How to Get Cast in a Tyler Perry Production

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For nearly 20 years, Tyler Perry has put his unique, entrepreneurial, communal, and box office–crushing stamp on the entertainment industry. As an actor, writer, director, and producer, he runs the biggest movie production studio in the country, juggles numerous movies and series at a time, and provides jobs, opportunities, and a platform for performers, creators, and crew alike. Tyler Perry Studios (TPS) has served as a substantial economic resource in its home base of Atlanta—and, naturally, the media mogul has spent lots of time mining for talent to fill roles on his wide spectrum of projects.

Perry’s projects also stand out because many actors who land these parts are generally unknown or have struggled to find substantial work. “There’ve been many times that people have come in and auditioned, and they weren’t the best talent, but they had a hunger and a zeal,” Perry said. “That hunger is enough to catapult them to greatness in what they’re doing. And I’m always looking for the underdog.”

If you want to join Perry’s vast universe, this guide covers everything you need to know about how the TPS casting process works—including tips from the man himself, his casting directors, and the actors.


What are the most popular Tyler Perry Studios productions?

Perry secured his hold on the industry when he released “Diary of a Mad Black Woman” in 2005, the first in his ongoing Madea film series. He has since added several sequels to the lineup, including “Madea’s Family Reunion” (2006), “Madea Goes to Jail” (2009), “Madea’s Witness Protection” (2012), “Boo! A Madea Halloween” (2016), and “A Madea Homecoming” (2022), among multiple others.

Perry’s other movies include an array of romantic and comedy dramas such as “Why Did I Get Married?” (2007), “The Family That Preys” (2008), “I Can Do Bad All by Myself” (2009), “Good Deeds” (2012), “The Single Moms Club” (2014), “Acrimony” (2018), “A Fall From Grace” (2020), and “Mea Culpa” (2024). 

For television, Perry has numerous irons in the fire. Aside from “The Haves and the Have Nots,” which ran from 2013 to 2021 on the Oprah Winfrey Network, his other shows are still on-air—including hits “House of Payne,” “Sistas,” “The Oval,” and “Assisted Living,” all currently on BET, and Nickelodeon’s “Young Dylan.”

Who is the top casting director for Tyler Perry Studios?

There have been a few CDs attached to Tyler Perry Studios, including Alpha Tyler and Reuben Cannon (who has also served as a producer on many of Perry’s films), but the primary name attached to his projects has been Rhavynn Drummer, whose eye for talent has been instrumental in the studio’s success since 2011. She’s helped cast “For Better or Worse,” “Sistas,” “The Oval,” “The Haves and the Have Nots,” and much more. Drummer began as an intern at the studio before advancing to assistant, associate casting director, and then CD. With a background in theater acting, Drummer has a unique—and extremely actor-friendly—approach to the job.

“It seems simple, but I’m always looking for a strong, confident actor who makes bold choices and is able to be flexible and make adjustments,” she told us. “I love an actor who I can tell has put [their] life and blood into this, who is constantly in classes, constantly working on [their] craft, and comes into an audition ready to play and have fun.”

Drummer said on the Speak L.A.” podcast: “I’m definitely an actor’s casting director. I’m a sucker for a great performance. I always say I know it’s a good audition when I feel like an audience member instead of someone who’s supposed to be judging and critiquing. So when it comes to what I’m looking for, I’m a very performance-first girl. I want to see somebody who is connected and honest and it doesn’t feel like a burden. I think so many times we’re in auditions, and it feels like, ‘Oh, gosh, like, the nerves, the place, the lines—am I gonna mess up the lines and the dialogue?’ ”

She continued, “So there are so many times when the energy from actors feels like a burden; or you have those couple of actors who come in, and it just feels like freedom, and it feels like they’re just doing what they love…even if they make a not-so-right choice. It just feels like there’s a freedom in their performance—and that’s what I’m looking for, because I know that on set, they will be able to give more than what the director has asked.”

Describing herself and the casting team at TPS as “the human resources for talent,” Drummer told Fox 5 Atlanta they’re “always looking for new actors and singers because [we] never know what role is gonna come up in a script, and so we always want to be prepared.” 

Drummer also casts 10–20 voiceover roles per series and three to five voice actors per film. Comparing the types of auditions she holds, she told us, “When I cast a voice actor, I’m listening to hear how the actor connects to the dialogue and scene vocally. When I cast an on-camera actor, I’m looking to see how they connect vocally, physically, and emotionally.”

Kerry Washington in Six Triple Eight

Kerry Washington in “Six Triple Eight” Credit: Bob Mahoney/Perry Well Films 2/Courtesy Netflix

How does the Tyler Perry Studios casting process work?

While the casting process varies based on the production, there’s always one common thread: Perry’s often searching for actors who have something to prove, struggle to find work, and haven’t been given a shot. Unlike many major production companies, TPS has been extremely encouraging, transparent, and approachable regarding aspiring actors looking for an opportunity. In 2021, the studio’s official Facebook page posted a helpful guide for auditioning for upcoming casting calls. 

It should be noted that the guide says, “We prefer to receive submissions from agents and managers. However, we release character breakdowns for actors that do not have representation.” As is the case for most serious acting gigs, auditioning for speaking roles—lead, supporting, or recurring—usually requires an agent rather than a public casting call. (If you need help landing representation, here’s how to find an acting agent.) However, TPS also accommodates those actors without representation. Additionally, you can stay updated on open submissions via the studio’s official Instagram page.

“The best way to work for me is to AUDITION, and it’s FREE!” Perry wrote in an Instagram post in June 2019. “We post breakdowns all the time for actors. JUST COME AND AUDITION.”

While TPS is welcoming, it’s advantageous to live in or near the Atlanta area, as Perry’s projects are local to the area and aim to represent as many members of the community as possible, both in front of the camera and behind it.

According to Drummer, she’s also open to corresponding with actors or agents representing actors not currently in Atlanta or those thinking about moving to the city. “I honestly do get two to three emails a day from actors who just say, like, ‘Hey, I just want to be on your radar in case anything pops up that I might be right for,’ ” she said. “For me, I’m actually fine with that. I’ll just say, ‘If we have anything that pops up, I’ll let you know how to submit for our projects.’ I’m also a casting director who actually likes agents to pitch me talent…. Because we do want to find fresh faces, we want to find new talent, and I want to feel like I’m not auditioning the same people.”

For those in the area, Drummer said, “My number one tip for Atlanta actors is to treat this as if it’s your first job. So many actors—I know that we have to have nine-to-fives in order to make a living to support our art, but we end up treating it like it’s a hobby. So, those actors that treat it like it’s their career, those actors that put in their eight hours toward their acting and their craft, usually see the results of it. So, treat it like it’s your first job.”

By working with Southern Casting Associates, TPS frequently gets the word out about casting calls for leads, small roles, background actors/extras, dancers, musicians, and stand-ins/photo doubles. Though Perry is extremely hands-on and has the final say, he has his fair share of help juggling talent searches.

Tyler, who served as the CD for such titles as “House of Payne” and “Madea Goes to Jail,” would thoroughly read each script to understand what characters she needed and then pore over notebooks full of headshots and résumés. In addition, she’d look for actors by attending professional, community, and even church productions around Atlanta. Sometimes, she’d have to sift through more than 1,000 résumés for a production that only needed 20 actors, whittling the list down to 200 or so to come in for an in-person audition, which she oversaw.

“Actors don’t know they can send a picture and résumé and it will get to casting,” Tyler advised. “I get to give [actors] opportunity...a chance for actors to see themselves on TV [and in movies] for the first time…. I want every actor who comes in the door to get the job.”

Speaking on the casting process, Drummer said, “When it comes to how often we cast people off of tapes, I actually do prefer to see actors in person, but based on the time we have, I have to see people on tape. I’d say it’s 60% on tape and 40% in person.”

Mea Culpa

Kelly Rowland in “Mea Culpa” Credit: Bob Mahoney/Perry Well Films 2/Courtesy Netflix 

What Tyler Perry projects are currently casting?

Perry’s next Madea film, “Madea’s Destination Wedding,” filmed between Jan. 15–26 at his Atlanta studio with additional dates slated on location in the Dominican Republic. And thanks to Perry’s multi-year first-look deal with Netflix, it’s safe to say there will be plenty of movies on the horizon. (His World War II project “Six Triple Eight” is set to premiere on the streamer in late 2024, for instance.)

Madea poster

Courtesy Netflix

Where can you find casting calls and auditions for Tyler Perry Studios?

While there do not seem to be any active casting calls available for upcoming TPS projects, we suggest following the studio’s social channels for updates straight from the source:

We also recommend bookmarking our main casting page for the latest listings. (We featured a notice for “Six Triple Eight” just last year!) In the meantime, check out our guides on how to audition for Netflix, Perry’s current partner, and how to get cast on a Nickelodeon series, which airs Perry’s “Young Dylan.”

Trevante Rhodes in Mea Culpa

Trevante Rhodes in “Mea Culpa” Credit: Bob Mahoney/Perry Well Films 2/Courtesy Netflix 

What are the best tips for auditioning for a Tyler Perry project?

To start, let’s first take care of what not to do in order to try to get a role on a Perry project (or any other). In 2019, New York actor Racquel Bailey spent two months’ rent on two billboards in Atlanta in the hopes of catching Perry’s eye. The billboard, which featured her headshot, read, “Attention Mr. Perry: Racquel Bailey is your next leading lady.” 

Perry did end up seeing it, but he quickly took to Instagram to make clear this wasn’t the right way to go about things. “Here’s the deal. This is not the way to get my attention if you’re looking for a role in one of my shows,” he wrote, adding that actors, of all people, should be saving their money. “This is the third time that someone has done this. PLEASE STOP! To audition is FREE!! I’m sure you can use that money for a better purpose.”

Perry added, “When you do things like this, it puts my team on high alert and makes me look at you sideways. I know the message that you want to send is a positive one, but this comes across as the opposite.” Keeping his message constructive and encouraging, he assured Bailey that he was already aware of her: “And by the way, you were great in ‘THE NIGHT OF’! It was my favorite show a couple years ago. I ALREADY SAW YOU!! So just audition and keep your money!! Again, I appreciate your effort, but that’s not the way to work for me. God bless you dreamer. I have no doubt you will make it one day!!” (Bailey landed an audition, submitted a tape, and ended up with a lead role on the BET+ original series “All the Queen’s Men.”)

Additionally, it’s beneficial to have a website to showcase your updated headshots, résumé, and demo reel. Establish yourself across social media, which is becoming a new go-to avenue for discovering talent for many CDs. (But do it the right way!)

But if you’re gearing up for the audition room at TPS and need a little boost of confidence and/or inspiration, check out these tips from Perry’s casting directors and actors.

See the audition as a playroom. “Auditioning is the job—and it’s just another opportunity to act, which is what you signed up for,” Drummer said. “Instead of treating the audition like it’s this big thing that is gonna tell you if you’re a good actor or not a good actor…it literally is just as if you prepared for six weeks to do something onstage, and an audition is the same thing you might have prepared for one to two days to do in a small room. It’s the same performance. So I think you should look at an audition as a playroom. It’s an opportunity for you to still have discoveries and still have moments and still perform, which is what you do as an actor.”

Make sure you want to be there. Drummer stresses the importance of bringing a relaxed, confident vibe into an audition. “So many actors let nerves get the best of them, and they walk into the room feeling like they want to walk out. So I love it when an actor walks in and they feel like they want to be there, and they feel like they want to have fun. I’m not an intimidating casting director that’s going to be mean…. I want to actually have a conversation and get to know you before we begin the audition. Calm down, breathe, and just be confident in your gift.”

Know the tone of the project. “If it’s a show that’s already been established, already on the air, I’m looking to see if the actor understands the genre or style of the show. The comedy of ‘The Office’ is different from the comedy of ‘The King of Queens.’ I’m looking to see if they understand where the energy of the show is and if they can match that,” Drummer advised.

Have faith in the face of uncertainty. Andre Hall had been a waiter, bartender, and valet, and was just about ready to quit on his acting dreams before getting his big break on Perry’s show “Love Thy Neighbor.” Reflecting on those days of endless auditioning, he said, “Between all those odd jobs, sleeping on the floor, and being constantly told no for reasons out of my control—like, ‘You’re too light skin, ‘You’re not Black enough,’ ‘You’re not urban enough’... As an actor, people are always criticizing you, so it just made me fall in love with myself. I would tell my 25-year-old self to relax; just trust yourself—it’s going to be OK. You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be right here and right now.”

Do the work and don’t overthink it. Ebony Obsidian, who was browsing Backstage audition listings every day mere years ago, has since proved herself with turns in Barry Jenkins’ “If Beale Street Could Talk,” Aziz Ansari and Alan Yang’s “Master of None,” and Perry’s “Sistas.” She shared, “It never crossed my mind to quit. I never expected to have a billboard in Times Square; that was never the goal. The goal was always to just make a living being an actor and that’s what I was doing. The way that it has gone could not have been planned—it’s just incredible to me, even today. When I have conversations like this, I’m just reminded that just how you walk into a room for an audition, you never know if it’s going to be a yes or a no; you just go in and put your best foot forward and the things that follow truly are the things meant for you.”

Check out Backstage’s Atlanta audition listings!

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