How to get seen by casting directors who only source from selected agents, of whom your agent is not one
Well, this is a tricky one and it will take a lot of hard work, but it's not an insurmountable challenge and if you're focused and know what you want, you'll get there.
Firstly, if this casting director only looks at actors from their chosen agents, chances are they have no idea who you are, so first things first - you need to get on their radar. Make sure they know you exist. Ways to do this include:
- Casting Workshops: Scour the various workshop companies to see if they are doing any casting workshops. These will cost you money but as well as getting in to the room with the casting director, you can also benefit from their expert knowledge and spend a few hours honing your craft. After the workshop, most casting directors will give out their email address. Write a follow up email to thank them for their time and the experience, this will remind them of your name and let them know you're a nice person (maybe more important than you think!).
- Write to them, but ONLY if you have something interesting to say; a show to invite them to, a new showreel they can watch, if you've got a five minute cameo in Casualty tonight. Tell them a little bit about what you've been up to and let them know they can contact you through your agent. You can mention things they have cast that you have seen and enjoyed, make it clear you do your research and have a reason for targetting them specifically as a casting director.
- Social Media; if they are active on social media, engage with them. Don't be a desperate super-fan but be present so they remember your name. Find out what they have cast recently and watch it, then @ mention them on twitter to say you loved their casting.
- Find out what they are casting, either through Spotlight or IMDB and write a carefully considered application for a role. If this casting director has never seen you before, probably don't apply to play the lead in their new feature film, but tell them you'd love to be seen for one of the small parts. Showing willingness to start at the bottom is an attractive quality and will catch a CD's eye more than ill-considered applications to be the starring role.
- If you have a good relationship with your agent, let them know that you are particularly keen on this casting director and ask if they can help you to be seen by them. They can tell you which parts you have been submitted for and what roles they are looking for at the moment. They can also make calls to the casting director to push you for roles that you are suitable for when they come in. All agents should be willing to have these conversations and help you to push your career in a particular direction.
You might also want to consider your agent. Is there a reason this Casting Director chooses not to engage with them? Do they have a whole host of brilliant actors on their books the casting director could benefit from seeing? Or are you the best of a mediocre bunch? Could you be better off pushing for a new and better agent? Find out who their preferred agents are and consider apply for new representation with them.
If you're brilliant and you genuinely have something to offer a casting director, they will see you for a role you are suitable for eventually. Perseverence pays off and you'll get there in the end.