are not. Even things like contests that offer acting or modeling contracts with substantial entrance fees may masquerade as an open call.
How Much it Cost to Apply for a Casting Call
Open calls rarely cost money to apply. While it is helpful to have professional headshots taken, this is also not always needed. The most important part about answering a casting notice is to follow their directions in submitting materials.
Finding casting announcements need not be a complicated process. Depending on the role you are looking for, it may be as simple as connecting with local companies that source actors for productions. Many times these companies are active on social media. Following them on Twitter and connecting on Facebook is a first step in finding out what they are looking for.
Different Casting Calls for Different Roles
Where to look for casting calls also depends on the production you are hoping to join. For example, if you are hoping to become the next big reality television star, keep an eye out for a local all-calls for casting. Companies that cast for upcoming seasons of any show often include casting updates on the website for the network or show.
Get on with Newsletter Email List
For those who want to attend castings for theater work, contacting the local theaters to get on their newsletter email list often helps. In cities like New York City or Los Angeles, there are also small newspapers that list ads for upcoming shows in need of actors.
Film roles up for grabs are also often listed on either the website that handles the castings or in newspapers for actors. Some actors also use an agent not only to represent them but also keep them up to date about future casting activities. An agent works for a company that sends actors out to this event, so they often get notice of castings directly from the casting companies.
Everything You Need to Know About Castings
Here are some Do's and Don'ts for castings:
Staying well informed about upcoming castings is a vital part of becoming a working actor. Some of the best ways to do this start with a simple follow on social media or signing up for a newsletter from a variety of casting companies. This is also a great way to avoid fake castings that are meant to put you in a harmful situation.
Deciding if a Casting is Real and Worth Your Time
Safety is the most critical factor when deciding if a casting is real and worth your time. Being aware of the exact location of a casting is essential before traveling alone to a casting. With the internet it is easy to find a picture of the area, so you know if it is a business, conference space or something unsavory like a hotel room. No casting is worth putting your safety at risk if the situation is questionable.
It is important to remember for professional castings there is almost always a reason they ask you to dress a certain way or prepare something to present. Following directions to wear leggings, a tank top and dance heels for a casting for a Broadway musical prepare you to learn and show a short dance piece. Being able to follow directions also indicates the casting team you are easy to work with. It is a mistake not to follow any request they make as far as dressing for the casting.
For castings that list no special requirements as far as the way you dress, it is safe to arrive in business casual. It is possible to stand out in a wrong way because you overdressed for a casting or appeared in some odd costume that overshadowed your audition. You want to show the casting team you are a professional actor with the talent to fit into the role they are looking to cast.