How to decide which casting directors to keep updated on your work

Over the years, the list of casting directors has grown and grown. How does one sort out the wheat from the chaff?

A good start is to search on the internet for The Casting Directors Guild. This is what they say about themselves:

'The Guild is a professional organisation of Casting Directors in the film, television, theatre and commercials communities in the UK and Ireland who have joined together to further their common interests in establishing a recognised standard of professionalism in the industry, enhancing the stature of the profession, providing a free exchange of information and ideas, honouring the achievements of members and standardisation of working practices within the industry.'

Anyone who has made themselves a member of this auspicious group is going to be worth contacting. They are serious about their profession and they are keen to be seen as such. So what to do next?

Have a look at their respective websites. How up to date is their casting CV? Have they worked well within the past year? With what sort of projects have they been involved? Are these the genres you wish to explore? You're going to have to put in the requisite leg work to get the most out of your search. Google their individual names. Find out what's being said about them and how prolific they are. Perhaps following them on Twitter will give you an idea of how much they are working and on what sort of things.

Spotlight's 'bible' - 'Contacts' - also has page after page of alphabetically listed casting directors. If you don't recognise any of the names, again - do your research. There is no point in sending an email, updating your details, to a casting director primarily involved in casting children, if you are in your 30s! Don't waste your own time and energy adding them to your mailshot. You'll not be thanked at their end, either. Look them up on the web. Any information you can glean will be another arrow in your own armoury of knowledge of your industry.

Think about the dramas that you enjoy watching on television. Think of the films that you have rated. Who cast those? Easy to watch until the closing credits where the casting director's name rolls up. Suddenly, that's become an important bit of information. Make a note of it. You'll match the name with the lists of names you have accumulated, or reference then with the CDG or Contacts list. You'll have the details. Email or write, introduce yourself and tell them that you were impressed with the programme/film you saw. A bit of sincere flattery never did anyone any harm, but ensure it IS sincere.

Get your face in front of them and tell them you'd be interested in any projects they have in the pipeline. Tell them about anything you're going to be working on or inform that you're currently available for work. Don't lie. Photo and CV included, as usual. They can't function as casting directors without actors - it's impossible! They wouldn't have a job if it weren't for actors. Don't be shy about it. You're helping them as much as you feel they may be able to help you in the future. Good luck.