2 Secrets Casting Directors Want You to Know

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As a casting director, I wish more actors knew these two things. Not only would it help them feel more relaxed when they come in for auditions, but it would save time, both mine and theirs!

1. We actually want you to be the one.
As cheesy as this sounds, when I look through potential actors for the films I’m casting I only want to audition those I actually want for the film.

As an actress, I hated auditions. There was so much pressure to be perfect and I always worried I didn’t fit the role or they wouldn’t really want me.

It wasn’t until I sat in the CD’s chair that I realized if you’ve made it to an audition, there’s something about you that already speaks to the casting director and potentially even the director.

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.

READ: 21 Things to Make Casting Directors Happy in the Audition Room

2. Have a current headshot and demo reel.
I cannot stress this enough. Make sure they are current and reflect YOU.

Last year, I was casting a feature film where the lead female role needed to not only be charming and sweet but also have a professional business edge. I scoured several agencies, asking for specific actresses to come in for an audition.

There was one actress whose headshot moved her to the top of my list but when she came into the audition, she didn’t look a thing like her headshot. It was like seeing two completely different people. It wasted her time and mine. And unfortunately, has put her on my list of people not to call back for future roles because I can’t trust that she’s presenting herself truthfully.

Your headshot needs to be you on a good day, not the model, airbrushed version of you.

The same goes for your demo reel. Get rid of outdated scenes, especially if they no longer look like you. Casting directors don’t pay attention to old scenes.

Another thing to keep in mind is to put your best scene first. Leave your headshot at the end of the reel. I fast forward on so many reels because I want to see the actor give a performance, not stare at their headshot or watch a montage of quick cuts from films I’ve never heard of. This may sound cruel, but it’s a waste of time to have all of that in the first bit. I’m more interested in seeing how an actor acts versus being given the show. At least that’s how this CD feels.

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The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

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Charis Joy Jackson
Charis Joy Jackson is an actress, casting director, director, and producer. She’s been working in independent film for 10 years and teaches an intensive three-month acting school.
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