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It’s a new year and that means a new me.

With January and February out of the way and all our good intentions slipping away with it, it’s time to take a long hard look at your careers and make some positive changes! It’s nearly Spring and it’s the perfect time to reinvent yourself, or at least put the right foot forward when making 2016 count.

As a Casting Director, there is nothing more frustrating than when actors haven’t taken the time to make sure their photos, bios, and personal details are up-to-date. After all, it’s our job to cast the right person and we want that to be you. So surely you want to give yourself the best possible chance.

Here are some of the key things to consider as you are doing your actor spring cleaning.


Do we still look like our headshots? Have we changed our hair colour, grown a beard, or cut our hair short? If so, then its time to think about getting new pictures. This should be done every 2-2.5 years anyway. Even if we don’t see the changes, our faces do tell a story and if the person in the photo doesn’t walk into the casting, Casting Directors are not likely to get you in again.


Take a long hard look at your online profiles. Remember these are the first things we see about you from your agent, or directly via your own submission. If they’re not up-to-date, then we may be hesitant to bring you back into the room again. Consider the following three main points:

  • Is the playing age still appropriate? Can you really pull off 18 right up to 30, or does it seem more appropriate to move the markers to 20 to 30? A ten-year span is more then enough. Of course, on stage, most can play 16 or even younger, but your “playing age” should reflect what you look like on screen. When you walk into the casting, you need to look your playing age.
  • Credits: Do you really need to have all your credits up there? That TIE tour you did 10 years ago – does it add value? It may have done at the time but are you sure it does now? Those commercials you’ve listed so meticulously, do you need all of them? Yes, a good recognizable one is perhaps useful, and anything that is still running is important to mention, but seeing a long list of commercials on a CV can actually be off-putting for a CD. They may think that all you do is commercials (which often is just about “the look’” and not the acting ability). Is this what you are hoping to achieve?
  • Photos: As per the above, make sure your latest photos on your CV show what you look like right now. And if you’re using a site like Casting Networks where your photos and CV are automatically attached to your audition tape, then you want to make sure they’re your most recent ones. Don’t fall into the trap of getting busy and getting lazy with updating your CV.

Social Media

Are you spending too much time browsing around Facebook? Do you Instagram every meal and tweet about every casting? Have a long hard think about whether this is “adding value” to your brand or if it is simply a good way to take away the time?

Does it just feel like an effort to keep up with social media presence? If so, then ditch this addiction and use the time for something that will actually add value to your brand. Challenge yourself to learn a speech a day for a month, or take up something new such as rock climbing, which will improve both your physical performance and focus.

Above all else, make 2016 a year that counts – keeping up the good work throughout the year and not giving up at the first hurdle.


Shakyra Dowling has been a Casting Director for nearly a decade, casting feature films, television and more over the years. Shakyra specialises in casting British independent feature films, European co-productions, television and commercials. Shakyra is a founder board member of the Casting Directors Association.