What are Casting Directors looking for?

Published on in Advice / Tips & Tricks

With the new revamped Casting Notices on ProductionHUB, we thought it would be great to get some tips on what casting directors are looking for when searching for talent. We recently caught up with Nancy McBride, a casting director in the industry so many are wanting to break into. She shares her thoughts and experiences with actors she’s met and trained, while also sharing with us 5 simple tips for actors to quickly remember before heading out to that next audition…

As a Casting Director, I am looking for reliable talent. I love talent who will work for me on a no pay short film to a paid job. I want talent to see, that I work on both for networking purposes, just like they should. It’s truly about networking and leads for your next paid job. This actually shows me who is truly taking their craft serious and working to keep their skills up. It also allows me to meet and see their skills. A lot of times when I am on set, the actors get good one on one with me. This is good for the actors to ask questions and as well as for me to meet them on a personal basis and see what they are all about.

I do have pet peeves. My biggest one is read the breakdown. Please know what you’re applying for! If the role I am casting for is an extra role, and you only work principal work, then do not apply. If you only work paid jobs, do not submit for non paid jobs. As well as if I am looking for an African American Female and you’re a Caucasian male, what good is that for me? These are all examples of things my staff and I have gone through over the last couple of months. This is a waste of time for me and my staff. It also looks bad on the actor, and if blindly submit enough you will get stigma and not be taken serious.

So here are my tips for Actors:

  1. Always know what you’re applying for. Cut and paste the ad to the bottom of your submission to keep track of it.
  2. Work in your local area for free and for paid, this keeps your skills honed in.
  3. Work as extra; it’s a great way to network with crew and casting. (Remember you don’t have to list everything you do on your resume.)
  4. Attend any network socials, or even film festival- producers, directors and Casting personnel attend these events.
  5. Don’t blindly submit to jobs.

Good Luck and Break a Leg!

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