Getting Past The "Door-Keepers"
Despite what you may have heard about door-keepers
there are many people on the other side of the desk
who are really on your side. One of the tragic mistakes
many actors make, is to assume that casting directors
and assistants are there to make things difficult.
In point of fact, actors are the only ones who can help
them do their jobs properly - and having a good business
relationship with a casting director can shorten your
climb to the top ... dramatically.
A casting director (sometimes called a casting agent)
is usually someone who enjoys and respects actors
and good acting. Ive worked closely with over 100
casting directors and have never met one who wasnt
a fan of good actors and good acting.
Actors often ask me this question: How can I get
a casting director to hire me?
Or sometimes theyll make this sort of statement:
Im a trained actor, but the casting directors
wont hire me. They only hire their friends.
Once in awhile, Ill hear this complaint: Casting
directors hire the same people over and over. A new
actor no matter how talented hasnt got a chance.
Okay, in an effort to clear the air between actors
and casting directors, Im going to tell you the
absolute truth ... from a producers point of view.
First off, let me make reality perfectly clear ...
CASTING DIRECTORS DO NOT HIRE ACTORS!
The casting directors actual job is to find actors who
are then suggested to the producers for consideration.
PRODUCERS HIRE ACTORS.
When a producer assigns a casting director to a project,
the producer enters into that particular relationship
with certain expectations. Whether it is TV, film or
theatre a producer operates under the assumption
that the casting director will bring in a selection
of good actors to choose from.
What follows is a list of the implicit (and sometimes
explicit) expectations of most producers - when they
send the casting director off to find their good
These are the assurances that producers routinely expect
from the casting director - with regard to every actor
being brought in for consideration. These essentially
comprise a casting directors marching orders and the
casting director will only ignore these dictums ...
at the peril of his or her own job.
These are the components of a producers definition of
good actor ...
This actor is sincere.
This actor is reliable.
This actor is a learner.
This actor is punctual.
This actor is collaborative.
This actor values our time.
This actor is an encourager.
This actor has clarity and focus.
This actor is peaceful, calm, and kind.
This actor appreciates (and accepts) advice.
This actor treats everyone like they are special.
This actor wants to serve the needs of the
This actor wants me to be successful and make a
This actor demonstrates that s/he deserves to be
This actor is intelligent and always uses good
This actor has the same value system and work
ethic as I do.
This actor wants to work as hard as I do to
This actor demonstrates integrity, loyalty and
This actor personally guarantees his or her
contractual agreement with me.
This actor possesses - and demonstrates - mental
and physical well-being.
You probably noticed that talent and training were
not mentioned. Thats because, at the professional
level, talent and training are expected.
Most producers will assume that if you meet these
other critical qualifications - youll probably be
a capable professional actor. Theyll be right 99%
of the time.
Since casting directors know perfectly well what
their duties actually are - often some very talented
and well-trained actors ... who are late, or complain,
who disparage the show, or dont play well with
others, who dont listen, or dont care about the
outcome of the project, who demonstrate a lack of
integrity, loyalty and honesty, etc. ... will find
it hard to get past the casting director - talent
Bluntly, life is too short.
Believe me, most casting directors arent so high up
on the food chain, that they cant be fired for one
lousy mistake. Which is why most of them hesitate to
deviate from their marching orders ... because,
frankly, they want to keep their jobs.
So, now you know why the same actors get hired over
and over again. Because they are actors who exemplify
those qualities, habits and traits that define a
good actor - the things that producers are really
looking for in a collaborator.
If you become an actor who possesses the good actor
traits mentioned above - you will book more work ...
no matter what the level of your talent or training
happens to be.
Because if thats the sort of actor you are ... you
will get in to see the producers a lot more often.
You can take that to the bank.
(From You Must Act! The Acting Career Course)
Bob Fraser is an actor, writer, producer, director
and author of You Must Act! The Acting Career Course
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