By: Jess Canty
I attended a showcase this weekend and afterwards sat on a panel with a couple of other agents, a manager and two casting directors... so wanted to share some stories "straight from the horse's mouth."
The over-reaching message from both of the CDs on this panel was "we don't have time." Which, if you think about it makes sense.
Back when there were 4 networks and a handful of cable channels doing original programming, most seasons were still 22-24 episodes. Once Joey, Rachel, Chandler and the gang were cast they were set for the year - and eventually 11 seasons. Then casting only had to worry about bringing in the co-stars and guest stars for those few shows. This gave them time to do general meetings, go see you in a showcase or play, and to look at new actor's materials.
There are going to be a predicted 550 shows for 2019/2020. Some still with those 24 episodes sure, but most not - and so there are so many more slots to fill.
Because they don't have time, as one CD put it he can no longer go visit "actor planets" (his way of describing the myriad of places other than AA and LA Casting where actors host their materials). So lesson here is - make sure your Actor's Access and LA Casting materials are UP TO DATE.
Not kidding here folks - both CDs were like "we don't look anywhere else." So if you still have footage from 3 reels ago on your LA Casting - then get on their contact form and request to have it hidden / removed from your profile. Same thing with headshots - hide or remove those old ones that you took 5 years ago. Have a reel that is labeled "2018?" (you know who you are - I see it every time I submit you) - please fix it. Re-label it without a date. Or just change it to 2019.
In addition to not having time - or perhaps in conjunction with it - you have to be professional. One of the CDs on the panel told a story about how he got a call from a producer of a show he was working on and the producer was like "we need to cast this lead role today - our shoot schedule has changed." The CD called a few agents and was like "I have this role - session starts in 4 hours - who do you have?"
The woman that booked it he said came in, off book and there were even "hints of a backstory" in her performance. In FOUR hours. He knew she'd booked it within the first page of the sides.
Did she complain to her agent that she only had 4 hours to prepare? Nope. Was she the absolute most talented actress ever to cross his door - maybe, maybe not - but what she was was professional. She got the call, she dropped everything, she prepared, she came in with a great attitude, arrived on time and did the work. The CD said "it felt in that room like she was there to get the job."
Interesting right? How many auditions do you go in with the attitude that you are there to "get the job?" Or is it just another audition for you? Are you really signaling, by your level of professionalism, that you WANT this job. Everything you do - when you arrive, how you dress, how prepared you are - is being read by casting. They have their 10,000 hours at looking at performances. You cannot get away with anything and there are no "second chances" as this CD put it - there used to be time to see if someone would "grow into being a great actor" those days are over.
So - I encourage you all to take this to heart. This is not me talking this is a CD who makes his living from casting TV, Films and Theater.
Believe him when he says he only has time for the best.