Your whole life — the choices you make, adventures, learning, etc. — is filled with all tools you need when doing a backstory for a role. But why not go further and learn some real-life info from a casting director to help you get the gig?
Based on my experience, here are some tips to help you navigate the process.
Know that you are being called in because the casting director wants you to get the gig (great news, you are on your way to booking). A casting director’s job is to bring in as many types as possible that are right for that role based on media assets (e.g., credits, images, online search via social media, Q value and more) for the director, production company, executive producer, writer or whoever is making that decision on that project.
Now here are some things at this juncture to help you to the next phase of casting with the goal of booking the job.
Over the years, I have discovered that while the majority of talent wants to audition, many auditioners try to change the day and/or time of the audition, and only about half show up on average. This means that just by showing up, you have all the more chances of getting the role and booking the gig.
Arrive on time. Now I don’t mean sliding into a parking lot at the time you are supposed to be checking in. It means allowing yourself enough time to get to the audition, with the possibility of traffic, an accident, finding parking and then discovering the auditioning office is a 15-minute walk from said parking space. Casting offices actually need to adhere to SAG/AFTRA audition guidelines, so the time you sign in to the time you leave matters.
Be nice to the person checking you in. They are the eyes and ears of how respectful or not you are while you are waiting to be called in for your audition. That means, keep conversations to a minimum, leave your drama at the door, shut your cell phone off and by all means, prepare yourself to be the role so you walk in the casting room as that person/character. What you do in the waiting area is notated by the person checking you in. If you are disruptive or rude at this phase, we can only imagine it would be the same on set. With an average of 30-person crews/cast for indie projects, team players are mandatory.
I know, people think crashing an audition they heard about is a way to get ahead. It may have even worked for you. Good on you. But I can tell you from over 20 years of casting experience, it usually hurts people’s credibility more than it helps. The person in the room with the casting director who makes the decision to hire you most likely will go with the person who followed the casting system in place for checks and balances. The same goes for those who go around the casting director and reach out to the producer directly.
Beyond honing your craft, the most crucial steps are getting your headshot, resume, demo reels (acting, voiceover, host, music) online. Get your online profile up to date and professional. Casting professionals will search your social and see what you write about and who you are saying you are to the world. Put in the work and stay the course.