HOW TO WRITE AN AUDITION ALERT FOR IT TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY
Casting calls and audition alerts are the first point of contact between you (the producer/production company) and your potential actors. It will determine the way your project is perceived and actors will be quick to judge your project based on the professionalism of your casting call. Yet, its amazing to see how audition alerts are written and shared in our industry with little or no information at all to make actors make an informative choice about whether your audition is the right audition to attend for him/her or reduce the chances of producers and their casting directors getting actors who are not right for their project.
Most great actors wouldn’t respond to a carelessly written casting call. They would see it akin to a careless production. Filmmaking is such a detail oriented process. This attention to detail must run through each stage of production from pre-production to post production.
So what exactly entails a good audition alert/casting brief that we usually take for granted and don’t put much thought into it?
A GOOD CASTING CALL SHOULD ACCOMPLISH THE FOLLOWING:
-Excite actors to want to get involved in your project.
-Communicate your production details (shooting times, production company, what project is it (ad, movie, series, short film)
-Give actors a glimpse into the people behind the project. You are expecting actors to give you a lot of information about themselves. Do not write anonymous casting notices. Give actors an opportunity to see your work to see if they are interested in working with you.
- Provide a short project synopsis
- Provide character information/character briefs.
Let’s begin by how not to write a casting notice. The following casting notice was shared on actors.co.ke.
“Audition Alert for a TV series to soon start production. Looking for cast for the new show. Male: 30- 40 years old. Well built and big body physique. No skinny people. Average height or taller. Female: 30-40years years. Beautiful and Skinny. Average height or taller.
Audition will be at KNT onMonday, April 2nd, 2013 from 9am.”
This casting call doesn’t outline any of the critical production information, it gives no information about the filmmakers and it doesn’t even tell the actors what the roles are or what the story is about? What would an actor find interesting about this post? Nothing. Results? You get every Tom Dick and Harry attend the audition and do not fit what you had in mind because you dint specify it and actors who are disappointed for not getting any role because they did not know what they were auditioning for in detail.
For a good casting call, it should have at the very least, the following information:
Production title: Stay
Production Company: Corder Productions
Producer: Jason Corder
Director: Ash Jivu
Casting Director: Gerald Langiri
Contacts for casting director: *provideTel and email*
Project Type: Series (1 month shoot)
Production Type: Independent
Production location: Kenya
Company website: Insert website here if available
Audition date: Monday, April 2nd, 2013
Audition Time: 9am to 5pm
Audition location: KNT
Call Backs: June 4th, 2013 6:00 – 10:00 PM
To bring: Carry your headshot and acting resume.
Shooting Starts: Aug 21, 2013
Shooting Ends: Aug 23, 2013
*provide poster if available*
STAY is a Kenyan TV series that touches on the cultural differences surrounding interracial dating. It revolves around the life of Nubia who, against all odds, must make her relationship work with Shane But will it?
[Nubia] [GENDER: FEMALE] [AGE: 30-40]
Nubia comes from a middle-class family in a suburban setting and was raised by a single mother. Her mother was a small-scale farmer and had just enough to take care of her and her little brother. When her mother died of diabetes complications five years ago, she took in her brother and takes care of him by paying his school fees. Single (later get engaged to Shane). Nubia loves Shane because she treats him right. Nubia has always been dating jerks. Plump and pretty (more inner beauty). She is generous, has a big heart, she is care free, she is a go getter, daring and bold, loves experimenting with colors and loves her new business and is giving it her all.
[Shane] [GENDER: MALE] [AGE: 30-40]
He comes from an affluent family background. His dad was an investment banker while his mother, Phillipa, was a doctor. His parents always made sure he had everything he needed. He was spoiled as an only child. When his parents divorced when he was seven, he was devastated. Single/ Engaged. Madly in love with a true African beauty. Shane loves Nubia’s energy. Tall, blonde and handsome. Smart casual with funky Jackets. He is obsessed with saving the environment. From water conservation, water, energy, animal rights.
As you can see, the second casting notice is much stronger and provides substantially more information. Notice that both are for a TV series. However, you must ask yourself if you were an actor, which project would you rather audition for?
Feel free to use the above casting call template for your own productions.
Good luck with your casting!
Template from lightsfilmschool.com