Increasingly, it is possible for actors to reply to casting notices via email. This is a boon for actors, saving us money on stamps, envelopes and headshots. However, responding to casting notices online requires an actor think about things they wouldn’t have to with traditional submissions. Having cast two shows starting with online submissions, and working as an actor who often responds to casting notices electronically, I can offer you these tips to make sure your submission actually gets noticed and responded to.
First, an actor should make sure to read the directions. I know this sounds absurd and obvious, but you would be shocked how many actors don’t. When an actor chooses not to read the directions, they don’t just make the casting director’s job harder. The actor is conveying also a lack of professionalism with their submissions, and an attitude of laziness and disrespect. In many cases an actor’s qualifications won’t even be reviewed if they’ve already failed this first and most basic test. So when a casting notice requests specific content in the subject line, make sure you put it. If the casting asks for attachments instead of links, don’t send links. Actors should respect requests to limit the number of pictures, limit picture sizes or avoid attachments in an email all together. An actor’s main job is to follow direction; demonstrate that you can.
If a casting notice does not ask for any particular content in the subject line of the actor’s email, it’s a good idea to put your full name, the age range you play and your gender (e.g., my subject line is often “Racheline Maltese, late-20s – early-30s, F”). If you are hoping to audition for a particular character, put that character’s name in the subject line as well.
While an actor’s email requesting an audition shouldn’t be too long, it should look like more than a form letter. It is important for an actor to demonstrate that you are interested in the specific project. This means the actor should address the email to an actual individual if they have been named in the casting notice (and please, please, please spell the name correctly), mentioning the name of the project in your email and noting briefly either why you are interested in the project or why you may be a good fit for it. If you don’t check your email often (at least twice a day), as an actor you should provide another means of contact – casting sometimes happens on very short notice. An actor should always say thank you, and always sign their name.
Finally, consider your email address. An actor’s email address should always be professional sounding; after all, requesting an acting audition is like requesting a job interview. If your current email address isn’t appropriate (and if it has cute nicknames, a random collection of letters and numbers or a lewd suggestion in it, it’s not), get a new free email address through Yahoo, Gmail (probably the best for acting use because of the large storage available and the way it allows you to organize and thread messages) or Hotmail.
Following these tips won’t just help you get more auditions. They will make it easier for you, the actor, to know what you’ve been called in to audition for when it happens. (If you don’t put the name of the piece in the email, chances are you may have no idea what you’re being emailed about when the casting director replies).