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5 Best Practices for Creating a Casting Call That Gets Results

How can you write a casting notice that signals to actors that your project is legitimate? Crafting a polished and professional casting call is simpler than you think when you follow these five best practices.

1. Mind Your Spelling and Grammar

Make sure everything in your casting notice is spelled correctly, use proper punctuation and write in complete sentences.

2. Use the Right Terminology

Getting common industry terms right, such as avails, pins and holds, eliminates confusion for actors and agents and establishes faith in the production. For example, a ‘theatrical audition’ is not theater. ‘Theatrical’ refers to film or TV!

3. Don’t Forget the Details

It’s important to include all the right details in your casting notice so you can find the best actors for your projects.

Project synopsis: A good project notice includes a summary of the most essential elements of the story’s plotline. Providing talent with the story entices performers to submit to your project far better than a tagline will.

Characters’ names and pronouns: Take the time to use proper pronouns in your casting calls. This creates an environment of respect and inclusivity.

Inclusive and specific descriptors: Role descriptions should be about the character, not about who or what the talent should be. Describe the emotional struggle of the character rather than focus on the appearance.

For example, “Carly is a shy college graduate trying to find her place in the world as she tries to decide whether to pursue a career in biochemistry or law” gives a glimpse at the character’s story, which is much more insightful and appealing than saying “Carly is hot.”

Project creators should also take care to avoid descriptions that include offensive slang. If you wouldn’t use a word to describe someone out in the real world where it can be heard, then it does not belong anywhere in your project notice.

Creative team: Including the name of a creative team member, such as the director or producer, helps add legitimacy to your project, especially if they are easily searchable on the web. You do not need to add every member of the creative team.

Union status: Share the project’s union status (SAG/AFTRA/AEA) so that you get quality submissions from people who are legally allowed to perform the work. A SAG member cannot work a non-union job.

Keep in mind that to advertise your project as a union project, you need to file it with the union first.

Project type: Is your project a student film? A network TV show? Knowing your terminology, such as the differences between commercial, theatrical and industrial projects, ensures that both you and the performers know what you are casting!

If you’re not sure what all the possibilities are, Casting Networks includes a comprehensive list of project types to choose from.

Pay rate: When it comes to pay rates, it’s always best to be clear and specific. There are many different types of pay scales, so be familiar with them and how they work within your production.

If your budget is too low to pay your performers, you can offer a copy of the end product for use in their reels, provide food and drinks on set, or give them a credit on the IMDB project page if that’s an option.

Any sensitive or intimate situations in the production: This includes everything from kissing and affectionate touching to nudity and gratuitous violence. If you think it may be triggering or pushing some performers’ boundaries, include it in the project brief. Always be upfront with your actors so they can judge whether or not the role is right for them.

4. Non-Disclosure Agreements and Social Media

Let the performers know if you will require them to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). Be specific about what is and is not allowed, such as if the performers need to keep the audition information off social media. Performers understand that some commercial product information cannot be shared with them at the time of audition.

5. Transparency

Include the payment information upfront, including any information about contracts in perpetuity – and then keep your promises.

Ready to cast your next project? Post your casting call on Casting Networks to connect with thousands of performers and hire the best talent for your production.

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