My production company, PianoFight, has been knee-deep in casting for our upcoming project ShortLived 3.0. It’s a 3-month long playwright competition held in SF and in LA, with 8 shorts every Friday and Saturday night. And 4 new shorts being introduced every other week. That means- we need lots of actors! It’s been such a learning experience going through the many electronic submissions from the top casting sites as we pick and choose those we want to see for the auditions.
Being on the other side has taught me a few things…
A good headshot goes a long way. It’s amazing the amount of snap judgements you make form a little 2×2 thumbnail. If the picture is black and white, I immediately thought– what century is this actor from?! What serious actor doesn’t have a color headshot by now? If there were multiple shots in the photo session but they were all variations of the same picture, I thought, why am I looking at these? Picture 2 or 3 doesn’t tell me anything that picture 1 hasn’t already. If there were a bunch of weird character shots, but nothing that told me what the actor looked like normally, I thought, well this person just does gimmicks and characters and wouldn’t be able to do theater.
Less is more. If the actor left a novel in the “notes” section (for which we specifically wanted just what day they were available to audition) I thought, this person can’t even listen to directions! And aside from that, who has the time to read 5-paragraph essay on why we should choose them for the part? Sorry, pal, that novel just cost you an audition.
Follow directions. I now totally understand why casting directors emphasize no double submissions. It’s so annoying and hard to keep track when you have the same people applying for the same part through different avenues. Did I already give this person a time slot? Did I already reject this person and they are just submitting again? You making our job more difficult makes us less inclined to consider you.
So, CD’s, I feel for you. Next time I submit a project, I understand how all those submissions can be overwhelming. I’m sure the amount of responses we received doesn’t even come close to the amount for a national commercial or feature film, so I can only imagine. I will take caution with every project I submit to and how I submit. This is our career, after all. We should take care in all that we do with it.