Casting Directors are vital in any production. They are often asked by production companies to select the appropriate actors who can fill out roles for a TV, theater, commercial, or film project. While they may be responsible in looking for the right talent, it is usually the director and the producer who has the final and ultimate say on the people they want to be in their productions.
Regardless of whether they make the final decisions or not, casting professionals are the people you need to contend with during auditions. An audition, also known as a casting session, is usually considered by actors as a terrifying and crucial stage in their journey towards cultivating their careers.
It may only take about 5 to 15 minutes to show casting people what you’re worth, so you have to that you nail it. Otherwise, you will lose this window of opportunity to grab at that role, which could possibly launch your acting career.
Because you do not have enough time and opportunities to become an actor or even speak with the professionals in the industry, you need to be aware of what casting directors look for among the talents they hire. Knowing what these are will allow you to assess yourself and improve on the points where you deem yourself lacking.
So, below are the top qualities casting professionals look for in talents they book for acting jobs:
The Right Look
Casting directors, producers, and even talent agents are going to be quite particular with your physical image. As a matter of fact, they consider this the ‘50%’ rule. So, the minute you walk into an audition room and you look like the character you are auditioning for, you have already won the role by half. All you have to do is act the part well and the job is definitely in the bag.
Most casting calls include specifications for the job. For instance, there are times when they would require a short and young-looking man to play the role. The minute you know and understand your appearance, your auditions will come more easily.
TV series or film productions are more peculiar in looking for actors. So, if you look exactly like the character, there is a greater chance you would get the part. One of the reasons they want to hire actors like you is to make the audience believe who and what the character is all about.
Moreover, auditions also demand for actors to know what they look like on the monitor. As there are going to be cameras during the screening process, especially for TV and film, an actor must also know what to do in front of one. So, take time to learn how to position your face and body.
Aside from your looks, your acting ability is, of course, another crucial factor considered during an audition. People responsible for casting need to find this one out as soon as possible. As an aspiring actor, you have to ensure that you are believable in any kind of scene.
With this, make a point to give a great performance always. You at a casting session to practice or to get coaching lessons. You need to get it right the first time. Usually, you will not be given any second chances. So, be prepared and don’t blow your opportunity away.
Get to know your character, so your acting will come naturally during the auditions. As production companies will generally provide you with audition slides, you should make sure to familiarize and internalize the role you will be playing.
However, casting directors also want to see that you are versatile and willing to develop your talent. They want actors who are flexible. To test your acting skills, they will throw a couple or more instructions while you are auditioning to see how well you take directions and how good you are in the craft. They enjoy looking at actors who know how to tweak their performances when they are asked to.
Being prepared is definitely one of the most essential keys to nail an audition and get the job you have been working for. Casting directors, producers, and agents would know whether you have familiarized yourself with the slides, practiced, and clearly understood the character you are portraying or not.
Don’t worry about not memorizing the lines they have provided ahead or during the audition. Casting directors care more about how you deliver the role and show your character’s personality. And, you will only be able to do this effectively if you are well prepared.
This ability is a combination of being prompt, punctual, disciplined, prepared, willing, and respectful to everyone involved in the production, including the cleaning people. Furthermore, you have to know how to practice a balanced mixture of confidence and humility in front of the casting professionals.
If you wish to take this career seriously, then you have to know how to be professional in all your dealings. Getting into the entertainment industry is no joke. People who are looking for talents have met with different kinds of people with different kinds of personalities. They could determine how sincere you the moment you say hi to them inside the audition room.
The Ability to be Recognized
Even with the sheer number of aspiring actors waiting in line for their turn to prove their talent during auditions, you need to have the ability to seize every moment to be recognized. Never think that people are ignoring you. When directors and producers do not look at you during your performance, chances are they are looking at the video monitors and taking note of every move you are making.
Your acting skills, appearance, and personality are all taken into consideration. They are all looking at you. It is up to you to make them really sit up and take notice.
There are also times when auditions are filmed, so they can be sent to the higher echelons of a production. In cases like these, remember that you can still make them recognize your talent by delivering an exemplary performance.
This is not just about bragging your skills and talent. But, it is about proving to everyone that you have what it takes to be given the role.
Aggressiveness and courage are different from each other. The former is essentially being a push-over, while the former is having enough bravery to face challenges head-on.
Casting people want actors who make no hesitations when it comes to creating a character. They want you to be confident, so you can perform naturally regardless of the location and whether you are on stage or before a camera. Having courage means you are willing to take the risk, including venturing into unknown paths, even if it entails looking foolish in front of strangers. Casting directors are definitely going to be impressed as soon as they see that you have this quality within you.
So, when you have questions, do not be afraid to ask, especially when you are specifically asked to speak of your concerns. Ask for clarifications about instructions when you need to and do it politely. It is not a good idea for you to ask a lot of questions if you were given the sides ahead of time though, as it is your job to find out what you should do. You can only do this if you are given other directions and asked to speak out about them.
Meanwhile, you will never want to be seen as an aggressive actor. If casting directors are interested to hire you, they will either tell you of the results at the end of the auditions or they will give you a callback. This is when you will be informed that you need to do your piece again for re-consideration. It is imperative that you know how to wait and not badger people about giving you a second chance or aggressively asking when you are going to get a callback.
This quality points out to how an actor creates a connection, not just with his audience, but also with his fellow performers. Whether you are auditioning for a TV role, a character for a motion picture, or a part in a theater production, it is important to establish a relationship not just with people watching you, but also with those you are interacting with in a scene. Although this is something you can’t control, you would still want to ‘click’ with the people you are working with.
As an actor, you must know how to make use of your talent in conveying your emotions and message to your audience. You must get a reaction from them through the power of your acting and this is where chemistry kicks in.
Casting professionals do not just hire actors. Rather, they hire people who can act. Hiring decisions depend not only on an actor’s performance, but also on the person behind the acting. This simply means that your personality matters.
Your personality or character as a person refers to the way you behave. You can be recognized right away if you know how to stand out from the rest, even when things get tough. The production needs people who are determined and willing to be a part of the production and bring it to success.
Additionally, your performance will be comprised with 90% of your personality. During the casting session, you are expected to immerse yourself into the character. Casting directors usually have that keen sense to note if you have allowed your emotions to really influence your performance, as this can be seen on how you have interpreted the role you are auditioning for.
Directors want to hire someone who knows what to do in a specific situation, not someone who is still trying to figure out how to perform or play the role.
Overall, it depends on the type of project and the role you are applying for. There are casting people who require actors with special skills. For instance, lead performers need to have that ‘wow’ quality. You have to be that actor who can either bring people to tears or laughter.
Aside from the qualities they are looking for in talents, casting directors, producers, and talent agents also wish for you to know some simple truths during the casting session:
– No camera, No worries. Do not be surprised if there are no cameras in the audition room. They are not necessary, even if you are auditioning for a TV or film role.
– Be nice. The moment you step into the audition location, be nice. The director may look like an intern, and the receptionist can be the producer or casting director’s sister, so be polite and courteous to everyone you meet.
– Stop whining. The people waiting in line and even the casting people are as anxious and stressed as you. So, don’t complain.
– Don’t apologize. Even if you have had a bad audition, never say you’re sorry. Casting professionals will only care about your performance. You would already be very lucky if they will give you another chance to prove your worth.
– Stop the blame game. You will never know if the same person who was not able to give you the slides ahead is the same as the one who will give you a callback. So, if they get irked with your attitude, your playing the blame game might just end up blowing in your face.
– Consider this as a job interview. Casting people respect actors who are able to work professionally.
Now that you know all these qualities that casting professionals look for, it is time to assess yourself if you have them and start to inculcate them into your personality if you believe you lack some of them. Once you have the winning personality to make any casting director like you, nail that audition. Make them sit up, notice you and book you for the job.Top Qualities Casting Directors Look For in a Talent by Holly Bissonnette