The first thing I am going to say here is that you are not always going to get a response from casting directors when you write to them. In fact, more often than not- you won’t hear back. Why? Because they receive hundreds of e-mails a day and just don’t have time.
If you have written to 1, or even 10, 20, 30 and you haven’t had any response. What do you do?
- You keep going.
- You persist.
- You write to more.
- You take time to perfect your pitch.
- You set regular time to do this and you get consistent with it.
And if you’re thinking ‘it’s not fair that they don’t get back to me’ or ‘what’s the point when they can’t be bothered to reply?’, then you’re in the wrong place. Writing to casting directors is not a quick and easy way to suddenly be inundated by offers of roles. It’s just one part of an effective marketing strategy that takes time, patience and persistence.
If you are ready to get on the radar of the gatekeepers of the roles that you know you were born for, and are willing to do what it takes, read on and take action.
The fact is, casting directors will call in who they know, and one way to become someone they know is by writing to them. I’m not suggesting that you bombard them with e-mails (don’t do that!) but an e-mail even now and again, especially when you have something interesting to share is going to help you get noticed.
How? When they don’t read them?
Some casting directors read them, but don’t respond, then file them and will look through them if there’s a particular character type they are looking for.
- Some will respond to say thank you for getting in touch and will file them.
- Some will read them and delete.
- Some will just go in the bin without being read.
But you know what? Even if they don’t read them- they are likely to still see your name and if you’ve written to them a few times, your name will become familiar to them, making them more likely to pay attention when they see a role you are submitted for.
It’s well known in the marketing world that it takes 7-9 times of you contacting someone directly with your message for them to pay attention… This is no different! And WHAT IF… They happened to be casting something that day that you fit perfectly and they do call you in? What if you hadn’t bothered reaching out?
But it’s not as simple as just sending a boring, generic e-mail out to all the casting directors you can find. In fact, I would strongly advise AGAINST doing that.
So, how do I write to them?
- Research. To grab somebody’s attention, you need to know what they want and what they need. Then you need to be the solution to their problems.
This means you need to research them first and work out why you would be the perfect fit for them and the projects they are casting.
Answer this question- why are you contacting them in particular?
And yes, this means it’s going to take a hell of a lot longer than just copying and pasting a generic e-mail and sending it to the inbox of every casting director in the UK-but this is what you need to do for your campaign to be effective.
- Introduce yourself.Who are you, and what is it about you that would pique their interest? Stick to FACTS such as your latest credits or awards, and NOT because you are ‘the next big star’ or ‘the next Angelina Jolie’.
- Decide exactly what you are writing to them about.Choose one thing, one thing only and be clear, concise and straight to the point. No fluffy talk- it’s not about you and how you always dreamed of becoming an actor, it’s about you being able to give them what they want and need.
Types of things you could write to them about include introductions, invitations to premieres/plays; you could be thanking them for some advice they gave you, you could have seen something they are casting for and would like to request an audition, or it could be something else entirely- use your imagination.
- Ask them for ONE action (unless it’s a thank you- in which case I’d keep it as just that). What do you want them to do? Don’t give them a million options. Do you want them to call you in for a casting? Do you want them to e-mail you back to let you know if they are coming to your premiere? Do you want them to file your CV?
- Think up a catchy subject line that reflects the reason you are getting in touch. Don’t use a subject line that sounds desperate or is misleading. I would recommend tracking your numbers and testing different ones to see what you get the best response from.
- What materials are you going to send?I would recommend always including your headshot, Spotlight link or CV and website. Make sure that your contact details are clear and easy to find, and include your agent’s (if you have one) as well as your own. All materials need to be top quality, and constantly updated to stand out. DO NOT skimp on your marketing materials. I cannot stress that enough.
Before you send:
- Check your spelling and grammar.
- Take out any parts where you waffle, sound desperate, or are not needed in order to get your point across (be ruthless).
- Ask yourself if you come across as professional.
- Ask yourself if you are showing your personality and are being authentic.
- Check all weblinks and make sure your materials are up to date.
It’s action time- schedule regular time into every week that is purely for writing to casting directors. And do it. No excuses. Persistence is power!
You weren’t born to be ordinary… You were born to shine!
Eirian Cohen | Founder of Northern Star Acting and co-producer of ESG Media, LTD.