If you’re an actor that just booked a project — no matter how big or small — congrats are firstly in order! And secondly, you might consider sending a thank you gift to casting. In the excitement of a booking, actors can forget to let casting know they’re grateful for the opportunity that led to it, which can be as simple as a thank you note. But who doesn’t like a little token of appreciation? To be clear, that’s all it should be — we’re not suggesting an extravagant gift that can in any way be perceived as a sort of payment for landing the gig. Bottom line: Don’t send casting a Maserati. Keep reading for four appropriate ideas of what they’re bound to love, which include options that can be physically delivered if you know their current work address, as well as ones that can be digitally sent to their email address.
1. Go for a quality candle.
If you think that’s incredibly basic and are about to quit reading this list before you even started, stick with us for a moment. Years ago, an idea started circulating that the best gift you could give someone in the industry was a candle. Why? The recipient could have food allergies you don’t know about, meaning food-related gifts aren’t the safest choice. They may also choose not to drink alcohol for a variety of personal reasons, which makes a nice bottle of wine or liquor also potentially problematic. Enter candles. The little wax statement pieces help foster a relaxing atmosphere with their scent and gently flickering flames, and since casting directors work in such a fast-paced profession, they’ll surely enjoy adding to their busy workplace a touch of that Zen, spa feeling that candles create. Plus, should you decide to gift a quality candle, you’ll be top of mind whenever the recipient lights it. And as an actor, it’s not a bad thing to be in a casting director’s thoughts. Do a little research and choose the scent you think best fits the person. For example, if you find that the casting director is all about clean living, go with a soy candle made with essential oils. Bonus points if you shop local. For example, Los Angeles actors have the highly-rated Candle Delirium in West Hollywood, which offers delivery as well as digital gift cards, depending on if you have the postal address to the casting director’s place of business or their email address.
2. Pick something off an actual casting director’s Etsy store.
Do you know who would really understand what casting wants? We’ll tell you: a casting director. Jessica Sherman is known for her work on projects such as Amazon’s Tell Me Your Secrets and A&E’s Bates Motel. She founded a nonprofit, gives great audition advice that can be applied to any format, and is participating in a charity event that allows actors to get casting’s feedback on their self-taping skills while contributing to a worthy cause. On top of it all, Sherman also runs an Etsy store called CastingLifeAway, which houses products that are tailor-made for casting. From a mouse pad that references the various roles casting directors play to a coffee mug that’s sure to add some levity to their day, the online store is chock full of fun items you can gift them. So if the work address of your recipient is readily available, you can purchase and ship them something from the niche Etsy store, all from the comfort of your own home.
3. Send a gift card to their favorite spot.
Social media is a great tool for finding out someone’s likes and dislikes when it comes to gift-giving. If your casting director recipient has a strong presence on any platform, use it to find their favorite cafe, bakery, restaurant, ice cream shop, etc. This is a workaround for the potential food allergy issue since sending a gift card to one of their frequented spots ensures they can order something off the menu that fits within any dietary restrictions. If you find that they are a fan of Starbucks, for example, send a gift card either digitally or via snail mail with a thoughtful note. Anything that involves gifting fuel — whether it be via caffeine or sustenance — includes the opportunity for some genuine and personalized messaging. That is, you thank casting for giving you the opportunity that led to your booking, as well as for all the impactful work that they do. Be sure to name one or two of their previous projects with which you’ve strongly connected. Then reference the gift card as a coffee/tea/treat/lunch run on you to help fuel the whole office as they continue to do good work. Assistants and associates surely had a hand in the casting process that led to you landing the role, so it’s nice to recognize them as well when expressing gratitude.
4. Donate to a cause that they champion in their name.
Many casting directors advocate for charitable causes, which are oftentimes highlighted on their websites or socials. Claire Simon comes to mind thanks to our interview earlier this year, during which her annual “Meals for Monologues” came up. The Simon Casting YouTube channel houses a video displaying the event that allows actors to perform a monologue for the casting team in exchange for non-perishable food items, which are then donated to people experiencing homelessness in Chicago. So as an example, actors wanting to send a thank you gift to Simon Casting could consider donating to a Chicago food bank in the company’s name. This type of gift not only allows you to express gratitude to casting, but you also gain the opportunity to learn more about various charitable causes and contribute to them.
The bottom line when considering sending casting a thank you gift is to give a genuine token of appreciation. It’s a matter of recognizing the opportunity they gave that enabled you to book the role. And when you spend a little extra time tailoring the gift to the person, it’s likely to be an even more impactful expression of gratitude. But make sure that a part of your research involves finding their current work setting. In our ever-adapting pandemic times, people can rapidly shift between working at the office and from home. Casting directors sometimes list on their websites or IMDbPro the postal address for their office, but if in doubt that it’s up to date, we recommend going the digital route to ensure your gift is received.