10 Tips from casting director Ginny Schiller

Our recent #MandySurgery with casting director Ginny Schiller provided tailored career advice to all shortlisted candidates. The 1-2-1 session focused on how to navigate their acting career and land more roles by being specific and targeting their strengths.

Ginny Schiller is a casting director with over 20 years of experience. She kicked off her career with the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1997 before becoming a freelance casting director for theatre, film, television, radio and commercial. She has since worked with dozens of directors and producers including the award winning director Sir Trevor Nunn, and has cast for theatres such as the Royal Shakespeare Company, Young Vic, the Almeida Theatre, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, and Wilton’s Music Hall.

10 Top Tips from Ginny Schiller:

  1. Always have a specific reason to write to a casting director (new headshots, new agent, show invite or new showreel).
  2. It’s still worth inviting industry professionals associated with ‘text work’ to, say, a physical theatre performance you are in. Casting directors are not singular in their portfolios and still functions to put you and your work (as a working actor) on their radar, even if they don’t attend.
  3. Aim for more specific roles and castings. Be particular as to why you want a certain role.
  4. Push your agent more.
  5. Chase CDs via google, and approach them about specific parts (not general casting).
  6. Approach agents who may have already seen your work.
  7. Relinquish the idea of ‘type’ in casting - it’s outdated.
  8. When making a showreel, keep it short and sweet. Show diversity of roles if you have it, and don’t just shove irrelevant bits in there to bulk it up.
  9. Pick photos that show character and / or a sense of purpose when using stills.
  10. Keep doing opportunities but be choosy.

Feedback from shortlisted candidates:

‘Really positive. Ginny is super professional, focussed and approachable. It was wonderful to be able to do a couple of pieces for her. Ginny listens to your questions and gives you specific advice applicable to your situation.’
- Emily Swain

‘Really useful, such a valuable session, helped to focus my choices about how to develop my career and approach casting directors.’

- Rea Mole

‘Really good. Insightful into how it’s viewed from the other side of the audition panel. Helpful recommendations of ways to progress and push toward.’

- Chloe Wigmore

‘Helpful & Informative. Useful seeing how CD’s view things. Direct and engaging.’

- Claire Walmsley

‘It made me realise a lot about my CV and how I can make it better, to help me change my direction.’

- Jon-Scott Clark

‘It was really specific and helpful, Ginny gave very direct and clear answers and advice. She has a really refreshing no-nonsense energy which i could relate to, and it made me feel comfortable.

- Clementine Mills

‘Friendly, helpful and reassuring.’

- Devane Boyd

Mandy Surgeries are an exclusive opportunity for Premium members to book a FREE one-on-one career advice session with key figures in the industry. Not on The Mandy Network yet?