As someone who was in that seat before, I got to learn and experience few things as a CD. I follow few casting director's on social media and keep a lookout on shows they are casting, mistakes to avoid and so far it has been such a learning experience!
I have also been extremely grateful to work with a fellow actor, director and nowadays a casting director, Tom Bussineau, who shared some things with me that I'd love to share with you.
1. DON'T stalk a casting director on social media. You can still follow them on Instagram, and subscribe to their YouTube channel, but NEVER send private messages through social media. It's creepy and you certainly do not want to give off that vibe, even if you are being cast as a "creepy guy/ girl". Not to mention it is very unprofessional. You are basically DM'ing a stranger and you don't know how they're going to react. Always do communication through your agent. He/she can email CD with any questions.
2. Emailing CD is acceptable, depends on a situation. If you don't have an agent, email CD your headshot, resume, demo reel. A friend of mine is a CD and receives numerous emails to a special folder, that is strictly for casting.
3. Submit a headshot for the role in the audition. If it is a drama/thriller/horror, a more serious headshot would be more appropriate. You can't have a happy-go-lucky headshot with a pink or yellow background while you are auditioning for a serial killer, right? Regardless, have variety of headshots available and ready to go.
4. Make sure your headshots are professional. If you can't afford it, have a friend use their phone in good lighting to take a shoulder up headshot/ medium shot. DON'T have extremely touched up/ edited headshot and make sure it's current. It has to look like you.
For men, it would be wise to have a headshot with and without a beard.
Personal story: One actress with long hair said she just had her haircut and new headshots were coming soon. It wasn't her current look, so a CD had to pass.
5. If the instructions for the slate say to pan-out for a full body shot, please include your head. Don't just do a full-body shot from neck down. How do we know if it's the same person?
6. If you are using a reader by phone call or Zoom, make sure CD can hear them. Otherwise it's just awkward audition to watch.
7. Follow instructions and re-read them as much as possible to understand. If it states to only submit one take, then only submit one take. If it states to say Name, Height and Agency- state name, height and agency in that order. DON'T hold up a paper with your name and other info on a paper if CD didn't ask for it.
8. Be careful with your body movement in a taped audition. DON'T ever move out of frame. Walking in and out of the frame is acceptable.
9. Make sure your face is in the centre instead of far right or far left. Don't have too much head space above you.
10. Having a good reader is very helpful, especially if they are a fellow actor. You don't want a random stranger to read for you who talks like a robot.
11. Have proper lighting & sound. DON'T have dogs barking or babies crying in the background. Super distracting.
12. Hold the phone horizontally if you are using a phone to self-tape.
13. DON'T read off the sides. I don't know in which country or state it's okay, but we don't need to see the top of your head with your eyes occasionally peeking out. Just memorize them! If you don't have time, stay as close to the script as you can.
14. Submit early. You will be compared to actors who have already auditioned before you.
15. If you record with a webcam, don't blur your background. Record with an iPhone or normal camera, so we can see you clearly.
16. Watch your expressions while listening. If you are just staring while the reader is talking, it may not be the most effective.
17. DON'T look in the camera! You are not in "Malcolm in the middle". Don't try to break the fourth wall.
18. Use props for purpose and if script calls for it. If you're speaking on the phone, speak on the cell and make sure it's turned off! You don't want to get a random scammer calling right in the middle of the good take, do you?
19. Think about what is happening with your character. Starting off cold is meh, since there is always a moment before and after the scene.
20. The first 10 seconds are important. They either grab or take the attention away. Use those seconds wisely.
Can you think of anything else?
Comment below, like and stay tuned for Monday blogs :)