What You Need to Know About Open Casting Calls

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Today’s world is definitely one of opportunity, especially when it comes to art and entertainment. The world of high profile acting was never as open to those who don’t come from a high profile background or study at expensive New York or Los Angeles acting schools. Getting your acting career on the roll is probably as much about training as it is about grabbing the right opportunities at the right moments.

Open casting calls are the most useful tools for those who are feeling capable that they can make an immediate impact upon their acting careers, but aren’t well-enough known to get invited to usual castings. They might also prove to be an opportunity to score your name into onto a big production even with an almost insignificant role – it’s still a thing to boast over and usually gets you good pay when compared to the amount of work you have to do. And even if you don’t manage to grab the jobs, you’ll at least get acquainted with directors and get to know what they appreciate – making you have better chances of success with every casting you attend.

Example of an open casting call poster, looking for young boys to star in a family movie.
Example of an open casting call poster, looking for young boys to star in a family movie.

How do you find open casting calls?

Firstly, to make sure we’re on the same terms – open casting calls are the types of casting which can be attended by anyone. That’s right, it doesn’t matter if you’re a physics teacher from a town in Michigan or a ski instructor from Philadelphia; everyone can give it a try and hope for the best. This seems like more competition at a first glance, but think of it this way: the overall quality of casting attendants will be lower, and this means that you have more chances of sticking out from the crowd if you have the talent.

Finding such auditions used to be quite a niche process back in the day, but the rise of the online streamlined to just a couple of clicks. Sites like ActorsAccess or Backstage display a wide array of such auditions, ranging from indie movies to multimillion dollar budget blockbusters all over the country – be it Dallas, San Francisco, Boston or other locations (though in some cases the more important casting calls are hidden behind a pay wall – meaning you need special types of membership on those sites).

But before noting yourself the time and date of the audition, be sure to take a look at the role’s breakdown, which normally should be posted in the announcement. This is basically a summary of the available roles within the picture, and the most important thing is to at least resemble one of them by physical aspect – you can’t really hope to get a female role as a male, now. There might also be slight details posted about the character, giving you a hint towards the mindset you should approach the audition with.

Disney Auditions

If you’re really looking to see how professional open casting calls are held, then you should try attending a Disney one. It’s not really as complicated as it sounds; Disney actually holds several large open casting calls at multiple points throughout the year, all over the country. If there’s some kind of opportunity in your area, you’ll surely get wind of it; they don’t downplay it as they want as many people to show up for them as possible. It doesn’t hurt checking their site periodically though.

One of the most famous recent examples happened throughout 2013 and 2014, when a season of massive casting calls involving tens of thousands were held for the very anticipated next Star Wars movie, with two mostly unknown actors ending up being cast in what appears to be as key roles. This was also manner in which the most beloved original cast for the 70’s series was also found.

So, how do you go about a Disney open casting call to maximize your chances of being noticed? Well, if you don’t really manage to fit in, you can’t do much to convince them of your real talent. However, there are certain aspects which you could be sure to do to stick out of the crowd. The most essential thing is to make sure that you get there about a quarter of an hour before the time your audition was scheduled for; being late might not only cost you the chance of proving yourself, but might even give you a bad reputation for it.

Also, don’t forget to bring an actor resume and the best headshots you can afford. You’ll hand them over to Disney employees, who are required to keep them and, who knows, might even call you up for other auditions that fit your profile. The audition itself is done in an enclosed area, so you’re pretty much going to be there on your own. Don’t worry though, Disney employees present there will make it so that the whole thing will be less intimidating than it appears.

Now the specifics of what you’ll be required to do depends on the nature of the role; but generally, Disney requires auditioned actors to come prepared with a comedic monologue lasting no more than a minute. Timing there is essential, as you’ll be stopped if you pass that minute mark; making a complete monologue will leave a better impression than a cut-off one.

Example of a color version of a casting call flyer.
Example of a color version of a casting call flyer.

TV Shows auditions

Another type of popular open auditions are those for entertainment shows. Channels like MTV, CBS or NBC hold them nationwide on a regular basis; even Nickeloden holds them for teens, kids and babies. In these open casting calls, it’ll probably be less about your acting skills and more about your overall charisma; particularly if you’re auditioning for reality shows.

Shows like The Amazing Race or Big Brother do massive cast periods in a multitude of locations and they require less an actor and more a believable, interesting and fun-to-watch human being. Other shows have other requirements, depending on their target: America’s Got Talent is self-explanatory, The X-Factor will look for competent singers and so forth.

This might not really be what you had in mind when you picked acting as the main focus of your career, but the truth is this type of shows grant two things which are extremely appreciated in any form of entertainment today: image and exposure. They will fit great onto your resume are also good places to be observed; you’d be surprised on how major production companies also keep tabs on the TV entertainment industry for their next star. They also pay decently, and might even end up with a big prize if you manage to win their respective competitions.

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