Castcall

The UK's Longest Establish Internet Based Casting Information Service

Advice for Actors

Castcall is not just about selling our casting information service, we are also here to help and advise where and when we can. We are frequently contacted by young actors wanting to know how they can get an agent, or if their photos are any good, or if their CV is as it should be.

If you want to contact Castcall for help or advice, please do so only by email to askus@castcall.co.uk

We are always happy to try and answer your questions but please note we cannot always guarantee a rapid reply and we cannot recommend agents / companies.

FAQ's

Q. I'm still at school but want to become an actor, what should I do?
A. First advice is to just let you know that acting is a very difficult career to get into. A large percentage of actors never make it (i.e. do not make a sustainable living from acting) so plan an alternative career path, perhaps one that can run alongside your acting ambitions. Typically this might be secretarial or teaching so you can work via a temp agency whilst looking for acting work, this will allow you to more easily take time off for auditions. Your aim will be to get good grades in English and go on to drama school or college. Joining a local amateur drama group will get you started and provide you with a indication of whether or not you have the raw talent and the desire to continue to drama school. Your careers advisor at school should be able to provide you with further information on drama schools and colleges.

Q. I've seen advertisements in our local newspaper from 'Talent Scouts' and 'Agents' looking for new people to go on their books - is this genuine?
A. Unlikely. Most (although we can't say all) of these advertisers are probably more interested in charging you a fee (now illegal) to register with them (although they will mask that by calling it something else). Some of these 'agents' have been the subject of many TV news and consumer programmes. This would be a very unconventional means of getting new talent and I personally would advise against.

Q. How do I get an agent?
A. There is no easy way. Many actors, too few agencies (and jobs) for them. Contact agencies to see if they are taking people on, if you are appearing in something, write to agents and invite them along. Inevitably they will want to see you work before taking you on. Get to know the agents so you can write to a person rather than just 'Dear Sir'. Find out who they represent, what areas of work - if any - they specialise in, in other words Do you homework! - and that applies to ALL correspondence to agents, directors, casting directors, production companies etc etc.

Q. An Agent has offered to take me on but wants £'X' as a registration fee
A. Under recent changes to the Employment Agencies Act it is illegal to charge a fee to register with an agency. Some agencies ask for a contribution towards the cost of your entry in their agency directory - ask yourself if this is a fair fee and check there is a directory!

Q. Do I really need an agent?
A. No, not really. In simple terms an agent acts on your behalf to try to get you auditions (not jobs - it's down to you to get the job!), he/she will negotiate a fee, then take a commission on any job you then get. They do have many more contacts than you are likely to have. However, if you are happy to job search yourself (especially when starting out) then subscribe to Castcall and apply for work yourself - remember Castcall will always help - in broad terms - if you need advice.
Even if you do get an agent, it is still worth keeping an eye out for work yourself as agents will not necessarily know every job going and may not pay attention to applying for lower-paid work and you may also have a skill not listed on your CV but required for a particular job.

Q. Do I really need professional photographs?
A. No. But you do need good quality photographs, who takes them is up to you. The aim is to have a good, clear photos, head and shoulders with a plain background. If unsure what is required I always tell people the photo is your 'advert' - it has to sell you in an honest, but realistic way, so if you have a scar on your cheek--don't have it air-brushed out! Look in Spotlight for examples of the type of photo required. A good quality passport photo is essentially what is needed - one that shows you in a true light, one that someone would instantly recognise you from. Also note that in these times more and more applications for work are wanted by email, so if you can't do it yourself, have the photographer supply a .jpg image file for you to send. This should be of screen resolution (72dpi) with a file size no greater than 100k ideally

Q. I don't have many jobs to list on my CV, what should I do?
A. Nothing, everyone has to start somewhere and you can't 'magic-up' a list of jobs you haven't done.....although some people do take that risk! You could write a paragraph or two about you, maybe mention any amateur or school productions you've done and any personal skills and attributes that you feel would enhance your profile. The best advice is to tell it as it is!

Q. I'm only interested in TV & Film
A. Oh dear! Look, acting is a job and like most jobs you have to start with the basics, you have to serve your apprenticeship and there is no better way of improving and honing your acting, timing and ability to digest a script, than in front of a live audience. Look at all the top names who work in theatre, and what better place to be seen by agents and casting directors. If all you want is the lucrative film & TV work I suggest you pick up the phone book and look up 'Jobcentre' - coz that's where you'll be spending most your time - or making a plonker of yourself on a 'reality' TV show!

Q. I'm applying for work but never get an audition, why?
A. Are you 100% sure you are right for the role? Suitably skilled and/or experienced? Also, most casting directors will select auditionees from actors they have seen work (Yes, I know that's a catch-22 situation). Are you applying in a professional manner? Applying in good time? Is your CV typed and easily read, your photo clear and of good quality? Your covering letter not too 'pally' and informal, short and to the point - you don't want to annoy people! You should also be aware that you may well be one applicant out of many hundreds - just keep trying, no-one said this industry was easy!

Q. I'm not a member of Equity, does that matter?
A. Not at all. Equity is the actors union (if you didn't know) not employer! It is true that a few years ago the acting profession was a 'closed-shop', but not any more. Many actors do however value the work, help and assistance Equity provides for them, so it might be in your own interest to check them out and see what they can offer you - www.equity.org.uk

Q. I have been asked to attend an audition at a private address what should I do?
A. This is unusual and should be approached with caution. Generally I would expect a full explanation why this was necessary. Whilst many people do work from home in this industry, they usually hire a meeting room for auditions. The easiest way to deal with this is to take a friend with you, a bona fide company would not object to you doing this. At the very least you should make sure you tell someone where you are going and arrange to call them at a certain time (or text them with a code word) to let them know you are OK - your safety is far more important than the prospect of a job. If anything unprofessional does happen at an audition (no matter where it is held) always report it to Equity, your agent and the casting information service that advertised the job and if appropriate, the police!

Q. What about having my photo/details on an on-line web site?
A. If you mean your own personal web site, then it can do no harm. If you are referring to the increasing number of sites set up to "promote" actors via their on-line directory, then I would hesitate about their value and worth.

Q Should I do profitshare theatre?
A. Yes. If you can afford to. Even directors have to start somewhere so the guy who directed you in some back street profitshare production that no-one turned up to see, could be directing a major film or TV drama in a year or two.
On the subject of applying for jobs, I have always recommended that actors apply for EVERY job that they accurately fit the bill for, even if you don't want to do it (you can always turn it down), but by auditioning for the job you are being seen, you are getting audition experience and it will make you feel like you are an actor - and who knows, you may decide that you do want to do it after all!

Q. Thanks for all that, now what can I get my best friend for their Birthday?
A. Not really an industry question eh? But you could do yourself a favour by going to the Castcall Store by clicking here :-)

 

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