Tips for Actors Working in Film & TV

During the whole month of May, we facilitated 1:1 CV Surgery Sessions for Mandy members with some of the industry’s top casting directors. During these sessions, Mandy members received advice on their careers to ensure they are as equipped as possible to take on their next acting job or audition.

The casting directors we partnered with have cast incredible TV & Film productions in the UK and internationally. Our talented members have shared tips from the CDs - below you can read about their career highlights and some of their top tips:

Aisha has over a decade of experience casting film & TV projects, including The Impossible, Black Mirror and Peaky Blinders. She was recently nominated for a British Independent Film Award for Best Casting. 

Aisha's top tips:

  • Make sure you fine-tune your Mandy account. This includes ensuring that credits, headshots and skills are up to date and carefully selected. 
  • Interpret and understand the script in detail, making sure you have fun performing it. 
  • Use common sense, contact people the way you want to be contacted. 
  • Identify what casting directors you want to contact and send them a brief email with your experience.

Ceri has worked in casting across TV, Film, Theatre & Commercial projects and has cast huge productions, including Louis Wain, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Claire Foy. 

Ceri's top tips:

  • Keep showreels simple - two or three scenes of most recent work, not longer than three minutes, no need for musical montages or fast cuts.
  • It is ok to offer a couple of takes for a self tape, providing they are suitably different. It’s also ok to stage a scene in an appropriate location if the script asks for it, but otherwise a plain background is good. 
  • It doesn’t matter if you only have a 30 second showreel. A concise and quality showreel is better than one that is long but lacking in quality.

Sarah has over a decade of experience and has cast renowned TV & film projects, including Alfonso Cuaron’s Children of Men. She has also cast a number of well-known TV series for the BBC and ITV. 

Sarah's top tips:

  • Don’t overcomplicate scenes, set clear intentions and be truthful to the character. 
  • Have conversations with your agent about your submissions, career goals and who you’d like to get in the room with. 
  • Sit on your hands when rehearsing/doing self tapes to find stillness and limit extraneous movement. 
  • Loosen up and go with it in an audition, push it further than you think.

Lizzie has years of industry experience and has cast renowned TV and film productions, including Outlander, Mission Impossible 5 and Straight Outta Compton. 

Lizzie's top tips:

  • Keep your CV as up to date as possible as the more experience, the better. 
  • Make your CV tell as much information as it can: Were you a lead? How long did you train? 
  • Your CV really, really matters. No holes, be honest, the piece of information you think is unimportant might get you your first TV audition. Make it tell a good story for you.

Carl is one of London’s most in demand headshot photographers and has cast and produced incredible film & TV projects, including Mad Dogs. 

Carl's top tips:

  • Make sure your headshots show your range.
  • Do your research before getting a new headshot. Look online for ideas on specific shots before getting any done. Take control of the session.
  • Read Carl's headshot advice sheet.

Laura’s work has spanned the UK and USA and she has cast incredible projects. Most recently, the film 'Up There', which won the main prize at the Santa Barbara Film Festival in California. 

Laura's top tips:

  • Reach out and arrange meetings with not only CDs but other industry professionals. Find out who is casting what and where and contact accordingly.
  • Do your research, get to know the casting directors who are casting the very work you would like to do. 
  • Use this time to write to casting directors and arrange zoom meetings if possible.

Hayley has cast incredible TV productions across the UK including, Holby City, Doctors, Casualty, Nickelodeon's Goldie’s Oldies. 

Hayley's top tips:

  • Don't throw all your material at CDs in one email. Have an intention and offer focused and relevant channels for them to explore what you're offering.
  • Get straight to the material that best showcases your acting ability in a showreel, not delaying the action with montages and scenes which aren't best for your casting type. 
  • Just because there are not immediate results of your labour, it does not mean you’re not being pointed in the right direction. 
  • Know what productions you want to work on, research who's behind them and reach out - they're probably not just going to pull you in out of the blue.