Learning how to write a strong casting notice for your film projects is important because it is the first point of contact between you and your potential actors. It will determine the way your project is perceived and actors will be quick to judge your project based on the professionalism of your casting call.
Most great actors wouldn’t respond to a carelessly written casting call. They would see it akin to a careless production. Filmmaking is such a detail oriented process. This attention to detail must run through each stage of production from pre-production to post production.
A GOOD CASTING CALL SHOULD ACCOMPLISH THE FOLLOWING:
1. Excite actors to want to get involved in your project
2. Communicate your production details (shooting times, production company, union vs. non union etc )
3. Give actors a glimpse into the people behind the project. You are expecting actors to give you a lot of information about themselves. Do not write anonymous casting notices. Give actors an opportunity to see your work to see if they are interested in working with you.
4. Provide a short project synopsis
5. Provide character information
Let’s begin by how not to write a casting notice. The following casting notice was found on Craigslist. We’ve changed the details to protect the integrity of the original poster.
“Hi. We’re Looking for male and female actors 20-40 years of age for upcoming roles in a student short film. We cannot afford to pay you but you will get credits in the film and you will get a lot of exposure through film festivals. The story idea is really creative and interesting and we’re looking for actors who can deliver strong performances. We will also provide you with a copy of the DVD.
Please send headshot and resume to (deleted)”
This casting call doesn’t outline any of the critical production information, it gives no information about the filmmakers and it doesn’t even tell the actors what the roles are or what the story is about? What would an actor find interesting about this post? Nothing.
Instead you should write your casting notice as follows:
Production title: Jenny and Bowzer’s Strange Life
Union / Non-Union: Non-Union
Production Type: Independent / student
Project length: Short Film (10 minutes)
Project format: 16:9 HD
Posted on: Monday, April 2nd, 2013
Production location: NYC
Production Company: Lights Film School Student Project
Company website: Insert website here
Director: Jacqueline Patterson
Producer: Stanley Jackson
Casting Director: Jacqueline Patterson
Audition Location: 453 main st
Shooting Location: Manhattan
May 24, 2013 1:00 – 10:00 PM
April 25, 2013 1:00 – 10:00 PM
(Please note all auditions will be given a specific time within this window)
Call Backs: June 4th, 2013 6:00 – 10:00 PM
Shooting Starts: Aug 21, 2013
Shooting Ends: Aug 23, 2013
“Jenny and Bowzer’s Strange Life” is a film about a Jenny and her best friend Bowzer’s unconditional love for one another. Jenny and Bowzer have been friends for over a decade but as they enter their early twenties they realize their friendship is blossoming into something both of them feel a new found excitement for. But will they jeopardize their friendship?
[JENNY] [GENDER: FEMALE] [AGE: 20-25]
Jenny has just broken up with her boyfriend. He best friend Bowzer quickly becomes her new obsession. Jenny’s parents do not approve of the new relationship and try everything in their power to stop them.
[BOWZER] [GENDER: MALE] [AGE: 20-25]
Bowzer is a quirky twenty something with low self esteem and a shy demeanor. His best friend Jenny is one of the only things in life he prizes. Her new found love interest in him awakens a sense of self confidence he has never felt before. But can he impress Jenny’s parents to make them accepting of their relationship?
As you can see, the second casting notice is much stronger and provides substantially more information. Notice that both films are student films that don’t pay. However, you must ask yourself if you were an actor, which project would you rather audition for?
Feel free to use the above casting call template for your own productions.
Good luck with your casting!
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