Tips for making the most of your next audition
The goal of the casting director is to work on behalf of the producer and in line with the director, choreographer and other creatives in charge of a production, to find a cast that fulfils the wants and needs of the production. Casting can be a hugely complex and time-consuming process, so Pearson Casting’s James Pearson gave us the insider guide at our recent Liverpool Open House.
Remember that you are your own business.
Here are the top take away hints on what you can do to make the audition process as positive as possible:
1. Have an accurate headshot
As James points out, if you’re about to go get a drastic new hairdo, keep this in mind: it’s not just the haircut you’ll be paying for, but new headshots as well! Your headshot has to be accurate – walking in with a dramatic new look when a casting director has picked you off the basis of an old headshot is not good form.
2. Have several monologues ready
It’s good to have some Shakespeare, something contemporary and something comedic ready. This is really to ensure you’re able to show the best of yourself in your audition – give the casting director the chance to see where your skills lie, and demonstrate your abilities to their fullest. It’s all about being ready for whatever is asked for on the day.
3. Never contact via social media
James notes that many people do try to contact him via social media, something he would discourage. “I won’t answer social media messages, unless we already have a relationship,” he says. Social media can seem like an easier and more direct way to contact a casting director, but it also feels less professional. Stick to an email in the first instance.
4. Email intelligently
When it does come to emailing a casting director, make sure that you include all the requisite information and word your email carefully. Be polite, show that you have done your research and make sure your Spotlight profile is up to date. “Just link to your Spotlight profile – everything should be there, in one place,” he advises. Don’t attach a large CV or headshot file; they clog up inboxes, and images are often skewed or too large to see, making it a fuss for the casting director to view them. Keep in mind that casting directors often have hundreds of actor profiles and CVs to view, so if yours is too difficult to access, it may be overlooked.
5. Make it as easy as possible for them
Following on from this, it is really helpful to make your application as easy and speedy to view as possible. If there’s a particular part of your showreel that is especially relevant to the role, make sure you mention that in your email. E.g., “There is an example of my comedy work at 1:12…” Just giving a few hints can help the casting director see the relevant information quickly and your effort will be appreciated to make their lives easier.
6. Have everything included – don’t omit important elements!
Don’t send incomplete CVs, or apply to roles with only part of the information requested – you have to have everything! After all, between two very similar candidates, the one that doesn’t follow instructions is not helping themselves in achieving their goals.
7. Get to know everyone you can
Make as many connections as possible in the industry – you never know what might come of it! That means that it’s not just worth trying to get in touch with casting directors – producers, directors, writers, fellow actors and all other members of the industry are great to get to know!
8. It’s not always your talent that doesn’t get you the job
Keep in mind that casting is way more complicated than whether or not you are talented enough for the job – the actor has to fit within a much larger cast, and this multiplies with all the larger factors in play when the casting director is making a decision. It can be hard to keep in mind just how large and varied a cast is, but it is an important thing to remember if you feel you personally lost out. Chances are you didn’t; there are a dozen other considerations beyond whether or not you were the most talented person for the job.
“Remember that you are your own business,” James says, which means keeping all elements of your CV, headshots, showreels, voice reels, etc, up to date as much as possible. It’s also about presenting yourself as polished, professional and positive – give yourself the best chance to be cast by being organised and up to date in all your essentials.
Pearson Casting are a freelance casting company based in Liverpool, England.
Recent credits include – ‘Cartoon Network Live’ – India & Middle Eastern tour. ‘Anything Goes’ – (6 Offie nominations including – Best Male & Best Female performer and Best Supporting Male) Upstairs At The Gatehouse, London. ’Secrets’ – The Epstein Theatre, Liverpool. ’Shout! The Mod Musical’ starring Liz McClarnon, Suzanne Shaw, Niki Evans, Amelia Lilly and Helena Blackman – Winter Gardens, Peter Frosdick Productions. ‘Adam, Eve and Steve’ – Kings Head, London & C Venues, Edinburgh, Elva Corrie/Max Emmerson. ’The Return of Neverland’ – UK Tour, Make Believe Productions. ‘A Christmas Carol’ starring Paul Nicholas – Winter Gardens, Peter Frosdick Productions. ‘Legally Blonde The Musical’ – Aberystwyth Arts Centre. ‘The Girl In The Yellow Dress’ – David Gilmour/Hypgnosis. ‘Loserville’ – JDG Productions and An unnamed project for Dutch TV & Film Company – No Pictures Please.
They are also the UK Casting Directors for Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceana Cruise Line and Regent Seven Seas, casting ‘Rock of Ages’, ‘Legally Blonde’, ‘Shout! The Mod Musical’, ‘The Look Of Love’, ‘Paradis’, ‘Burn The Floor’, ‘Wine Lovers The Musical’ and ‘Vegas The Show!’ for Norwegian Cruise Line as well as being responsible for finding Norwegian Cruise Line’s, RWS Entertainment Group’s (Holland America Line), Oceana Cruise Line’s and Regent Seven Seas’ Principal Production vocalists and dancers.
Current projects – UK Arena Tour – ‘Heaven On Earth’ starring Kerry Ellis and Hugh Maynard as Adam and Eve.