Acting Workshops with Casting Directors

Written by Sean Pratt

Every weekend around the country, there are acting workshops held by casting directors offering actors the chance to work on monologues, cold readings and audition sides. And while a first glance it may seem like a no-brainer to sign up, there are several things you should consider before plunking down your money. Then, if you do decide to attend, you’ve got some homework and preparation ahead of you, because the last thing you want to do is just show up.

Promises, Promises

First off, let’s be honest about what’s being sold here. Unlike a workshop with an acting teacher, what you’re ultimately buying is access to that casting director; in business and politics it’s called “pay to play.” If you’ve been trying for months to get called in for an audition by that person, then this may be the perfect opportunity to showcase your talent in the context of an acting class. So ultimately, what you might learn about technique is secondary to the chance of meeting and working with them.

Next, let’s review a basic concept of advertising. In the ad for any product or service there are two kinds of promises being made - explicit promises and implicit promises. In this case, the explicit promises are that you will be working with this casting director on specific acting material at this location and time, etc. But more important are the implicit promises. Like it or not, the casting director is holding out the possibility of perhaps calling you in at a later time for an audition. Honestly, why else would you go?

Place Your Bets

What you’re doing is gambling that the money you spend on the class will be offset by the impression you’ll leave with them. So, if the main purpose of going to the workshop is to show the casting director your talent and charm, then you need to ask yourself some hard questions:

  • Are your audition skills, monologues, etc., up to snuff? If not, then you run the possibility of stumbling your way through the class and being viewed as an amateur.
  • Are your marketing materials current? What happens if they ask you for your picture/resume and your headshot is ten years old?
  • How sharp are your “schmoozing” abilities? Being charming, confident and intelligent are always good things to showcase.

Homework

The next step is to do some research into the kinds of projects they cast and what producers and directors they work with. After all, some casting directors focus on theatre; others TV, corporate video, or film. This may influence:

  • What kind of picture and resume you put together when you come to the class.
  • The choice of monologue or scene you prepare, if that’s what the class is focusing on.
  • Your choice of clothing, makeup and hair style.
  • What, if any, other kinds of marketing materials you might stick in your satchel in case they ask for them.

Follow Up

Finally, after the class is over, be sure to follow up with a letter thanking them for the class. Mention the insights and ideas you garnered from them, the fun you had during the class, etc., and what a pleasure it was to finally meet them. Then, and this is essential, be sure to let them know that you’ll stay in touch…and then actually do it! Hopefully, your future correspondence will be read and they will begin to have you to mind when they’re creating that list of actors to be seen for their next casting project.

“But to me the bottom line is the more education you can give yourself, and the more preparation you can do, the less chance of failing.” – Stuart Pearce, English soccer player/manager


Sean Pratt
, (AEA / SAG / AFTRA), has been a working actor for over 20 years. Sean was a member of the resident acting company at The Pearl Theatre, an Off-Broadway classical repertory theatre and has also performed at numerous regional theatres around the country.  Major films include – Gods and Generals, Tuck Everlasting and Iron Jawed Angels. Television work includes – The host of HGTV’s, Old Homes Restored, and supporting roles on Homicide, The District and America’s Most Wanted.  Audiobooks – He’s narrated for 15 years and has recorded nearly 550 books in just about every genre.  He also teaches classes on and writes articles about the business of the Biz.

Leave a Reply

Latest Videos

Watch: Benedict Cumberbatch Film the Smaug Motion Capture for ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’
Though Peter Jackson‘s movie adaptations of The Hobbit haven’t received the same critical acclaim as his films based on the book’s sequel, The Lord of the Rings (turning a 300 page book into 9+ hours of film tends to do that), fans are still eagerly anticipating the release of the final part of The Hobbit […]
Watch: Daniel Radcliffe on the Differences Between American and British Theater Audiences
Though moviegoers can see Daniel Radcliffe in the fantasy film Horns, which opens today, Broadway fans will have to wait a bit longer. Radcliffe is an unapologetic fan of Broadway — he has starred in Equus, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and The Cripple of Inishmaan — but he hasn’t yet made […]
Watch: Anna Gunn, Jacki Weaver and Virginia Kull on ‘Gracepoint’ and Strong Female Roles on TV
The actresses also speak candidly about how they feel about their characters in the series and why its important for TV to feature series with strong female leads.Check out the conversation above!
Watch: Cristin Milioti Talks ‘A to Z’, ‘Once’ and ‘How I Met Your Mother’
Few actresses have the kind of rise as Cristin Milioti has had in the last few years. A virtual unknown in 2011, she became a bona fide Broadway star in the 2012 hit Once, appeared in a supporting role in the 2013 film The Wolf of Wall Street, and was featured as the titular mother […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/watch-bryan-cranstons-acting-adv.jpg
Watch: Bryan Cranston’s Acting Advice
With Breaking Bad: The Complete Series Barrel being released on Blu-ray with all kinds of goodies today, it gives us yet another opportunity to reflect on the series’ star Bryan Cranston and all of the incredible advice he has offered actors in the wake of his success. In a video he filmed in 2013 for […]