by Casting Director, Laurie Records
Acting isn’t a profession for the weak. I admire all of you out there who do what you do. I just had a conversation with a director (while sitting in a session) about the audition process and the courage it must take for an actor to come in day after day hoping to have the right look, voice, amount of funny, WHATEVER it is we are looking for to book the job. I know a fair amount of actors, and talk to them on a regular basis. Too many times I hear actors questioning the reason they are being brought in for a certain role, certain that they aren’t right for it. They either feel they aren’t the right age/look or don’t have the requested skill–e.g. comedic timing. Trust me (and I’ll be asking this of you many times in the next few paragraphs) this isn’t helping the cause.
Commercial actors should never fail to trust the casting director.
First of all, bad self-talk is bad self-talk. I am the person who believes that when you tell yourself that you aren’t right for the role or that there’s no way you’ll book the job… you won’t. You just made it so.
Let me help you to silence that negative voice in your head with some behind-the-scenes knowledge. You should know at any given time, it’s highly likely you aren’t totally in the know. I write pretty detailed projects/breakdowns. I try to give the information I have. Sometimes it is a lot, sometimes not so much. Sometimes I’m waiting for more information. Sometimes the information I receive changes. A LOT of times the information I have changes. Commercials happen in such a crazy fast way… the casting director doesn’t always have the time to make their breakdown match exactly what’s being asked for in the moment. Updates are a waste of precious time if the submissions received will cover the updated request. If you’re a Midwest mom type and your being called in for an upscale urban mom… don’t talk yourself out of booking the role before you walk in the room. There was likely a change (or conflicting ideas between the director’s vision and the agency) and the casting director went with the submissions they had with a new focus. You would think Midwest mom types wouldn’t have been submitted for an upscale urban mom role. Unfortunately there are plenty of agents or assistants who go solely on gender, age and ethnicity and submit the whole roster. It’s maddening for me. Confusing for you. Just read the wardrobe instructions (maybe a clue can be found there) and do the best you can. TRUST THE CASTING DIRECTOR. There’s a reason they are calling you in.
Sometimes we are looking for funny people. You don’t feel like you are particularly gifted in the funny arena, but you have a comedic commercial audition. It’s doubtful you will get to know the inner thoughts of why the casting director brought you in. Perhaps they know you are a strong actor and they know they can get the desired performance from you. Perhaps the director has asked to see great actors while avoiding the overseen regular comedic commercial actors. It’s possible you are exactly what has been requested all while you are talking yourself out of the job. You don’t know everything. TRUST THE CASTING DIRECTOR. There’s a reason they are calling you in.
Still have your doubts? Then I’d ask you to double (triple!) check your acting tools. First and foremost, are your headshots an honest and accurate representation of who you are? TODAY? Do they tell the Casting Director how to cast you? If you are a Midwest mom type, you should have a Midwest mom headshot. Is your resume 100% honest and up-to-date? This includes all your stats… ahem, weight and height. This also means your list of extra work on all those sitcoms shouldn’t read as principal work. You have to do your part, and this is it. If you have bad/out of date/dishonest tools… pretty soon you won’t have any auditions to talk yourself out of. Nothing drives a casting director more bananas than when they call someone in (based on their headshots/stats/resume) and another person walks in the room. And sometimes it’s an ENTIRELY different person. Don’t be that person.
Do you go in for a casting director on a regular basis? TRUST THEM. Are you seeing a casting director for the first or second time, and you’re positive that the person walking in the room is the same one depicted by your headshots/resume? Then TRUST THE CASTING DIRECTOR. You aren’t always in the current loop and things are always changing… trust that you are right for the job, and that you can book it based on the fact the casting director has called you in. Give us your trust and be careful not to break our trust in you.
Laurie Records, Casting Director