The acting world can often seem like an industry with closed doors, with the constant frustration of needing to be known to get roles/but needing the roles to become known. Granted this had been changing with casting directors and directors much more open and excited about finding new talent, but there's still a massive over saturation of actors and not enough roles for us all. I myself have spent years working hard to gain film and theatre credits through networking and getting recommended to others by word of mouth, but still to date have never been in an audition room with a casting director. But this could all change after lockdown...
Lots of amazing and generous casting directors and agents are taking the time to reach out to actors, or let actors reach out to them, while we all have this spare time. And it's absolutely invaluable. We would never normally have the opportunity to speak with these people, especially in a casual chat or Q&A session, as normally the first time you would meet them would be at an audition (or possibly a workshop). There are livestream chats and live Q&A's happening multiple times a day over on Instagram, more on Zoom too. We have Spotlight offering 1-2-1 chats with agents and casting directors in 15 minute slots (you can only book one of these mind, but it's still definitely something that actors should be trying to do). We also have lots of casting directors and agents doing general chats on WeAudition.com which was an initiative started by Sophie Holland Casting (The Witcher) with the hashtag #CastingCrushesCorona. And it's all for free. Yes FREE.
So why is this so important? Well for casting directors it gives them a chance to find new talent and meet people that they otherwise would not have met, plus they can get to know us a bit and find out what we're like as people. It's important to be easy to get along with if they may potentially cast you in a series that could run for years! For agents it gives them the chance to take on new clients, especially if they currently have spaces in their books. And for us actors...there are so many benefits!
Firstly it is really nice to be able to get to know the people behind the names. We all know the names of casting directors and agents, we all know who they are. But at the same time we actually don't. We don't know them as people, at least not yet. This is something that I'm really enjoying as everyone that I've spoken to has been so friendly and really helpful with their advice. They're also super encouraging which is lovely. Secondly for someone like me who has never auditioned for a casting director, it gives me a great chance to meet and get to know some of them! And also for them to get to know me a little, which will hopefully increase my chances of being called in to audition later if I suit a part that they're casting. It will also be nicer if and when I do get called in to audition for them as we will already know each other a little, so will be more relaxed in the casting room.
Also I have really liked the people that I've spoken to, so I will look forward to getting to meet them again one day, and not just because they could give me a job but because I'd like to talk to them more. Don't forget that we're all people who share a love of this industry! The last benefit that I'm going to write about is that this also gives us a chance to be productive, and proactive with our careers. I fully intend to come out of this lockdown with my career in a better place than it was in when it all started. Just because we're all stuck at home, doesn't mean that we can't do anything, learn anything, meet anyone new, or even just get more ready to get going again.
I want to take this moment to say a huge thank you to all of the people who are giving up their time to meet, help, encourage, educate and connect with actors during this time. I personally could not appreciate it more (and I know the same can be said of many other actors out there) that you are giving up your time to do this. Thank you!
If any actors reading would like to keep up to date with everything that's going on then head over to instagram and follow @MinuteMonologue (or click here) as they are sharing everything they can find in their story highlights. Any why not join in and do a monologue while you're there!