Your chess moves to your top five Casting Directors

Don’t be a sentimental fool and get bogged down in the good old days. Now is the time to have the courage to attack those goals you set back in January with conviction. It’s March so everyone is a little bit happier, it’s getting warmer, the days are longer (well except for you lovelies down under) and holidays are all done and dusted. It means that the acting world is starting to get busy again. And just because you don’t see a casting on Spotlight or LA Casting, doesn’t mean that behind the scenes the directors, producers and Casting Directors aren’t wheeling and dealing. So get a move on. Time waits for no BABE. And this has inspired today’s post.

When I start working with new clients we often look at what their goals and intentions are for the year ahead. They spend time working through the things that really make them tick, those things that really get them excitable, those things they despise, and then we knuckle down and do the business. I don’t do it for them, obviously, but I do help with making a plan of attack that is clear and concise.

And bearing all that in mind, here are a few little secrets on what you might want to consider spending a little time on as you kick into Spring the right way. It’s about making sure you’re on the same page as your agent and the Casting Director. It is about knowing where you get the work from:

1) What are your three top stereotypes?
Much as we hate them (darling we are actors we can do any role) stereotypes help to pigeonhole us and make it easy for a Casting Director to put us in a casting bracket. And you want them to do that, initially at least. If they know where to place you, they know when to cast you. What roles do you suit?

  • Are you a young mum?
  • Are you a girl next door (ladies in your 30’s, this is not you anymore sorry!)?
  • Do you play the sassy vixen well?
  • Does your fiery red hair and flushed cheeks lead you to English Rose castings?

Know your type.

2) Find out how often you audition for these type of roles

Go through and review your last 12 month’s of auditions. See who you are seen by regularly, and which jobs you book. Are the stereotypes you’ve noted above actually the jobs you are booking?

I once had an actor tell me they wanted leading lady roles all the time. Sadly though, they weren’t the typical casting type for Ryan Gosling. I think it’s far easier to start in the place where people naturally see you, and then get that Gosling role later once you’ve proved yourself. But perhaps that is just me.

3) Once you know your top three casting types, work out who the top five Casting Directors are that you most want to be seen by?

  • Why them?
  • Firstly, do they cast the types of roles, and within the age bracket, you are perfect for?
  • Ever been in front of that CD? No? Well then this is the time to focus on that.
  • What is the Casting Director you want to be in front of currently casting? Do you suit any of those role? Does your showreel reflect that?
  • Is that CD going to be doing any workshops in the near future that you can enrol into? If you don’t know who is running workshops in your local area now is the time to find out. I have seen acting buddies get into an audition room just after they have been seen at CD workshop, both here and in the US. If you choose the right sessions they can bode you well.

Ladies be fearless. Work on the business side so you make your job as easy as possible.

And while you’re at it, during the Oscar mayhem, make sure you take an hour out of your week to watch the RoundTable for the nominees for best actress. Every year I watch these because I want to hear what the professionals who are at the level I want to be at, say. And every year I am delighted and surprised by their tenacity, camaraderie, strength and talent. True professionals spend time praising other true professionals and getting on with work. And each of these ladies talk about how hard they worked and how long they worked at it. This is a marathon, and one worth doing the work for.

12 thoughts on “Your chess moves to your top five Casting Directors

    • Gustavo says:

      Good morning Brendan, I am working as a Supporting Actor with one payslip away from joining Equity. I am starting at the bottom but as soon as I get the card’ I will be looking for small parts to start with. I know with SA its what is asked for but what annoys me is that after joining the Agency, how when I go on an assignment, people have not joined or signed a contract and paid to have photo’s done and yet they get constant work and I have done this thinking I would not get work. Not only is it unfair, but puts me in a position where I feel if I complain, I will be putting myself in a bad position which is why I have not. I have read your book which is great and I noticed that I have already do the some of things you talk about naturally. Thank you for that. I am not yet an Actor and have only gained the B-Tec National with 16 Distinctions, 8 Merits and one pass. I have not been in a position to take up the work until now some time after my B-tec. I joined a local theatre and was totally ingnored as they are a click’ even after reading for every play, wrnkiog as a lighting tech, painting sceans etc. I gave it my best and currently looking for another theatre to join. (Brush myself off and start again)! I live outside of London but was about to join an Agency there as well as where I live, but at this time, its the cost. The reason for this is how to get work on other projects like Downtown Abby etc. I know I have probably answered my own questions but it is good to talk. With kindest regardsThe old fossil

      • Angela says:

        Hi Gustavo,
        Thanks for your comment. I suspect you might have wanted Brendan McNamara to read this and if you did, you can get him here:

        But some thoughts on what you are talking about…I agree. This industry can be unfair and it does mean we will feel like we spend a lot of money for little outcome at times. Unfortunately if you want to get to projects like Downtown Abbey, you do have to do the work, put in the hours, and get the headshots done.

        Definitely suggest trying to find another theatre to join. Theatre roles are a wonderful way to hone your acting skills and to meet likeminded individuals. And if they weren’t the right group, surely another group will come along that you’ll suit. Drop me an email at if you ever need any questions answered.

    • Nati says:

      Dear VJ Thanks for your questions. An agent is ufsuel but not vital to getting auditions. Actor directories like THE SPOTLIGHT AND CASTING CALL PRO give Casting Directors the opportunity to send casting calls direct to unrepresented actors. A lot of actors also find their own work through networking and writing letters to productions, film schools, theatre companies etc. It depends on the production as to who will be considered more favourably represented or unrepresented. Self tape auditions are fine for a reel but keep the shot simple don’t try and be clever with the camera as it just distracts from the content. Hope that helps.

      • Angela says:

        Hi Nati, all excellent thoughts and suggestions.

        And you’re absolutely right. At the end of the day it won’t just be about an agent or otherwise. But they’ll surely help you on the journey as sometimes they see castings you won’t see on Spotlight or CCP yourself.

        Networking, writing letters, film schools and theatre companies are all excellent ways to get credits, work and more experience. I definitely agree and suggest actors take time to target the right avenue for their skills and expertise.

  1. Jacke Belstaff says:

    I’ll right away snatch your rss feed as I can’t in finding your e-mail subscription link or newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Kindly let me know so that I may subscribe. Thanks.

    • Angela says:

      Hi Jacke,
      Right at the top of this post on the right-hand side there is a little box that says Subscribe to Pop your email in there and you’ll get my monthly email roundup…but check back on the site for the weekly updates.

  2. Pingback: Managing your ‘resting time’ as an actor (JUNE) | Begin Acting. Be Everything.

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