The CORRECT WAY to Apply to Casting Calls
Sending applications without photos, being rude to casting directors, applying to casting calls THOUSANDS of miles away, submitting applications for unfitting roles, not showing up to auditions, failing to follow basic instructions...
Too often we hear these complaints from casting directors. Any of the things listed above will likely get an application rejected on the spot, so the talent is not only wasting the casting director's time but their own as well.
Seems silly, right? It takes less than 5 minutes to make an application perfect and increase the chance of getting a callback by 500%, but most people just don't bother.
Well, this lesson is for those of you who WANT & DESERVE to become a working actor. Let's make sure your applications don't get rejected and let's make casting directors want to work with you. Let's talk about the CORRECT way to apply to casting calls on allcasting.
Understanding the Casting Call
Nowadays, people tend to skim information, rather than read it closely. I do too - guilty as charged. We quickly go over information, picking up on points that catch our attention. Unfortunately, we miss a lot of details this way, some more important, some less.
When it comes to casting call descriptions, you need to break the habit of inattentive reading. Study the casting calls carefully and absorb every last detail the casting director has given - just because you opened the casting call and saw that you're a full match, it doesn't mean you'll be perfect for the part.
Here are 3 things you need to pay particularly close attention to:
Applying for a role if you're a full match is a no-brainer, right? Well, be careful. Here's an example that ACTUALLY happened:
A 23-27-year-old caucasian guy, let's call him Mr. X, applied for a role for which he was technically a full match. It was a role for a hacker in a movie, and the description asked for a 20-30-year-old, lanky, skinny, pale caucasian male.
Mr. X. didn't get the role and sent us at allcasting an email venting his frustration that he didn't even get a message back from the casting director even though he was perfect for the role.
After a quick look at Mr. X.'s profile, we noticed that he's a muscular, tanned guy. Despite Mr. X. fitting half the criteria, clearly this isn't what the casting director is after. If Mr. X. had thoroughly read the casting call description, he would've understood that the likelihood of him getting the role was slim to none.
The point of this parable is that you need to take into consideration ALL the requirements set forth by the casting director. Mr. X. failed to do that and as a result got his hopes up, ended up wasting his time, the casting director's time, and our time.
Pay close attention to the information given and make sure you're a fit.
This is the most common mistake made by talents - applying to far away casting calls that they CANNOT or WILL NOT attend.
Are you serious about getting into acting and modeling? Then I'm sure you're ready to spend 4-5 hours on the road for a great gig. But applying for a gig on the other coast, thousands of miles away? That's ridiculous. Sadly, I can tell you that it happens more often than you might think. In fact, it happens so often that casting directors make a point to say things like:
Plus, even the 4-5 hour drives are too much for most people. So check and double-check the location. If there's a gig in Denver, but you're from Seattle, chances are your submission will go directly into the casting director's trash can.
If you're truly willing to travel, then make sure to specify that to the casting director in your submission email or comments. Otherwise, don't bother wasting both your and the casting director's time.
Times & Dates
Oftentimes, casting directors specify casting and/or filming dates in the casting call description. Before applying to a casting call you need to be certain you'll be available. Got a trip planned that weekend? Your child's got a school play you have to attend? Then maybe let this one pass.
If you apply and end up being a no-show, the only thing you'll achieve is getting on that casting director's blacklist. So make sure your schedule is clear, or at the very least - flexible.
Make sure to study the casting call very closely. Pay attention to the requirements, location, and dates. There is no point applying, if you don't fit the description, live too far away, or can't make the casting/filming. If you do, it's going to be an immediate rejection from the casting director and you'll have wasted time and hope.
Treating Casting Directors Right
Casting directors are your gateway into the world of showbiz. Treat them and their time with the respect they deserve.
You want to be a professional actor or model? Then act like it. Show that you're ready to put the work in, that you care about the project, that you can take direction well, and that you're here to create something amazing. If you act entitled, or worse yet, rude, then the casting director simply won't have the patience to deal with you.
If you think you're talented, put on this earth to act, and deserve the part, demonstrate that to the casting director through hard work and dedication. Be humble, be proactive, be direct, be polite, be responsive - those are the most important traits of a professional actor.
Show up on time, don't ask to reschedule, don't go missing, inform the casting director ahead of time about your availability, respond promptly - make sure the casting director can depend on you.
Actors, especially aspiring ones, are a flaky bunch. One day they're all about TV shows, the next they've got a modeling gig, the day after they've decided to be a movie star, and the day after that they suddenly changed their mind about being an actor.
You can go a long way in the world of entertainment simply by being a solid performer that shows up to auditions and establishes good relationships with casting directors. This is particularly important when your acting journey is at an early stage.
Don't Waste Time
“Be direct” was mentioned above, but it bears repeating. Everything in a filming/casting project costs money - renting equipment, renting space, wardrobes, crew pay, and more. Most expenses are time-sensitive, so the more time you can save, the lower the cost of production, the happier the people in charge.
By being direct & straight-forward in your application and communication, you're telling the casting director that you respect their time and understand that it's valuable. So avoid over-indulgent backstories, lengthy letters about how passionate you are for this project, or anything else of the sorts. Your application should be as straight-forward as possible.
Your goal is twofold: 1. Give as much information (measurements, experiences, etc.) about yourself, in as little time as possible; 2. Be memorable.
The best way to achieve #2 without affecting #1? Fantastic headshots that make casting directors go “Woah, this girl/guy's a pro”.
Be humble, dependable, and to the point. The easier you're to work with, the more likely a casting director will want to do just that. When applying to casting calls, keep your applications short and informative. And if you tell the casting director you'll be there, then you better keep your word.
The Perfect Application Email
At the end of the day, it's difficult to show how dependable, dedicated, hard-working you are through a single application email. You can greatly improve your chances of getting a callback by applying to roles you're perfect for (as discussed in section 1) and treating the casting director right (as discussed in section 2). But, ultimately, you need to send an email. Here's the correct way to do it.
The Subject Line
It's common for casting directors to specify within the casting call what you should include in the subject line.
Pay close attention, because getting the subject line wrong is like going to a job interview with Mark, but calling them Peter throughout the interview - they'll think you're an idiot. Plus, there's a chance the casting director simply doesn't open your email.
So double-, even triple-check the casting call description and if there's a subject line specified, make sure you get it right for your application email.
If there's no subject line specified, go for: “Submission for [PROJECT NAME] project”.
The Email Text
Here's a template that's straight to the point, is courteous, and tells the casting director everything they need to know:
Hello, My name's Jessica Bartlett and I would like to be considered for the role of [ROLE NAME] for your project.
Based in: Los Angeles
Phone nr.: (123)123-1234
You can view my portfolio & more info on my allcasting profile. I have attached my Comp Card to this email.
Thank you for your consideration, Jessica Bartlett
Adapt the email to make it work for you. Don't have an Instagram? Don't include it or perhaps replace it with your Facebook! Attached a headshot instead of your comp card? Just say so.
The great thing about having a template for your applications is that once you've created it, you can re-use it every time you apply for a new role and just change the [ROLE NAME] part.
The Attached Media
The 3 most important photos the casting director wants to see are your headshot, side-view, and full-height photos. Those 3 are exactly the ones that appear in your comp card! Download yours by heading to your allcasting profile and clicking "Download PDF comp card" below the "Edit Profile" button.
The comp card is the perfect thing to attach to your email, as it also features your personal info and gives the casting director an all-in-one package of everything they need to know about you, along with your contact details.
If, for whatever reason, you rather attach photos directly, make sure to only include 3-4 of your very best photos. One of those MUST BE a headshot. And for these photos, the regular requirements stand - no filters, high quality, good lighting, etc.
Here's what the perfect email looks like. Just adapt it and you're good to go!
Did a lot of these things seem obvious to you? Were you reading this and thinking “OF COURSE I should apply to local casting calls, DUH” and “OBVIOUSLY, I shouldn't act like an entitled lump of human flesh”, and “CLEARLY, I'll get the subject line right, it's so EASY”?
Well, let me tell you, if you do the things outlined in this article, you'll be ahead of half the applicants that the casting director go through. Yes, for doing a few obvious and easy things that take no more than 5 minutes, you'll significantly increase your chances of getting cast. Most people don't and are never invited to an audition or gig. Use that to your advantage!
There's a casting call you're perfect for. Discover it today and put your newfound knowledge and skill to use to make sure the casting director UNDERSTANDS that you're the perfect fit: