You’re in good shape, studying, primed, and in great form. You’ve been training, got great headshots, have a resume and ready to get work. Are you easy to find?
Can industry people look you up and get a sense of who you are, what type you are, and if you’re right for a part they are looking at? Also, can they see the level of actor you are so they can consider you for a part that they feel you can play? And most important, can they do it easily and effortlessly? That’s key.
This is one area that you as an actor have total control over, so you can and need to make this happen. Many times we’re helping cast a project and we’re going through our list of people. The casting person and director want to know more about the actor before calling them in as there are only a number of spots available, and they want to take the best advantage of the spaces they have. They will ask, what has this person done? How experienced are they? Can they handle a lead or a smaller supporting role? Can they do comedy? Are they the right type? If we can answer that question off the top of our head great, maybe we can for a number of people, but the more they can get that information, the better. And most important is - how easy is it? That’s key.
Here are my suggestions based on the research I’ve done and from my own personal experience in casting.
- Have a good picture that looks like you do.
- A resume that is structured correctly showing your credits including TV, Film, Theater, Other, Special skills, Training, Union Status, and contact info
- A Listing on IMDB
- A link to a site where they can see a sample of your work.
The last one is the one that most people need to improve on. You want to make it easy for someone to see your work. Sometimes a link to a piece of footage is good. A website is great, be sure to make it easy for them to navigate. Many actors make their website an art project. That can be nice but a casting director wants to see your work. And fast. The fewer clicks the better. Many times when we’re looking at actors, we have to keep clicking from page to page to see a sample. We often get tired and lose interest quickly. MAKE IT EASY! They are looking at a lot of people!
My suggestion is you should have a number of short clips that are easy to view. Keep them short and give them a label. You don’t need to have a lot, three looks and types are a great start, even just one if fine that’s all you have. Keep it simple, and make sure the lighting and sound is excellent. They want to see what you like and see your work, they are normally not usually in the project you’re doing. (Not initially anyways).
My suggestion is 15-40 seconds of a look is enough. Remember you want them to be interested enough to call you in. Too much and they’ve already seen your audition. You want to use your reel to get you in the door so you can read their material, brilliantly. Label them if you can so they can go right to it. For example professional, blue collar, parent, college student, doctor, cop, lawyer, comedy, action, etc. If you have a special skill, show it, like comedy, singing or dancing. Remember the purpose of your footage is to get them interested in you and call you in. There is a fine line between not enough and too much. Have a friend or professional help you make your choices.
An outside neutral professional can often be a great help as you are probably very attached to what you think works.
Get outside advice. I spend a lot of time with actors helping them with their tape. In most cases, I am re-editing and making clips shorter and cutting things out. Sometimes less is more.
Some people start with only one piece of footage. That’s fine, get something up and build them as you go. Don’t make the mistake of waiting until you have everything you want because you’ll procrastinate and never be satisfied. You’ll also miss out on parts for that one piece. Get started. Remember, you want to look professional, specific, and make it easy for them to find you.Are you