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Casting 101

CastingThings are progressing rather quickly with my webseries and over the last few days we held two casting sessions and saw 120+ actors. Since this was my first time on the other side of the table it was such an eye-opening experience! Here are the main points I took away...

Bring your headshot & resume
This should go without saying but I did have 1 person come in without it. Since we were using their resumes to write notes about them there weren't any notes left for her. We were also keeping headshots so that we can pull from them for future episodes rather than hold a session each time and now she's taken herself out of that pool. Sorry charlie.

Make sure your picture looks like YOU
We had a few people come in who looked younger than their headshot suggests and a couple who looked much older. We also had a handful of girls with these gorgeous photos that must have been seriously retouched. Not that they weren't beautiful, but your picture should capture the essence of you, not who you want to be! Yes they may have gotten me to bring you in but now I don't want to bring you back because you really weren't what I was looking for in the first place.

Be Real
Just because it's a comedy doesn't mean you have to be "on" at all times. We want to get a glimpse of who you are before you get into your read, mainly because we want to get an idea of what you'd be like to work with on-set. We can't do that if you're trying to show us your comedy chops the whole time and fyi- those who are the funniest are the ones who don't try too hard anyway.

Don't sweat the small stuff
If you flub a line and we don't stop you, keep going! No need to cause a scene about it or bring it to our attention, just keep pressing forward. Everyone makes mistakes and as long as you seem prepared, we can overlook them. Speaking of preparation...

Be Prepared {said in my best Scar imitation from The Lion King}
If you're given sides {and almost a week to take a look at them} why are you reading the script THE ENTIRE TIME????? We don't expect you to have it memorized {though I have heard that some CD's actually do} but you should at least be familiar with the copy. How in the world can you make any choices if you're going into this completely cold when you didn't have to. And speaking of choices...

Make some!
It's far more interesting to watch an actor who's committed to their choices than one who doesn't make any at all. It comes off as flat and lukewarm- and I'd rather you be hot or cold! Even if you're really cold we can give you some adjustments but those who are lukewarm and non-commital just get a "Thank you for coming in."

Don't wear perfume/cologne
I hear this all the time and though I already understood the reasoning behind this, I now see why some CD's are ADAMANT about it. Towards the end of our session I had a young lady come in, same one without the resume by the way, wearing perfume. Though the smell was pleasant and not too strong, within maybe 30 seconds of her coming in my eyes began to burn. I knew why immediately but didn't want to make her feel uncomfortable so I tried to rub and fan the burn away before I had her begin. Thankfully she was my last actor of the day otherwise I probably wouldn't have had the best attitude simply because of the eye irritation.

Don't talk yourself out of it
This is the most important point, in my opinion. While small talk is nice and again, gives us a glimpse of who you are, please don't go on and on and ON about something we probably could care less about. We have a job to do- find the right actor for the role- in a short amount of time and having you waste some of that time by going on and on is not only inconsiderate to us but to your fellow actors waiting in the lobby as well. I kid you not, I had one lady give me her history about when & why she joined SAG, how she loved attending USC and how OJ Simpson asked her out during her college days because he had a thing for blondes and this was all in response to my asking if she had any conflicts the weekend of our shoot! Another gentleman asked me multiple times to turn on my computer and look up his reel on youtube because he had done some "big parts" that I should see. Dude, if I politely declined twice already in the interest of time, why would you ask me a third time? There are 6 people in the lobby- I just want to see what you can do NOW! The kicker is, both of these actors gave me a great read but I really don't wanna deal with them on-set because I have a feeling that they'll be a handful and will make it all about them...yeah, no thank-you!

As I said, it was definitely an eye-opener. As a writer it was great to hear my words come to life and was so rewarding when an actor really got it. Though it was a long two days, I thoroughly enjoyed it and would love to intern at a cd's office sometime to see how the real one's do it. All of the advice above are just my opinions so you can take it or leave it, but for the cd's sake, I really hope you take it. :-)

-- Brandi Ford

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Bravo brandi for writing this! you made some good points :)

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