How Casting Directors Use Social Media to Find Actors

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Photo Source: Margaux Quayle Cannon

You’re all aware of how to use social media to find acting jobs and connect with filmmakers and casting directors. But let’s flip the script and talk about what it’s like on my end. There are ways CDs use social media to cast their projects, too!

I use the usual online sources to cast my projects (Breakdown Services, Backstage, YouTube, etc.). But sometimes I need to dig deeper when I’m doing a big search. This is where the internet comes in. I joined Twitter in 2009, kicking and screaming. I just didn’t see the point, and I surely didn’t understand the power of it. “Why do I need to know what kind of sandwich you had today?” Boy, was I shocked at the width and breadth of that platform.

When I was casting my movie “The Sublime and Beautiful,” I was contacted by an actor in Los Angeles who had been following me on Twitter and Facebook. She said she could be considered a “local hire,” and were there any roles for her? (We were shooting on location in Lawrence, Kansas, and didn’t have the budget to bring in actors from L.A., aside from the lead characters.) She sent her demo reel, and within the week, we had auditioned her and hired her for a pivotal role in the movie. Here’s what she did right: She used good Twitter etiquette. She was polite and had already established a sort of “relationship” with me on Twitter and Facebook before tweeting her request to me.

Several years ago, I was casting a TV pilot for Paul Reiser to star in. I had to find an actor to play the role of his son, who used a wheelchair. On Twitter, I reached out to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, which provided me with many national resources to help me in my search. We sent out a press release and created a website to receive the self-tapes. At first it was a bit overwhelming, but because it was a finite group of boys of the right age who used a wheelchair and could act, it narrowed down pretty quickly.

If you’re a casting director who’s going to tweet or use Facebook about an upcoming project, be specific about your needs, set a deadline, use an alternate email address (don’t use your personal one!), and be ready to wade through thousands of submissions. I also sometimes use Instagram. There, you can post a detailed flyer with all the info for your search, but, unfortunately, it doesn’t allow you to post hyperlinks in posts, so you’ll have to link to your website in your profile bio.

READ: Do Casting Directors Care About Social Media?

Since I have a decent number of followers on Twitter, I’ve often had CDs ask me to send out a casting notice for them so it’ll get more eyeballs. I did this last year for the new “West Side Story.” Little did I know that I would then be besieged on Twitter and email by thousands of actors vying for a role. My tweet was quoted in publications worldwide! The problem was that I wasn’t the one casting the project. My colleague had neglected to note that she was the casting director on the flyer, so everyone assumed it was me. Word to the wise: Make sure to include all the specific and relevant information in your tweet. It was a lesson learned.

This story originally appeared in the April 2 issue of Backstage Magazine. Subscribe here.

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Marci Liroff
Known for her work in film and television, producer and casting director Marci Liroff has worked with some of the most successful directors in the world. Liroff is also an acting coach, and her three-night Audition Bootcamp has empowered actors to view the audition process in a new light.
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