Covering Letter

  • Carrie-Louise Knight

    Actor

    What makes a good/excelent covering letter?

    What should I put in my covering letter to apply for castings?

    I have tried keeping it brief, being direct and to the point, bigged myself up and nothing seems to catch the eyes of the employer.

    What am I doing wrong?

    Please help..

    Thanks

    • 12th Aug 2010
    • 3029
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  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    I am in exactly the same situation! I am deff intrested if anybody has any ideas about this!

    • 7th Aug 2010
    • 1
  • Mark Kempner

    Actor

    OK...this has been well covered in other threads...I get 100's of applications for my Co from actors. The cover letter is important...however, are you both sure your are correct in blaming your cover letters?

    I have lots to suggest about your profiles...but we need to see what yiu are currently applying for...agents...or jobs or both?

    So as an example...I set the following example for you two....plus anyone else to chip in of course:

    CASTING...(Example only)

    THEATRE Co is looking for hard working actors for it's 2010 season of Drama. A variety of plays for a variety of actors, we are seeking actresses in their 20's. A variety of parts are on offer.

    --------------

    What would you put in your application letters to the casting dep of that theatre? Don't be general with your answer....give the forum an actual application letter in your answer.

    • 7th Aug 2010
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  • Karina Marie Booth

    Actor

    I am currently applying for work and definately feel I am having the same problem. Any advice would be very welcomed.

    • 8th Aug 2010
    • 3
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Hello

    I have experience in various roles and plays, I have just been part of my university degree show of clockwork orange which I muli-roled 8 different characters. I am very flexile and keen. Feel free to contact me at any time if you wish to know any further information.

    Thanks Victoria Mulqueen

    • 8th Aug 2010
    • 4
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Well ... having seen the various 'applicants' ... I would say 'SPELLING', to each and everyone !!.

    Bear with me .. woke up a bit groggy.

    • 8th Aug 2010
    • 5
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Sorry I'm dyslxic should prob type in word first then

    • 8th Aug 2010
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  • Clare Cameron

    Actor

    Hi Victoria,

    Forgive me if this seems harsh but hope you'll take it in a 'tough love' sort of a way. Spelling: yes, spellcheck it first, followed by checking grammar, spacing and capital letters. If your letter or email doesn't even look professional at first glance, I think it's unlikely to be read with all due care and attention.

    I know you're new to this so to give you a quick idea of what you're up against: several years ago, a director friend was casting for a 20-something female role in a fringe production at a known fringe venue, low paid (not profit-share) - for one role he received 400 apps. A casting dir who casts for a significant BBC series says if he puts into Spotlight search: female, 20s playing age, Caucasian, the search will turn up thousands. The odds are against you and, if you can appreciate that from the CD's perspective they're being inundated, you need to ensure everything you send out is of professional standards so that content gets read and not thrown aside because of poor presentation. We live in a world where we are marketed to constantly; you need to learn to pitch yourself in an over-saturated market.

    Next, use the language of a professional and also language that is recognised and used in the industry. "I have experience in various roles and plays" tells me nothing about either the type of shows you've been in or the type of characters you've played especially when I then look at your CV and your training roles aren't detailed. How about: I've recently completed a BA Hons in Theatre Arts and during the course of my training played (insert a role or play that is significant to the casting you're currently applying for)OR.. played a number of lead roles/character roles including (insert as before). Our final year showing was 'A Clockwork Orange' in which I played multiple-roles including (insert more salient stuff)OR I am adept at playing multiple characters and appeared in roles as diverse as XX and YY in our final year showing of 'A Clockwork Orange'

    If you want to highlight the fact that you've done TIE, list the productions on your CV or, if it was as a workshop leader/facilitator, again, use language that conveys something and which re-assures people ie although I am only a recent graduate, I have a great deal of experience at leading (and planning..?) workshops for children. Working in this capacity/as a leader has allowed me to utilise my flexibility/learn to improvise around the demands of a 'live' audience....

    I am keen to work in (fringe/with children/interactive theatre) and would welcome the opportunity to audition for XXX...

    To sumarise:

    -Know where you are in the industry and what people are looking for.

    - Know your casting type.

    - Use the resources which are readily available to you ie this thread on this forum; other people's profiles and websites for comparison; inbuilt spellchecker.

    - Above all, remember that this is a business and you should be functioning as a professional in this job, as you would in any career.

    Victoria, forgive me using you as an example but I hope that this helps both you and Carina and Carrie-Louise. Incidentally, I've scrolled back over this and corrected typos about five times now. There are very few second chances in a competitive industry. Although the CCP forum is a little more forgiving!

    Best of luck all of you.

    • 8th Aug 2010
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  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Thankyou for your help much appriciated :)

    • 8th Aug 2010
    • 8
  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Vic print that letter off ... frame it, good and large, hang it over your keyboard ... you will get to look at it more than you look at your boyfriend .

    • 9th Aug 2010
    • 9
  • Dan Gregory

    Actor

    Excellent advice Clare.

    • 9th Aug 2010
    • 10
  • Kris Haddow

    Actor

    Great advice Clare - apart from the bit where you welcome the opportunity to audition for XXX, I think that's taking it to extremes... ;-)

    • 10th Aug 2010
    • 11
  • Nigel Peever

    Actor

    XXX erm well, She'd have the opportunity to demonstrate what "flexile" is on those sort of films :-) oooer misses.

    • 10th Aug 2010
    • 12
  • Mark Kempner

    Actor

    So apart from Claire...and Victoria.... nobody else dares to give their examples to the first three actors who were asking for advice? Chickens!!!

    Claire gives makes very good points.

    Spelling: I find it a nightmare myself...and rely on a spellchecker much of the time. As an employer though - I put much more importance on the letter content, attached pic and reel and the overall presentation, than an oversight on the spelling if I am honest....but I take the point it should all checked and be spelt correctly. Mind you - I've seen plenty of spelling errors from CD's and agents who I would like to impress!

    I think profiles, and general CV's/credits are the real issue in most cases. I would rather see one or two credits, and everything well presented and honest than a long list of "I've been in the following 10,000 jobs as The Doorman, The passer-by!" That just smacks of desperation and CV Padding.

    I think Directors, agents, CD's employers….we all want you to be fantastic, but we also need to feel we can trust you if we don't know you, and also get to know something about you that would make us say "Hmmm… interesting, lets see them!" This can be virtually anything, but it has to be something that splits you apart from everyone else of your type. Something which proves you know what you are about.

    What about in the example I gave you: A variety of parts….?

    Dear ……,

    I would be keen to have the opportunity of a short meeting, and finding out more about the plays, and the characters for which I might be suitable. I am free all of next week, would Wed 15th at 11am be suitable? If not, perhaps there maybe another more agreeable time to suit you?

    This is classic "closing the deal" positive approach. It's not begging, nor does it appear desperate, it's saying: I'm a pro, and I am going to suggest we have a quick chat, to see if I might be suitable for an audition, ….at this time and date. It might also tempt them to say: That is not a good time - but another time might be?

    Of course they might deem it as pushy…..but hells bells ….that's what marketing is, and I don't think it's that pushy anyway. If you do not hear back….you don't hear back. Move on…give it a week or two….and then call …unless they have said no calls.

    Actors who just tell me the classic: "I love acting, I'd be really good because I work hard and get on well with everyone" does not impress me at all….I would expect nothing less from a professional actor…. Nah...I want to see reasons to meet/audition "YOU"!!! What will YOU bring to a role, that others can't or might not bring?

    It's what I call honest - genuine - marketing. If it ain't good enough…well…OK…that's life. You won't win 'em all! Move on….improve or re-evaluate and so on.

    If the part and play "is" known to you, then do your research on the part and the whole play. Put a few brief thoughts in your application letter. The director will be very pleased to see you understand the piece, rather than just being desperate for a job or a CV credit.

    There are no set rules, every situation, part, every play, are of course all different, but you have to show you are more than able to meet the challenge, that you fit the brief, and that you are really worthwhile seeing.

    You are a brand, that's all we are as actors….a "business" brand! Now all we have to do is split our brand apart from similar brands.

    Look at the APPLE story! Ipads....complete white elephant, a good netbook is much more use. However, because it's Apple....it's flat, its sleek, its DIFFERENT and trendy. Very very clever marketing! APPLE make you feel like you MUST have one...you MUST need one.

    It's not easy….it's really hard, because there are so many similar brands available……but who ever thought this business would be easy, because they are very good at what they do?

    Acting is the easy bit….it's the build up that's hard!

    • 10th Aug 2010
    • 13
  • Rebecca Probyn

    Actor

    www.uk.castingcallpro.com/page.php?uid=7

    • 10th Aug 2010
    • 14
  • Leila Reid

    Actor

    Hey,

    I had loads of problems writing cover letters when I started out. The best advice is I can give is be clear, concise and to the point.

    Once you know your casting quiet a lot you come across a role you would be perfect for and you want to inform the CD of every single reason of why you are perfect for the role. I would suggest you write everything and then summaries to 1/4 of a page max.

    Many directors, producers and casting directors have said that if the letter is too long they just switch off- I don't know about everyone else but I have found 1/4 of a page is a good length.

    Marks advice is ace and so is Clare's, May I also add I am dyslexic too and it is no excuse for bad spelling and grammar either turn the spell checker or copy it in to word before you send it.

    Leila

    • 10th Aug 2010
    • 15
  • Clare Cameron

    Actor

    hehe, yes Kris & Nigel, you're quite right; try and avoid XXX work if possible! Unless that's what you're looking for, in which case, you're almost certainly in the wrong forum!

    • 10th Aug 2010
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  • Karina Marie Booth

    Actor

    Thanks for your spiffing advice Clare and Mark!! I followed it and now have an audition. Tried and tested!

    • 10th Aug 2010
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  • Mark Kempner

    Actor

    Yay....! Cheques payable to M kempner please!! Good luck with the audition.

    • 11th Aug 2010
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  • Clare Cameron

    Actor

    and C Cameron!

    Wonderful news; best of luck!

    • 11th Aug 2010
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