by Casting Director, Laurie Records
…ignore the simple details when self-submitting, leading Casting Directors to immediately “throw out” or disregard the submission.
I am amazed and saddened by the actor who is frustrated or struggling in their acting career, laments the fact that they never have work, or even receive auditions, and fail to take advantage of the opportunity to self-submit DAILY on jobs.
If you have no Agent, this should be a no-brainer. I recommend religiously checking the casting notices that are put out to actors, twice a day. More often than not, it pays to be one of the first to get your submission in, no matter what the submission deadline may be. This is the most standard way for actors without representation to find work. Work leads to increased experience, building your reel, meeting people and networking, something to brag about when submitting to Agents for representation. Self-submitting should be a mighty high priority of yours if you don’t have an Agent.
If you do have an Agent, be sure to respect their wishes and policies in self-submitting. Some say, “submit to your heart’s desire”, others say, “blessings on everything, but commercials,” (as they are your commercial Agent).
Wherever you fall, likely you should at the very least, be submitting on certain types of projects. It’s a good, proactive thing you can do everyday for your career. You all know, I am a big fan of that. But, nothing is worse than making the commitment to self-submit, and not do it smartly. If you are submitting and not getting much of a response, make sure you aren’t being immediately taken out of the mix, due to some simple, but serious errors.
Commercial actors should never ignore the simple details when self-submitting, leading Casting Directors to immediately “throw out” or disregard the submission.
Things move very fast in commercial casting… yes, I am a broken record. There is no time for a casting director to play the role of detective. Your goal should be to make their job of selecting YOU as easy as possible. Here are some simple ways to make sure you don’t immediately get passed over:
*Union actors submitting on Non Union jobs. If your online account says SAG and you are submitting on a non-union job, a Casting Director will likely pass you up. You might be SAG core, but your account doesn’t say that. A CD would probably assume you weren’t paying attention and pass you by. When I am casting, I certainly don’t have time to call you to verify. If you don’t want to have SAG core permanently on your account, LEAVE A NOTE saying that you are SAG core. That simple step will keep you from immediately being knocked out of contention.
*No note left when specifically requested to do so. Read all details of a breakdown very carefully. Sometimes a Casting Director will ask you to leave a note verifying you can skateboard and your skill level (for example). You may think that because you have that info on your resume that you don’t have to… YOU DO! If they ask you to leave a note verifying that you are avail for the shoot, do it. Do whatever they request, or they will pass you up for someone who has. Again, there is no time to call and verify. Read for details. It takes longer than wildly submitting, and it will pay off.
*Late in submitting. Many times actors submit late, or right at the last possible moment. I guess it’s better late than never, but this isn’t ideal. It’s probable your submission won’t even be seen. If you make a daily commitment to check the casting notices, you will not have this problem. If you check twice, you will get in on the last minute, same day calls. An emergency in casting can work to your benefit, especially if you are on the front end of submitting. Check over the weekend! Often times, there is some sort of emergency or time crunch that is behind a weekend posting. Get on those!
*Double submit. I think you all have heard this, but perhaps it’s just too tempting to resist. Don’t do it. It’s annoying and confusing. It’s easier to deselect you out of fear that you will be double or triple scheduled and bring in someone else. There is a lot of organization involved in scheduling. You put a kink in the scheduling process when you submit on more than one role. Trust that the Casting Director can move you to another role… or if you really want to cover your bases, leave a note saying you are interested in such and such other role in addition to the one you’ve submitted on.
*No resume. It’s a huge red flag if you have no resume posted. Casting Directors will assume you don’t have one (which is ridiculous! Even if you are just starting out, there are things to list). Many times, you won’t be given the time of day without the little R (for resume) next to your thumbnail. CD’s don’t even have to click on your photo to know you have nothing posted. No excuses. Far more often than not, you will be immediately passed up with no resume. There is no time to track you down for one. Have your resume posted on every online account, on your personal website, everywhere. Yes, even if it’s just for commercials. The exception: Print.
*No stats. Depending on the job, your personal stats can be extremely important. Fill out your profile completely. We all wish we were taller, shorter, 20 lbs lighter, but leaving those details off your profile doesn’t help you get the call, and in fact, it can mean an immediate pass over by a CD. You will be hired for the person you are. If you don’t like it, change it. Fill in your stats and sizes.
*No reel posted. Some jobs require reels for many different reasons. The Casting Director will make this clear. Ideally, your reel will be attached to your account. The CD can immediately view it and all is well. It’s certainly better than nothing to have it posted elsewhere on the Internet and leave a note. If you leave no note, have no reel attached when it’s requested, again, another immediate pass over. Don’t leave it up to the Casting Director to call/email you to get your reel. Most of the time, it won’t happen.
I am an advocate of actors self-submitting. But be smart. First and foremost, follow your Agent’s policy on the topic. You are a team. Don’t make the simple mistakes that will cause the Casting Director to pass you over. Remember to make it as easy as possible for the CD to select you. Give them everything they need and have asked for. Work begets work, folks. Effective self-submitting is a great place to start. Happy submitting!