Written by: Carolyne Barry
The number of actors submitted for any given commercial depends on the type or role and in what city it is being cast. If the role is that of an early twenties, wholesome, attractive all American college girl casting in Los Angeles there may be thousands of submissions. As opposed to casting a role of a 5 foot tall, mid forties man who speaks fluent Russian and can juggle – there might be a dozen, if lucky.
In minor markets, actors will mail or deliver their pictures and resume to the CD. In the major markets, most commercial jobs and more and more TV and film work are cast utilizing online websites. Basically, the way on-line casting works is:
• actors pay a fee and join the site(s), or their agent(s) or manager supervise the posting of their client’s pictures and resumes
• the casting website company displays the actors’ photos and resumes online
• CDs post their casting breakdowns on the casting website. CASTING BREAKDOWN: CDs posts the descriptions of the roles they are casting (delineated by gender, age and physical type) online for for the agents, managers and/or actors to view.
Normally , in major markets, there will be hundreds if not thousands of actors submitted for most roles. Casting directors often have only hours to prep and set up a casting session. They will go online and scroll through screen upon screen of thumbnail photo submissions. Your pictures have to stand out, say something and look like you. The CD looks at many (not all) of the submissions to choose the actors to bring in for the audition. . I would guesstimate, depending on the role, that 90% of those submitted will not get the audition because on most days a CD sees only around 60 -100 actors per role.
So how do commercial casting directors choose the actors to bring in for their commercial auditions ? Obviously, your main photo should catch their attention. So it is very important to have a current professional photo that captures what you really look like on a good day. It is also important to have a resume that with or without strong credits is presented in a way that is impressive. And having four to six other shots posted that show your various other “looks”.
Since pictures are so very important, obviously you must get the best and the best doesn’t usually mean the most expensive. This takes research. Check out working actors photos which you can find online casting sites or on most photographers websites. Study what it is that makes their pictures “pop” and try to use that information when you shoot and select your headshots.
After pictures, the second most important submission tool for actors is their resume. When industry professionals look at a picture and want to know more about the actor, they view his or her resume. It needs to persuade them to bring the actor in to audition or to hire him/ her for a job. Make sure your resume is not just a list of what you have done. Your credits, training and skills needed to be presented in a way that is professional and impressive (but truthful). You can have a somewhat notable resume’ even with anemic credits when what you have accomplished is presented smartly. In my book HIT THE GROUND RUNNING, I have full chapters on getting great photos and creating impactful resume’s.
There are too many actors who want what you want – to secure auditions and get work. Granted, you are not in competition with every other actor – just the hundreds or thousands who are your age and type. To compete for the auditions, you must have powerful headshots and impressive resumes. Check out my book HIT THE GROUND RUNNING (under products on www.carolynebarry.com) for the information you need on these two subjects and so much more.