How to approach TV casting directors

I am by NO means an expert and can only pass on the advice and 'from-my-experience' that I have gathered from my five years working in the industry so far. So what do I know about contacting TV casting directors?

Well, firstly why do you want to contact TV casting directors? Hopefully, not just because "well, obviously I'm an actor, I want to act" You and the other millions around you, too. You need to know which TV casting directors you want to approach and why them specifically. Do they cast for a particular series you want to be in? Why do you want to be in this series? Who else is in this series? Who is the director? Which episode is your favourite? Know as much as you can about this series, so if you are lucky enough to get seen for a casting, you know what you are talking about.

Are they soon to be casting for a drama you have heard about? What previous work have they done? Do they also cast for theatre as well as TV? What work are they yet to do? Were they once as actor? What style of acting are they looking for? What genre of TV do they work in? Knowing as much as you can about the person as well as their work is as important as asking for the job in the first place.

Do they often work along side a director you want to work with? Who else do they work with? Are they an assistant casting director or do they have an assistant casting director you can contact first?
Know as much about the person, AND their work, AND the people who work around them as possible. Eventually it is a very small industry and people talk. So, you must research the person you are contacting and have a reason why you are contacting them.
Doing a generic mail out may seem like a more appealing approach and save you time, but casting directors receive so many emails from actors, they must spot a mail out a mile off...and...delete. By doing your research you are showing you are professional and you really care. You are passionate about your work as much as they are about theirs.

So, you know WHY you want to contact them, now HOW are you going to contact them? By email? Maybe. Some casting directors don't like to be contacted via email and prefer a hardcopy first, or in some instances a tweet. If you can find out which casting directors prefer to be contacted by which medium, it is one step closer to not being rejected immediately. It is as important to give people a reason NOT to throw you in the bin, as it is for them to put you in the 'maybe' pile. 'Contacts' and the 'Casting Directors Guild' do list some of the preferred methods but not for all, so again, do some research.

Lastly, and probably most importantly, contact them when you have something to say. A general introduction is fairly ok, but remember they receive hundreds of emails, so the likelihood of you getting forgotten within the next three emails is high. Inviting them to a show, having a new show reel, new headshots, sending new agent details, gives you a genuine reason to contact them directly. It also means you can start to build a rapport and hopefully build on this at a later date with another show or more material, and if you have an agent, allows the casting director to put a face (or news) to the name, the next time your agent contacts them.

Hope this helps. Good luck!