Casting Director Tips: Promoting Yourself with Video
The right way to use video to introduce yourself to casting directors.
By Brad Holbrook
Before I started ActorIntro in 2009, I interviewed film and television casting directors in NYC to find out how to create the best possible resource for their casting needs.
Here's what they told me, condensed into the most common feedback - which became the inspiration behind the ActorIntro Essential video - and advice to help you use video to make the most effective first impression.
"It doesn't have to be a reel."
Casting directors care about talent and experience, but the #1 thing they want to know is what you're like as a person - what's your vibe, what makes you unique? Your video can be a casual conversation, just like a general meeting - no need for bells and whistles.
The most important rule of all - in a get-to-know-you video, don't play a character or say what you think they want to hear. Casting directors can see right through that. Relax like you're at a casual cocktail party with friends, be conversational, and be open.
"We're in the business of on-camera."
That's why it's important to have your video made professionally - with studio lighting, sound, and editing. Agents, CDs, directors, and producers watch million-dollar budget films and TV shows all day, and that's what they are used to seeing - so don't send a crappy video where they can't tell what you'd look like on a professional shoot.
"Webcams are for YouTube wannabes."
Yikes! But it's true - again, if you're in it to be a professional, treat your video marketing tools professionally. Shooting and editing your own video is just as risky as taking your own headshots.
"A minute is enough."
CDs are professional "evaluators" that can get a sense of you in around 60 seconds - much longer than that and they've got to run! Get the best stuff in the beginning, because they don't always watch the whole thing.
"Reels must be about YOU."
It's great if you have a scene alongside a star, but the focus should always be you. It's better to ignore continuity if it means capturing only your best moments in your demo reel.
"Send us your video the right way."
Embed it on a simple website with your contact information and other useful info right there in one place - they don't have time to go searching for your phone number or resume!
Need more tips? Don't worry! When you schedule your ActorIntro video, we'll send you our two-page guide to getting the most out of your shoot. And you can always send me specific questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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