Is it quiet?

  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Hey everyone starting my first discussion so please be gentle. Just wondering if anyone else had found it very quiet at present. I am currently living in the barren land of Wales ;) and am unemployed although have just applied for work at The Wales Millenium Centre and although am doing some acting work at my local theatre and attempting to apply for work through Casting Call pro, P.C.R Starnow and any other way I can I have had barely any castings from my agent or from a teacher who is a casting director who incidentally has said it's quiet at present. Any thoughts? Could the credit crunch have anything to do with it?

    And if anyone wants to come and see me am doing a One Act festival at The Dylan Thomas Theatre, Swansea in a play called 'Curses Foiled Again' for 1 night only on August 13th at 7.00p.m. (I think it is) will update.

    • 14th Aug 2008
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  • Alan Brent

    Actor

    You must bear in mind that it is never 'busy' in this Industry until you are working!

    Every excuse people use seems to start with 'It's quiet'!

    Sorry to dampen any enthusiasm. But in Yorkshire we have twelve productions going on and the Yorkshire based agents are working their socks off to get the casting information from London based casting directors.

    I had four castings last week. Three in London and one in Manchester for Yorkshire based work. I'm busy ...travelling up and down the east coast rail lines!!

    • 5th Aug 2008
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  • Blake J Askew

    Actor

    edward,

    its pretty normal for this time of year- it usually picks up in September.

    • 5th Aug 2008
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  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    Well, both Alan and Blake are correct, of course. The industry being 'quiet' is, as Alan says, always relative - it is never truly 'quiet', and it may simply be the case, for instance, that nothing fitting your casting bracket has emerged for the past month or so in the forums that you/your agent has access to. We are always at the mercy of whim in this industry.

    On the other hand, and with a slightly more upbeat attitude, Blake is right to say that this particular period in the casting season is often a bit sparser in terms of parts offered (particularly for the stage). Many industry professionals have their hands full with summer shows that they cast back in the early spring, or with shows that are running at the Edinburgh or other fringe festivals, and will not start thinking about casting for new shows until these months are over. Similarly, many producing theatres work seasonally, and they will have cast, say, a Spring-Summer rep between January and April, and will not cast for the Autumn-Winter until September or October. There is certainly a feel that the Summer months (June-August) sit between the end of one 'block' of casting endeavours, and the opening of the next.

    Hope that helps.

    • 5th Aug 2008
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  • Alan Brent

    Actor

    As usual, Lee has come up with a great answer!

    • 5th Aug 2008
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  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    But Lee surely this doesn't include filma and tv as well, stage I can understand? I really appreciate your comments. Also am ringing up Casting Directors and one of the books The Actor's Handbook (an old copy) says in some of them that I shouldn't ring for queries. Should I throw caution to the wind and not ring or should I have nothing to lose and ring them up? My brother's a production runner and got work by cold calling. He says that I can't afford to be polite anymore and just go for it.

    • 6th Aug 2008
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  • Monty Burgess

    Actor

    Hi Edward,

    To be honest, I'm not sure about how successful that approach is for an actor (cold calling). It definitely works for crew and is sometimes the best way to get work...but as an actor I'm not sure of the success of such a venture.

    • 6th Aug 2008
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  • Samantha Montgomery

    Actor

    Eek, I'd avoid calling casting directors. They get annoyed.

    It's quiet for me too at the moment but as Lee said, I put it down to my being part of an over subscribed ilk.

    Either that or I'm missing something!

    Stay patient and you'll find your way. Don't you just hate it when people say that...!

    • 6th Aug 2008
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  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    I'm not convinced as to whether cold calling can be effective for an actor, either.

    As has been said, most professionals in the industry don't appreciate unsolicited contacts, which is why the Actors Handbook advises against them - but, to be frank, most casting directors aren't about to waste their time needlessly filling their day with fielding unwanted phonecalls anyway. It is very easy for them to switch the answerphone on, and screen messages as and when they are left. Many switch the answerphone on and listen to the message whilst they are in and quite capable of reaching the phone; only if it is someone they are interested in talking to will they break off from what they are doing, and take the message. And I know this because I've seen it in action during meetings with casting directors, agents etc.

    Realistically also, it must be asked, what are you looking to have the person on the other end of the line offer you? For most agency related questions, as I'm sure you know, the best you can hope for is to establish whether the books are open or not (which may, admiteddly, be useful), and then the agency, if potentially interested, will ask for you to put an application in writing. Similarly, I think the only concessions you could win from a casting director over the phone would be a) to have it confirmed that they would be happy to accept your paper submission in the post or b) very remotely, the possibility of getting a meeting with them. They're hardly going to cast you in something on the basis of an unsolicited phonecall!

    If you can win a meeting then, obviously, you are in with a far better chance of being taken seriously as a casting option by the CD in question. But the vast majority are nowadays far too busy to want to spend time meeting actors in person, unless they have a very specific part/project in mind, in which case you will be called in via your agent in the first instance.

    I don't think it necessarily true that every casting director you might cold call would give you short shrift, but I do think that even the nicest and most approachable would take the approach that you should send them your CV and headshot, and if anything that suits you comes up, they might consider you. Given that you could probably have done this anyway of your own volition, cold calling really seems just a circular exercise.

    • 7th Aug 2008
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  • Blake J Askew

    Actor

    My response is- dont knock it till youve done it- its a risk but i hgave gotten generals and auditions through doing it.

    • 7th Aug 2008
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  • Blake J Askew

    Actor

    And many dont get annoyed at all... they are very friendly.. some are not but thats life.

    • 7th Aug 2008
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  • Blake J Askew

    Actor

    I am really blabbing on, but I do think that its worth mentioning that if actors always tend to live in fear nothing will ever get done.

    Some CDs arre not conducive to getting calls from actors but my persoanl experience is that the best CDs are ALWAYS courteous and polite on the phone and some have had conversations with me as well.

    If you call, be polite, to the point and brief, but they are friendly and ultimately, some will never ever be nice, but even if you have the best agent in London, they cannot be solely relied upon to provide the auditions.

    Edward, I would use EVERY contact you have and also caslll whoever you feel welcomes the calls.. if they say no in the Actors yearbook, then dont- but if they seem to welcome it, calll and be really brief.

    The early bird gets the worm is a saying I totally adhere to in this business....

    • 7th Aug 2008
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  • User Deleted

    This profile has been archived

    Thanks everyone. I just wonder if there's something better, Blake that I can say instead of 'hi saw on imdb you did this and this and I've heard that you're casting for this and I was wondering if I could put my name forward'? + It's v.difficult to get people (as in CD) especially being in Wales to come and see something I'm in as the majority are up in London and say Manchester, but I am open to performing in those eplaces if needs be.

    • 7th Aug 2008
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  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    Well, to follow through on Blake's reply...I think if there is something that you would seriously like to be considered for which you know the casting director concerned is working on, AND YOU THINK YOU HAVE SOMETHING SPECIFIC TO OFFER TO THE PRODUCTION, then there is no reason why the call will not be taken seriously.

    This may appear to contradict what I said in the last post...but what I meant then was that a purely unsolicited call apropos of nothing in particular doesn't appear to be of much use.

    A specific call about a specific project can only, at worst, receive a disinterested dismissal. As Blake says, if you are calling at the right time i.e. just when the casting director concerned has realised that there are gaps in their casting brief that need to be filled, they may welcome the opportunity to consider your offer.

    I do feel, however, that if you are not sure what you can say to convince the CD you would be good casting for the project, then you are ringing them for the wrong reason. Whatever it may be - that you have always had a deep and abiding knowledge of the work of the writer whose book is being adapted; that you recognised a work about a certain group of people might well fit your regular casting bracket; that you feel you have special skills to bring to a project - all this may genuinely interest a casting director, and encourage them to want to see you. It's only the same principle whereby, in a covering letter, I think you must stress why you are suitable for a role being offered. Essentially, everyone wants to know you have something specific which can be offered to the piece, and will serve to improve its general quality. This has to be the hook that gets interest - only after that, do questions of what your personality etc. is like get addressed.

    Blake is undoubtedly right to say that the most professional CD's of longest standing will tend to be courteous regardless, as they have trained themselves to be diplomats over many years. My previous point was not so much that casting directors, by and large, are horrific ogres, just that many of them know exactly how they like to cast, who they want to cast, and what channels their castings will go through, and many will have methods to circumvent too much deviation from these principles in place (such as screening phonecalls etc.).

    Blake is right, however, that it is an issue of striking it lucky; if, in any capacity (and this includes watching a casting director in a workshop, meeting them randomly after another performance etc.), you fit a niche that the director needs to fill at the time of inquiry, you may well find yourself offered auditions you didn't expect.

    But I still think, if you are going to directly offer yourself up for the sake of a particular project, you need to have a decent argument as to why you might contribute something to the project in question.

    • 7th Aug 2008
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  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    Actually, now I have just read back the replies, I realise that there may be a couple of wires getting crossed here.

    Forgive me if I'm wrong, Blake, but you appear to be implying that, on occasion, having sourced a casting director, you have rung them up asking about the possibility of being seen for a specific project, and they have ultimately agreed to this.

    This seems a logical achievement to me, because as I was just saying, if the casting director needs certain types, talents, skills etc., AND YOU OFFER THEM AT THE APPROPRIATE MOMENT, there is no reason that they will rule you out. Quite how they follow up on your suitability for the project in question I leave for Blake to explain: a casting director worth his/her salt will wish to make sure you don't call their reputation for good judgement into question at an audition, and so will be eager to assess you to some degree. At the very least, they should want to read your CV, perhaps watch a showreel, see you perform either in a separate project or at a personal meeting, face-to-face.

    Perhaps, Blake, did you mean that the phone calls secured you the intial audition with the casting director?

    Anyway, that's one thing. And, broadly, I agree with Blake; such approaches to CD's may be slightly unconventional, but how will they ever know you are out there unless you bring yourself to their attention? The idea that Edward has been talking about, however, seems to be more along the lines of asking the Casting Director, apropos of nothing much, whether they would be prepared to come and see another performance, assess a long-term suitability for being 'kept on file' etc. I think that this sort of thing can be done as effectively on paper as over the phone (indeed casting directors would prefer to have your CV in hand in such a scenario). Also, that nowadays, most CD's do not put themselves out any more than many agents do to attend performances - there is simply not enough time to do it, and those who do make it a point of principle to keep up with what is happening in theatre will generally go to the most high profile shows currently being developed.

    The best chance of getting casting directors on side, I reiterate, is applying to them when they are specifically looking for certain types of actor to cast. Then, there is the chance that they will see you, remember you and take your application seriously.

    • 7th Aug 2008
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  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    Ach, my final formulation on this (in more direct response to Edward's last question):

    1. If the inquiry is about a specific casting, be specific about what you can offer to the project

    2. It's unlikely that the CD would be prepared to come and see you in something a long distance away if you are being offered a casting very quickly 'on spec'. What they might concievably do is ask you for a meeting as a preliminary to letting the casting go forward - because this relies on you making sure you have time to get to them, rather than the other way about. They can always test your ability to cold read, ask for audition speeches etc. at a meeting like this, and assess your potential this way. Undoubtedly, they will also have checked Spotlight for your details and so on, before the meeting occurs.

    • 8th Aug 2008
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  • Blake J Askew

    Actor

    Its as simple as calling them up, asking if you can send your Cv and photo and if you have an agent- then getting them to follow up, and maybe see if you can get a general. Save all the spiel etc and you enjoying what they cast etc in this or that film for the letter..... simple, businesslike and to the point.

    THATS IT. nothing else.

    • 8th Aug 2008
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  • Alan Brent

    Actor

    Lee has covered a very complicated subject in his usal extremely thorough manner.

    My view is that as 'a bit of paper' on the desk amongst maybe hundereds of other 'bits of paper' a CD is probably looking to reduce the workload by trying to find 'reasons why not' to cast someone rather than 'reasons why' someone should be seen.

    Individuals then are reduced to photo first, CVs second and then, if you're lucky showreels third.

    Look at it logically and you'll probably realise that is the case. You're busy all the time. You have to get this job sorted out and the quicker it can be done the sooner you can move on. THAT is the principle of how they work. The shorter the time the better the profit they make. Simple.

    LUCK plays a massive part in this. If you get LUCKY and happen to know what they are casting and when AND can link all that into a timely contact then MAYBE....

    However it is also fair to say that busy people are also not happy to be disturbed when they are busy. Especially if the approach is NOT welcome or entirely innapropriate.

    'Having the Bottle' to do what you suggest will work one of two ways. You'll either land the part you want OR be so bad for you that you become labelled as 'A Pain' that stands you out from the crowd. Sadly, then, well at the back of any queue!

    Your choice. We all go about this Business in our own (sometimes similar and logical) ways.

    AND, if you get a kick up the arse, you can always change your name and try another way!!!

    • 9th Aug 2008
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  • Lee Ravitz

    Actor

    Ah, okay...well, I see what Blake was actually getting at now...the process of ringing a CD up to determine whether they would be interested in fielding an application and then...er, sending the application.

    I did imply that that seemed a bit pointless in my opinion (when you could have just saved yourself the phonecall and sent the letter)...but I suppose that the phonecall serves as an introduction, and *may* make them more liable to remember who you are when the application turns up in the post. And, at least, by canvassing them first as to whether they are accepting 'submissions', you're giving yourself a better chance that the application won't just be thrown in the bin.

    I bow to Blake's superior experience in this: if he has gained general castings by this method, then all power to it, but I think the very fact that these were 'generals' (musical theatre auditions, Blake?) is suggestive. If I am reading the term right, then by a 'general' is meant a large-scale, high turnover 'cattle-call' type audition. Within this context, I assume the question of whether the casting director knows a great deal about you personally may not matter overmuch: they will have sent forwards (presumably) many different candidates for this form of audition who all seem to have promise, but their reputation is hardly hinging on whether their candidates turn out to be ideal or otherwise, because there are so many of them. In a smaller scale set-up, I simply find it hard to envisage why a casting director would not want to vet you as an individual extensively first before allowing you to go forward and represent his/her 'casting brand'. In that scenario, I would assume that the initial application could only be usefully followed up by a personal meeting - and that, in virtually all cases, this would be generated in the context of a specific project.

    • 10th Aug 2008
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  • Samantha Montgomery

    Actor

    I think the most important thing to remember is that it is in a casting directors interest to cast as quickly and efficiently as possible. They don't want to sift through actor after actor as it's not conducive to productivity.

    If they find the person for the role then they're happy with a job well done. Whether that actor has hit them through an agent or via a picture on their desk, it doesn't make any difference.

    To reiterate, everything in moderation. Thats obvious. But forwarding your details is fine. I, personally, don't see the point of calling as they'll ask to see your details anyway.

    Send a hard copy of your CV and photo. Job done.

    • 10th Aug 2008
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