Good Actors Wanted
- Good Actors Wanted
Actors often ask me this kind of question:
"How can I get a casting director to hire me?"
Or sometimes they'll make this sort of statement:
"I'm a trained actor, but the casting directors
won't hire me. They only hire their friends."
Once in awhile I'll hear this complaint:
"This is a terrible town. Casting directors don't
care if you're talented. They hire the same people
over and over. A new actor - no matter how talented
- hasn't got a chance."
Okay, in an effort to clear the air between actors
and casting directors I'm going to tell you the
absolute truth ... from a producer's perspective.
First off, casting directors don't do the hiring
(unless we're talking about background work). The
casting director's actual job is to find actors who
will be sent to the producers for consideration.
They work for the producers.
The producers do the hiring.
Now, when the producers assign a casting director
to a project, they enter into that relationship
with certain expectations. Whether it is television
(where the producers are mostly writers), or film
(where the producers are generally trying to serve
the vision of the director - who will usually make
the final decision) the producers operate under
the assumption that the casting director will bring
in GOOD actors to choose from.
What follows is a list of implicit (and sometimes
explicit) expectations of most producers, when they
send the casting director off to find their cast.
These are the assurances that producers routinely
expect from the casting director with regard to
every actor being brought in for consideration.
These comprise the casting directors' marching orders
and the casting director only ignore these dictums
at the peril of his or her own job.
This is the producer's definition of GOOD:
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 takes advice.
This actor treats everyone like they are special.
This actor wants to serve the needs of the
This actor wants us to be successful and make a
This actor demonstrates that s/he deserves to be
This actor is intelligent and demonstrates good
This actor has the same value system and work ethic
as we do.
This actor demonstrates integrity, loyalty and honesty
This actor wants to work as hard as we do to
This actor possesses and demonstrates mental and
This actor personally guarantees his/her contractual
agreement with us.
You probably noticed that talent and training weren't
mentioned. That's because, at the professional level,
talent and training are expected. Most producers will
assume that if you meet these other qualifications,
you will probably be a professional actor.
They'll be right 99% of the time.
Since casting directors know perfectly well what
their duties really are - often some very talented
and well-trained actors ... who are late, who complain,
who disparage the show, who don't play well with others,
who don't listen, who don't 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.
Bluntly? Life is too short.
Believe me, most casting directors aren't so high up
on the food chain, that they can't be fired for one
The same actors get hired repeatedly because they
exemplify these qualities, habits and traits the
things that producers are really looking for and
casting directors, frankly, want to keep their jobs.
Become an actor who possesses the things mentioned
above and you will book more work - no matter the
level of your talent or training.
Because if that's the kind of actor you are ... your
"friend," the casting director, will "bring you in"
to the producers a lot more often.
And you can take that to the bank.
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Bob Fraser is a retired actor, writer, director
and producer on such series as Full House, Benson,
The Love Boat, Condo, Phyl & Mikhy, and many more.
He is also a regular columnist for Now Casting,
Actors Life, Acting Magazine, FABactor, and been
a lecturer at AFI, SAG Conservatory, Equity Library
Theatre, UCLA, USC, Denver University, Film Industry
Network, Women In Film, Actors Creative Network,
Actors Site and others.
Bob's work has been written upin The New York Times,
Variety, Hollywood Reporter,Backstage, The London
Times, The Reader's Digest, and dozens of other
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