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Tips for Effective Casting

Casting is one of the key stages in pre-production for selecting a certain type of actor for a particular role. A casting panel includes the casting director and an assisstant, occassionaly having the director or producer in attendance.

The following tips are best practices for actors and filmmakers to ensure that the conditions are right to have successful auditions.

For Filmmakers

  1. Read the script and be an expert on the material. Know what you are looking for.

  2. Setup an email account for your film as you will be looking through lots of headshots, resumes and emails.

  3. In the casting call, be clear about what and who you are looking for and for which role.

  4. You can explore other casting options such as going through your social media followers and walking up to strangers on the street.

  5. Record the auditions.

  6.  Have a reader who will feed lines to the actor.

  7. Start making notes as soon as they enter the room.

  8. During auditions, don’t overdirect because it can confuse the actor.

  9. When casting, give a concise summary of the situation and the characters state of mind.

  10. When casting, see how adaptable the actor is by making them perform contrasting emotions.

  11. Get the actor to perform different versions of the scene; possibly their interpretation of the material first and then with directions from you.

  12. Make the waiting area and the audition room comfortable as the actor will be more likely to give you a better performance when they are comfortable.

  13. Be clear when casting for roles that involve singing, dancing, physical combat, kissing and nudity. This gives them an opportunity to opt out.

  14. Be clear during auditions about callbacks, rehearsals and shoot dates.

  15. With couples, do call backs to see how everything works together.

  16. Be passionate about your film. Sell it.

  17. Don’t compromise the process, strive to find the perfect person.

  18. Be professional, don’t criticize their performance or give notes, it is only an audition.

  19. Thank them for coming and let them know you’ll be in touch.

  20. The actor might not be right for the role you’re auditioning. Start a catalog of actors that you will like to work with in the future.

For Actors

  1. Arrive early.

  2. Bring your headshot and a copy of your resume.

  3. Avoid clothes that would distract from your performance. You might want to dress for the part but don’t go crazy. Keep it simple.

  4. Do some research and have an opinion about the character.

  5. Be confident and own the room. Use your smile, enthusiasm and body language to make a lasting impression.

  6. Be curious, ask questions about the character/scene and make bold decisions. Casting directors are looking for actors that will make the story come alive with their unique voice.

  7. Know the material. This allows you to focus on your performance rather than trying to get the lines.

  8. Acting is to do, not to talk.

  9. Interpret what is going on and keep the choices real.

  10. Experience life, watch and interact with different people as this will enrich your reference bank and pique your performance with dynamism.

  11. Relax, have fun and know that the casting director is routing for you.

  12. Don’t over-analyse what you did or didn’t do. Have a positive attitude and work towards the next audition.

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