Sunday, October 12, 2014

Casting Turn-Ons and Turn-Offs Part 2

Seven years ago, I wrote this post chronicling a few "turn-ons" and "turn-offs" in casting. For the Halina casting, I've received about 10 times the amount of submissions as Purgatory Comics. It's very exciting! But as the process moves forward, a few issues have popped up here and there. I compared notes with some other filmmakers - including DP Mike who's also casting a project - and they're seeing some of the same issues.

So now, seven years later, I bring you PART TWO of Casting Turn-Ons and Turn-Offs


1.  Don't submit to things blindly; read the casting notice. You're an actor. And you want to get your face out there as much as possible, and it's time-consuming. I get it. But here's the thing: if you're just blindly submitting to projects, and then you decide it's not for you after my casting director reaches out to you, then you're part of the problem. Don't just submit to every project. Read them and pick the ones that are right for you. Don't submit to projects when it provides dates you can't make. Don't submit to projects you're not interested in. Don't waste everyone's time. On a similar note . . .

2.  Follow the submission directions. If I cast for non-union and I see that you're union, I'm immediately moving on. You might have a nice face, but I'm not changing my entire production for it. This goes hand-in-hand with the above point. The thing is, too many actors are taking these buckshots and not following directions. And guess what? I'm a director . . . if you can't follow my directions, why would I ever want to direct you?

 3. FOLLOW THE SUBMISSION DIRECTIONS. If I ask you to submit via a special e-mail address, then that's the only e-mail address I'm checking. Writing me through my LinkedIn, my blog, my Facebook, etc is not giving you a one-up. Actually it's irritating me. Go through the requested channels and you will be evaluated. 

4. Selfies are not headshots. When I see a "selfie" either mixed in with headshots, or as the only headshot, I immediately think "amateur." In fact, I'm not sure anything makes me think "amateur" faster. 

5. Broken Links. Make sure all those links you're supplying for your reels and web sites still work! 

6. You're not Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie. We have to work together, and work hard, and put up with some difficulties and sacrifices along the way. We have to be humble, cooperative and friendly. There's no room for divas at this level. There are no demands. And there's a lot of work. So be nice and leave your ego at home, because nobody knows who we are. I'll do the same and I swear we'll have fun and make awesome art.


1. A good video reel goes far. You look great in your headshot, but so does everybody else. At best, a headshot provides a super general idea of your "look," but it doesn't tell me much beyond that. Nothing beats a good video reel.

Yes, a reel shows off your acting chops, but it also shows a lot more: what you really look like, what you sound like, and how you interact with other actors. In this day and age, reels are easier and more important than ever. Here are some other quick tips on the subject.
  • Keep it short. A few minutes is enough. I've got a LOT of reels to look at.
  • Show up in the reel, right away. It may seem obvious, but I'm seeing reels that show other actors for maybe a minute before the submitting actor shows up. 
  • TALK IN IT. I'm getting a lot of reels that are basically music video montages. Not the most helpful. I need to hear your voice.
2. Web sites are great! I love checking out actors' web sites when they're listed. Just make sure your site is easy to navigate and represents your talents, and it will be one of your most powerful tools.

3. Everything, up front. My casting application gets a lot of important information out of the way, including an actors' availability around the shoot. It's a chance for the actor to unload information like "I have a wedding to attend this day" or "I'll be out of town this week." It's a real good sign when an actor gives a strong sense of schedule, and then sticks to it. Yes, things pop up. Just do the best you can.

4. Take good direction. I don't expect people to just come in and nail a scene. I'm more interested in seeing their acting, and how they take my direction. That's why I usually do more than one script run-through at auditions. So when an actor is trying to use my direction (even if it's still not a perfect performance), points!

5. Have fun! Hey it's half the reason we're doing this.

No comments: