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Tony
Your site is so great, it makes researching the business sooo much easier having all the info in one place! thankyou thankyou thankyou.
Amada, aspiring actress, Sydney, Australia

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Hi Tony!
Most people don’t even take the time to tell a person how to reach their goal. I want to thank you for everything and for responding to my messages. Sometimes I just test people to see if they really care about my career and you do. You can continue to send me some tips on how I can accomplish my goals, because you inspire me a lot. Thank you for caring.
Jeffrey, Dallas, TX

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Hi Tony!
Just wanted to say that this site is FANTASTIC! It's helped me quite a bit and it's now my #1 bookmarked item, which means I'm going to be visiting here regularly :) Thanks again,
Rob, aspiring actor, Canada

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Hi!
I absolutely love your site - it's SOOOO helpful and very impressive!
I am a frequent visitor and have signed up for the newsletter, plus I think it's so good I have recommended it to all my acting friends! Thank you for creating such a wonderful website!
Mischa, UK

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Wow Tony! I would just like to comment on how much you have affected my life.
First of all, any questions I have are answered extremely fast, and not only that, you give me a very helpful answer every time. Also, by reading your newsletters, I obtain just the right information that I need to succeed in the acting business. I am so happy I discovered your site, and I hope you know how much we actors appreciate you. Thanks again, and I can't wait to read your next newsletter!
Laura Doukas, Actress

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Tony,
I did what you said and…I got two interviews with two agents! Thank you! Sorry but can I ask you…how do I prepare to go meet the agent? What do I have to do?
Marsha P., New York, NY, USA

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This site has taught me a lot that I needed to know without dragging me all over the place.
Lauren, actress, Atlanta, GA

The Talent Casting Process

Interview with Personal Manager Ingrid French Part 9

Before touching on the talent casting process, in part 8 of this interview (link to that part of the interview at the bottom of this page) Ingrid discussed what happens to the mail (headshots, resumes and coverletters) that come into her office.

Tony: What happens from the time the actor is submitted for a project all the way through to him/her actually booking a job? What are the different steps that take place in the casting process?

The Talent Casting Process: The Submission

Ingrid: First of all to submit an actor for a job, I either send a hard copy of the head shot and résumé or an electronic copy. The electronic copy could be sent via e-mail or posted on some industry site that is used by the office casting the project.

From here it’s interesting because things have really changed. It used to be that we did a lot of this over the phone. The casting directors used to call me on the phone and tell me what kind of actor they needed for a specific project. I would then call them back with the actors I wanted to submit. We would discuss the actors I would like to submit and they would give me an appointment or appointments for more than one actor. I would then call the actors to see if they were available and then call the casting director back to confirm.

These days I might never even have a conversation with the casting director or the actor. The electronic submissions turn into an e-mail that comes back to me asking to see a certain actor for an appointment or audition. I then e-mail the appointment to the actor. The actor e-mails me back the confirmation of the appointment and I mail a confirmation of the appointment back to the casting director. At times that is what takes place without me actually talking to anyone.

Tony: Is that normal that the submission process goes this way?

Ingrid: We still do a lot of it on the phone, but it is moving more and more to electronic submissions.

Tony: So with the move more towards electronic submission and getting answers in real time, I would think that it is becoming increasing important for the actor to stay connected to the internet all through the day. So having your emails readily available on your smartphone and being ready to receive calls and answer them immediately is a must. If you don't, you could miss an opportunity. Correct?

Ingrid: That is so true. Because casting directors and agents also have these tools, you as the actor are also expected to have them and be connected at all times. If I get a call at 10:30am for an audition that will be taking place at 2:30pm and for which you will need sides (the audition script) to look over for the appointment, I need to be able to get them to you right away so that you can get them for your appointment in a few hours.

Tony: Great. So going back to the casting process, there is first the call from the casting director and then the submission. What actually happens to the submission so that there are actors who get selected and others who do not?

The Talent Casting Process: The First Audition

Ingrid: The submission I send usually goes into a casting office and is usually screened first by the casting assistant, who widdles down the submissions, meaning that they sort through them and filter them and then present them to the casting director. The casting director then selects from the head shots and résumés they get and decide who they want to see.

I have casting directors who tell me that for just one role for an on-camera commercial that they might get 500 submissions! But maybe, depending on how much time they have to cast for that role, they might only be able to call in 20 – 25 actors for the audition and from there, only 1 will get the job. It really depends on the project. For a big national commercial for example they might get 1,000 submissions, but then they might bring in 50 actors to audition. But still, only 1 will get the job.

So just to get the appointment for the audition, you have to make it through the first screening process. During that first appointment, you audition usually just for the casting director.

The next step then is the call back. This is where the casting director has made a first selection based on the actors they have seen that they have decided to present to the customer for whom the project is being created. During this call back audition it’s not uncommon to have the casting director, the client and maybe even the director in the room. Usually you are asked to do something similar to what you were asked to do during the first audition. The difference is that you do it for more people.

The Talent Casting Process: The Second Call Back

Tony: The first audition, the call back and then what’s next?

Ingrid: Then you go to the second call back audition, from which the decision is made as to who gets the job.

Tony: I also know from personal experience that other than the call back, that there are other terms used in the process such as ‘on hold’ and ‘first refusal’. Could you please explain to our readers what those things mean?

The Talent Casting Process: First Refusal

Ingrid: Usually when you go in for a call back, you are asked to give the client what they call a ‘first refusal’ or what is sometimes called the first right of refusal, which means you are told which will be the day the project will actually be shot. What they want to know is whether or not you will be available for the that day. They are asking you to give your word that they have the first ‘right’ to have your availability for that day of shooting. They are basically telling you that there is a good possibility that you will be chosen and they would like to just make sure that if they do choose you, that you will definitely be available for the commercial they are shooting for example.

And from there, you either get the job or you don’t.

The Talent Casting Process: First Refusal

Tony: I also know from experience that when they want you for the job, they call you and unfortunately if they don’t want you for the job, they don’t call you back at all, not even to tell you that you were on hold or that even if you gave a first refusal that they decided to choose another actor.

The Talent Casting Process: The Fitting

Ingrid: Unfortunately that’s the way the business works. I also want to mention that depending on what the job or project is, there might also be a day of wardrobe fitting and sometimes the client and maybe even the producer might be at that fitting to make sure they have you looking just right for the day the project will be shooting.

Tony: Do they usually pay the actor for the fitting day as well?

Ingrid: If it is a union project, yes they do pay the actor. If it is a non-union project, there is pay for those days most of the time, but not always. Most of the time I as the actor’s manager will have that information beforehand as to whether or not the fitting day will be paid or not.

End Of Part 9

I also want to say that I believe that What you’re doing is great Anthony. Whenever I read the things on your site, the interviews and even your book, I feel like if only everybody got to read this before they got started, they would be so much better off and everybody else would so much better off too.

Here is part 8 of the interview with my personal manager and talent agent.

In part 10 of this interview with Ingrid French she gives some final tips and advice relative to starting an acting career. Stay tuned!

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