Guest Blog: Using casting websites
Compiled by the team behind Surviving Actors, the industry trade show where actors have the chance to meet exhibitors from around the world offering a range of services that help professionals develop their careers.
Felicity Jackson and Lianne Robertson have taken their experience and put it on the page in their book “Surviving Actors Manual”. In this guest blog, they share their views on how an actor should approach casting websites…
Using Casting Websites…
Excerpt taken from Surviving Actors Manual
Casting websites are the perfect way to take control of your career, market yourself and remain proactive. whether you have an agent, or are unrepresented, casting websites can be a great way to obtain work, but the choice of these websites has never been wider, and there are an incredible number of opportunities for all actors.
When considering which casting websites to subscribe to, be aware of their membership criteria, of which companies are using the site, of other registered actors on the site, and of the membership fee. It is not necessary to be on every casting website: choosing three should be more than adequate for your career.
Think about what type of jobs you are hoping to get from your membership of the site. Many casting websites allow you to have a free profile and check out the jobs available before paying for a premium membership. If you are looking to gain experience in order to build a showreel, or to be on stage and invite agents to the performance, you might be interested in any unpaid opportunities. However, if you are wanting a casting website for paid work, you should be considering the number of weekly paid jobs that are advertised there.
Using a casting website to apply for a job can make you feel as if you are one of thousands , especially if you do it off your own back, without an agent to verify your talent. It is important that you keep on top of your online presence to ensure that your brand is well maintained. So reflect on what is in your control when you apply for work through a casting platform:
Update your headshots regularly and include a good range of professional photos. quantity and quality are the watchwords. You may use different shots for each casting website, depending on the jobs you usually apply for on each one.
Keep your credits up-to-date and relevant. Once you’ve got enough professional credits to remove any drama-school or university productions, do so promptly. Ensure that you spell names correctly, and if you can link your profile to other cast members or companies then do so. The industry is small, and a casting director may know someone you have worked with before, which could maximise your chances of getting seen.
Include your showreel on your profile – again, as up-to-date as possible. A showreel is a quick-fire way for casting professionals to weed out profiles on these sites, so updating it is critical. If possible, include your social-media links on your profile. Certain casting professionals or producers could be interested in the number of followers you have on social media, or they may want to see how active you are.
Your Submission Note:
Take your time writing your submission note when applying to jobs via casting websites, just as you would writing direct to a casting director or agent. Avoid sending impersonal, blanket emails, which can easily be interpreted as lazy. For example, writing ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ or ‘To whom it may concern’ when the name of the casting director is clearly written on the casting call is a waste of your time. Addressing a casting director by name is a simple act of courtesy and professionalism. Keep your note short. These are really only going to be skim- read, so go through the casting breakdown, pick out what they are looking for, and then highlight what you can offer to that role.