How to Audition for Showtime

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Photo Source: Kurt Iswarienkon/Marc Hom/Shaniqwa Jarvis/Brendan Meadows/SHOWTIME

From “The Affair” to “Ziwe” to the buzzy “Yellowjackets,” Showtime has something for every mood. So it’s no surprise that the premium cable network draws talent from far and wide, and has cast A-list stars like Viola Davis (“The First Lady”), Patricia Arquette (“Escape at Dannemora”), and Kirsten Dunst (“On Becoming a God in Central Florida”). But what does it take to land a part in one of Showtime’s impressive ensembles?

In this in-depth guide, we’ll share how the casting process works for the network’s hottest titles. Plus, learn how to impress the network’s seasoned casting directors and audition tips from Showtime’s top talent.


How does the Showtime casting process work?


Production companies regularly employ their own casting directors, so the approach will vary from project to project according to the given group’s vision.

For the creators of “Yellowjackets,” the casting process was particularly tricky because they had so many characters to cast. As co-creator Bart Nickerson told E!, “It really felt like production was bearing down on us. And it was: ‘Oh, my God, we have so many roles to fill, and we are not finding the right people.’ But then it just all somehow comes together after hours and hours and hours.”

Nickerson’s co-creator (and wife) Ashley Lyle described the casting experience as “emotionally devastating,” as the abundance of talent made their decision-making process that much more difficult. “Early on, we said, ‘This is a really big challenge, and I think we really need to focus on the essence of the character as opposed to the specifics of their physicality,’ ” she said. “And in a weird way, by doing that, we ended up with actors who miraculously all could look a lot alike.”

That’s likely why Junie Lowry-Johnson and Libby Goldstein, the series’ casting directors, prefer to create a relaxing atmosphere for auditioning actors. “It’s a very relaxed atmosphere, and we are very casual. It’s who we are. And in the end, we think actors appreciate our relaxed vibe,” Goldstein explained. “It’s not too relaxed—you still have to do the work. But we sincerely hope the atmosphere makes it easier to achieve the best audition.” And that relaxed atmosphere includes Goldstein and Lowry-Johnson having their dogs in the room. “In an in-person audition, an actor can expect my dog Franny to be there, and sometimes Bobby, Junie’s dog. They are very sweet. Franny likes blond women, so she will often jump off the couch to kiss their feet. Bobby is usually fast asleep,” she said.

Ultimately, as Lowry-Johnson said, “We are always looking for the realness and the simpleness for the scene to elicit our getting involved emotionally, not witnessing someone overacting.” It’s the sentiment that’s at the core of most auditions, quite honestly.”

Which Showtime shows and movies are currently casting or filming?


To stay up-to-date on which Showtime series and movies are casting or filming, our in-depth guides on how to land roles on the network’s latest projects will help you tackle the audition process with ease.

We also share the latest news on what’s coming up at Showtime. For instance, we covered “Bridgerton” star Jonathan Bailey’s latest casting announcement as Matthew Bomer’s love interest on Showtime limited series “Fellow Travelers.” 

Also, we shared the news that Emmy nominee Kathryn Hahn will play Joan Rivers on “The Comeback Girl, a limited series produced by Warner Bros. Television, Atlas Entertainment, and Berlanti Productions for Showtime. The series will focus on the aftermath of the cancellation of “The Late Show Starring Joan Rivers,” which coincided with her husband’s suicide. Keep checking our casting news section for the latest developments.

Where can you find Showtime casting calls and auditions?

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When it comes time to cast an upcoming project, the network often turns to us. For instance, earlier this year, Showtime put out a casting call for extras on its upcoming series adaptation of the vampire film and novel “Let the Right One In.” Roman Candle Casting was seeking both male and female actors to portray upscale party guests. You can also check out our “Yellowjackets”-themed roundup.

However, keep in mind that having an agent remains the best way to stay on top of casting calls and production schedules. Don’t have representation yet? Here’s how you can find an agent who will meet your needs.

Who are the top Showtime casting directors, how can you impress them?


Here are some of the CDs leading the way on Showtime’s hit programming.

  • Junie Lowry-Johnson and Libby Goldstein (“True Blood,” “Six Feet Under”) cast “Yellowjackets” with an array of powerhouse women, including Melanie Lynskey, Juliette Lewis, and Christina Ricci.
  • Allison Estrin (“Inventing Anna,” “Super Pumped”) was responsible for casting the star-studded lineup of “Billions,” which includes A-listers like Paul Giamatti, Damian Lewis, and Condola Rashad.
  • Krista Husar (“Moon Knight,” “Twin Peaks”), Sarah Finn (“WandaVision,” “The Mandalorian”), and Jina Jay (“Black Mirror,” “The Undoing”) partnered to put together an all-star ensemble for “The First Lady,” which featured big names like Viola Davis, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Gillian Anderson.
  • John McAlary (“Trinkets,” “Unfriended”) helped reboot an iconic Showtime series with “The L Word: Generation Q,” bringing back original cast members like Jennifer Beals, Leisha Hailey, and Katherine Moennig as well as introducing newcomers including Arienne Mandi, Sepideh Moafi, and Rosanny Zayas.

But what does it take to impress these CDs? “Being prepared is the most important thing,” Estrin, who founded the Casting Collective, said. “And that does mean being off-book!” She also advised actors to remember that there are no small parts: “Come in and do it. A job is a job, and that always leads to more jobs.”

Goldstein and Lowry-Johnson have advice for actors on what not to do in the audition room. “I am just going to remind everyone that in an emotional scene…you do not have to cry. If you can’t cry, then don’t. You only have to make the audience cry, and those are two different things,” Goldstein said

“Don’t be overly chatty or ask questions just for the sake of asking a question. Don’t give excuses as to why you are not prepared. Don’t come in a hostile state if you are not prepared or ready for the audition for any reason,” Lowry-Johnson added.

The best tips for auditioning for Showtime

City on a Hill

Treat auditions as learning opportunities

As Ethan Hawke, the creator and star of Showtime’s critically acclaimed limited series “The Good Lord Bird,” told us, auditions are a great way to learn about your craft. “Through auditioning, you end up performing parts outside of your comfort zone,” he said. “Once you start making a name for yourself and not having to audition—if you don’t audition, it means they’re casting you to do something you’ve already done. That’s what happens. And so you stop being able to push open the boundaries of what you’re capable of doing, and you just end up playing into the way the world sees you.

“I think that confidence is what we’re all looking for. Confidence only comes with experience. Confidence without experience is bravado; it’s ego. True confidence is rooted in experience. And confidence is fragile. Talent’s not,” he continued. “And I’ll say the really corny thing that makes everybody’s skin crawl, because it’s so difficult to do and it’s so obvious, which is: Love yourself. And [then] good things happen—you’re a better friend, you’re a better citizen, you’re a better artist, you’re a better lover if you treat yourself with respect. It just starts there.”

Study your craft between gigs

In times when you don’t have much work, Lowry-Johnson and Goldstein recommend studying acting to stay prepared for auditions to come. “Take an acting class and work hard, because when opportunity knocks—and you never know when it will—you must be ready for it,” Goldstein said. “It is easy to get into a casting office for one audition, but you want them to remember you for the next one. It’s not about getting this job; it’s about getting the next one.” 

“Take your work seriously, study diligently, and always keep studying and deepening what you do,” Lowry-Johnson added. “Do not pursue this life for fame or fortune, but for the inner satisfaction it gives you.”

Be open to the joy—and the agony—of the process

Patricia Arquette, the star of Showtime’s “Escape at Dannemora”—which earned her the 2019 SAG Award for outstanding performance by a female actor in a television movie or limited series—wants you to enjoy the ride.

“This life has many facets; your work is one of them. Have fun with work,” she advised. “I think as artists, if we get past our own ego, we could have a relationship with the creator. God, or whatever you want to call it, is the source of the creative force. It could be working through clay with potters, working through songs with singers, dancers with their body, actors with this human exploration of our species. But be open to the joy of the birth of the creative spirit—and the pain! ’Cause you know what? I’ve had a child at home with no painkillers, and I’ll tell you: As beautiful as it is, it is ugly and bloody and painful, too. So, it’s alright. It’s a ride.”

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