There are a lot of misconceptions out there about how the process of casting works, especially with new actors. So, to shed some light on the confusion, here are some sample scenarios to give you an idea of what to expect in the process:
• The producers of a soap opera just received the script for an episode set to air next month.
• The producers call the casting director that they have used for years and describe the character role needing to be filled.
• The next morning, every agent reads the "Breakdowns", which is a publication that lists every role that is currently being cast. The agent goes through his files, searching for clients who would be right for the role He selects several photos and sends them to the Casting Director.
• The Casting Director receives envelopes from all these agents and will then have to through many photos looking for face for the role. However, even if a photo looks great, the casting director will still need to review the actor's resume and then narrow it down to around 30 of the best candidates to arrange for an audition.
• Next, each agent will call their client and inform him or her about the audition. He may either send her the sample script (slides) or have them come to his office to pick them up.
• Then the actor will go to the audition dressed as they feel the character would.
• After waiting and hopefully not pacing nervously, the actor will be called into the audition room and sit across a table from the casting director and the casting assistant. If the actor has read for that CD before, they may talk and catch up for a moment before starting the audition. The assistant will then read the other character's lines as the actor auditions.
• Assuming the actor has read with confidence, it will all go smoothly. The Casting Director will watch the performance closely, noticing everything.
• After the reading, the Casting Director will thank the actor and ask for another copy of their head shot and resume. The actor does as asked, smiles, then walks out past all the other actors still waiting for their chance to read.
• Then the actor will go home and live life as usual. After all, auditions come and go, sometimes you are called back and sometimes you are not. But if your agent DOES call you and inform you that they want to see you again, you know it's starting to get more serious. This is your callback. Sometimes there will be several callbacks for one role and sometimes just one.
• After narrowing down the hopeful candidates down to about ten, those actors will be called back for another reading. It's smart for the actor to wear the same clothing and act the same way. They should get into the character they believe the role calls for; which should be the same as the first reading. The casting director may ask the actor to do the same scene but slightly different, so see what else they are capable of and to see how they take direction.
This process could happen over and over again. And you could be just right for the part, but be passed up just because you're too short or too tall. But that's the way it goes. The beauty of it is that you did well and left a great impression on the casting director. But this is the way careers are made. You may not get every role you try out for, but if you do your best and behave like a professional, people will remember you and want to work with you. So work hard and be the best actor you can be. You'll get your big break soon enough.
For more information, coaching and classes, contact us at the New York Acting School for Film and Television and we will be happy to help you out!