No Need to Fear the Casting Director

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Even though they so often hold your career in their hands, fearing the almighty casting director will do neither you or them any good. Instead, channel that energy into impressing them with these helpful tips from our Backstage Experts.

They are on your side. Yes, really.
“Casting directors are on your side. We want you to do your best in your audition. We love it when an actor comes into an audition prepared, having done their homework and made strong choices. When that happens it means one less role we have to worry about. Understand that when the actor does well, it makes us look good to our producers and directors.” —Lisa London, casting director and Backstage Expert

Proceed as though the role is yours.
“Many of you are already using this on a proper slate. You state your name and then say, ‘and I am [the name of the role].’ You don’t state your name and say, ‘I am reading for the part of [name of the role].’ You declare, ‘I am the role.’ But you can take this concept to an even deeper level. For instance a casting director might say, ‘Can we ask you…’ Interject and say, ‘You can cast me anything you want to,’ smuggling the word cast where the word ‘ask’ belongs. They sound close enough that this switch will likely go unnoticed. But in the unlikely event that someone asks, ‘What did you say?’ just make a joke. Or do what I would do and admit it: ‘I just used a Jedi mind trick on you. I said “cast” instead of “ask.” It’s a neuro linguistic technique.’ People are fascinated by this topic so it may lead to a great conversation if you do some additional homework on NLP. Smart casting directors are looking for intelligence. This full disclosure signals that quality.” —Ryan R. Williams, L.A.-based on-camera acting teacher, founder of Screen Actors System, and Backstage Expert

They are excited about the work, too.
We truly are one large (and sometimes not-so-large) community of artists and professionals. We track down the fantastic work you’ve created, get excited about it, write about it, tweet about it, and hire it. We want to be a part of it. It’s exciting.” —Risa Bramon Garcia, casting director, director, owner of The BGB Studio, and Backstage Expert

Don’t second guess why you’re there.
“Don't question whether you are right for a project. If I am calling you in, I have spoken to the director, I have seen your material, and I think that you have a chance at the role. I won't call you in to waste your time or mine. Go and be prepared.” —Jackie Reid, manager and owner of Li’l Angels Unlimited and Backstage Expert

The pressure is on for them, too.
“Everyone is full of fear. Casting directors definitely are on a treadmill with little time, a lot of nerves and anxiety, trying to please their boss: the producer, client, or network. They have to find the RIGHT actors or not work again for that boss. The producers are nervous because if they choose the wrong talent, the show will fail and they will lose their edge at their network.” —Gwyn Gilliss, founder and executive director of The Actor’s Market and Backstage Expert

They’re more likely to be excited if you’re excited.
“Doing it with a sense of enthusiasm and joy and confidence actually makes it fun to watch. That is the thing we see missing day in and day out. If somebody comes in and lacks the confidence, those producers aren’t going to put that on stage.” —Benton Whitley, Artios-winning casting director and Backstage Expert

They really, really, really want you to be the one.
“The truth is we want you to be the one. When I pick people to come in for auditions, I’ve already weeded out those I don’t think fit the part. If you’re going into an audition, know they actually want you to work for the part. If I’d known this in my early days of acting, I think I would’ve gone out for more auditions. This is something I desperately want actors to know because I often feel like I spend the majority of an audition trying to make an actor feel relaxed.

“Next time you go in for an audition, keep this in mind: We want you to be the one we hire for the role. Prove us right! I’d rather struggle between a bunch of actors I want for one role than feel like I haven’t found any that are right.” —Charis Joy Jackson, actor, casting director, director, producer, and Backstage Expert

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