A friend of mine says that to be an actor you have to have the heart of a baby and the skin of a rhinoceros – that is: you have to be simultaneously resilient and sensitive to succeed in this industry. Facing as much rejection as we actors do can be incredibly difficult because when it comes down to it, we all have to be big softies to do our craft well. It’s painful when we’re told that what we have to offer perhaps isn’t enough, or that it isn’t right for the role (you worked so hard! How can they say no?), but what many actors don’t know is that the process of getting a role is not based purely off of your appearance, your credentials, or even (in some cases) the quality of your audition.
While all of the above factors are obviously hugely important to any of your submissions, the manner in which you conduct yourself with a casting director over the internet can often set the stage for the way you are received. If you send a sloppy, rude, or incomplete submission to a casting director, what they will read is that you don’t care enough to put in the time to come across as professional. Having sifted through casting call after casting call, we here at Claim Fame have seen some of the best – and the worst! – of online submissions. Here are some of our submission do’s and don’ts – straight from the pros!:
- Absolutely always proof-read your submission! No casting director is going to take someone whose email is rife with typos and grammatical errors seriously. It comes across as unprofessional and careless.
- Follow the directions the casting director gave on how to submit. Casting directors can be sifting through literally hundreds of emails a day, so they do not have the time to read through a confusing or disorganized email.
- Be polite! Signing off with a friendly “thanks for your consideration” or something in that vein can only help your image.
- Include everything they requested! They ask for information that they need, not just information they’d find interesting.
- Send simple photographs where you are the focus. When sending photos be sure they have a simple background, aren’t blurry, and do not include anyone else in the shot. You should be the star of the photos you send!
- Add a link at the bottom of your email near your signature to your website, actors access profile, or ClaimFame profile. This way, if a casting director wants to learn more about you for a role, view your reel, or see more pictures of you they can click on your link.
- Always include your contact information whether it is requested or not. How else are they supposed to get in touch with you?
Here is an example of a great submission
Subject: Female Fire Fighter
I am submitting for the role of the Female Fire Fighter.
Name: Jane Smith
Union Status: Non-Union
Dress Size: 6
Shirt Size: Med
Pant Size: 8
I have worked as a volunteer fire fighter in Atlanta for four years, and would love to work on this film! My reel and more photos of me are available at my website: www.JaneSmithActress.com
Thanks for your consideration,
- Submit multiple times. This is not a lottery. Sending in multiple submissions will not help you land the part. It will only make a casting directors job harder, and will therefore annoy them. We have even seen some cases where people have submitted multiple times only to have their names moved to the end of whatever list a casting director is working from!
- Ask the casting director for affirmation of your talent/appearance/resume despite not getting cast. If you are not cast it does not mean you are ugly or untalented or sloppy. It means you were not right for the role. Do not email the casting director asking for a nice email back that explains why you were not chosen (I have seen this happen), they absolutely do not have the time!
- Write a letter about why you are perfect for the role with a bunch of information about yourself that is completely irrelevant to the submission itself (unless you are asked to do so). It will come across as unprofessional and will likely make the casting director’s job harder.
- Send a photo of you with buddies, or you at a party, or you with a beer, or you with hot chicks/guys, or you at the leaning tower of Pisa. Send a simple, to the point, professional photograph where you are the focus.
- Leave information out. If you have not included a requested piece of information, they will not consider you. They are asking for your dress size for a reason. Don’t leave it out.
- Be rude. Would you want to work with someone who came across as aggressive or unpleasant?
- Joke. Jokes can be easily misconstrued over the internet. You may come across as juvenile, unprofessional, or rude. Stay on task!
- Be unprofessional. If you want to make this a career, it is important to create a reputation for yourself with casting directors (who have memories like elephants, by the way) as a professional, respectful, awesome-to-work-with human being. If you seem sloppy, immature, needy, or like a diva, they will not want to hire you!
Here is an example of a bad submission (assume that she is applying for the same role as Jane…would YOU want to work with Jackie?)
Subject: i am submitting to play female fire fighter
hello my name is jackie L. jones and i have wanted to b an actor since i was like 13 when i was in my first musical of iinto the woods where i played the grandmother i loved it. i was also in a commercial once as the water girl. everyone tells me that i am like the funniest person they kno especially mu family well they say that and they know me the best. i am also rly good at cryin on command haha. i know i am meant for movies. please cast me because i would be a really good fire fighter. once i even put out a fire in my back yard once.
i am 22 size four in dresses, size m in tops, size 2 in jeans. i am 5″6′. here are 4 pictures of me i am the girl on the left in the first one and i am in the middle in the third one.
i would be so so so good at this role ad i am so muc fun to work with. if i dont get cast i culd you please send me a nice note about that i didnt get cast cause im not pretty enouf. some of us need to have a little pick me up to keep going with acting. i know u guys want me :p 🙂 🙁 :*
email me here
Best of luck submitting! Tell us below which of these tips you found the most helpful, and feel free to ask any questions you have about submissions!