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Casting Calls. A Complete Guide

Welcome to Fameville, the ultimate guide to casting calls for 2024, where I will show you how to use auditions for films and TV to transform your acting goals from an illusory dream into real life.

Most people will only ever travel to Fameville during the occasional daydream, but today is going to be different; very different indeed.


Because I have a story to tell and more than 20 years of experience in the world of acting. Over the past 2 decades, I have helped dozens of ordinary people just like you, to go from their first casting call into successful careers in film and TV.

But who am I?

Well, I'm not an author. I'm certainly not famous or have any desire to be. I have no ghostwriters or publishing team behind me. I don't even own a suit to make me look important. Heck! I even have to make my own tea! But what I do have is more important than all of that - Knowledge.

With that being said, let's begin. Its now stupidly late o'clock; a bucket of caffeine on my left, a cauldron of crisps to my right, headphones up above and keyboard down below. all angles covered!

Now I just need to find a way to get my bubbling cauldron of acting audition knowledge from 'up there' onto the screen down here. So please forgive any bad grammar, typos or weird paragraphs and hold on tight, you're gonna become an actor!

Sometimes you can have the smallest role in the smallest production and still have the biggest impact. To become an actor is totally within the grasp of anyone. You don't necessarily need great acting skills or a particular appearance.

There is an enormous amount of acting work available, but knowing where to look is another story, and is the real challenge facing many people trying to get started in the industry.

Luckily for you, I have many stories, so let's begin with the tale of 'Plain Jane the wannabe actress'.

You see, although Plain Jane is a fictional character, her journey will embody the challenges and issues you will also face on your quest to become an actor. If you do indeed become successful, then hindsight will show that you related to the Plain Jane's path many times similarly.

The moniker of 'plain' is not derogatory, it is simply a term of endearment to show how the most ordinary of ordinary people can carve a successful path in acting.

Once upon a time (I like tradition) Jane, a young 19-year-old, wanted to be an actor. Jane, though, had no idea where to begin. Why would anybody want me? Where can I find suitable acting auditions? I'm just plain Jane. But today plain Jane was in luck.

The God of Acting decided to guide her on her quest. After some divine intervention, Jane learned that, like most things in life, she would need to start small and gain experience.

In nearly all cases of becoming an actor, a history of experience needs to be built up over time to present to casting directors for potential acting work. The more experience you get, the more confident a casting director will be in using you for their film projects, big or small.

One day, The God of Acting whispered into Jane's ear 'Start by becoming a film extra'. This excited Jane somewhat. Although spooked by hearing voices. Jane was now driven to kick-starting her acting career as a film extra.

So plain Jane became plain brave Jane and started tracking down casting calls and acting auditions to become a film extra. Her first discovery was Fame Street (shameless plug alert).

Don't ever be intimidated or put off if you lack, or have zero acting experience. The industry encompasses a wide range of potential avenues and, with the positive brush of diversity sweeping most productions of late, anyone can become an actor, even our plain Jane!

Film extra jobs

Applying for roles as a film extra is really a simple process. Even Jane grasped this concept. Even so, she wrote out her game plan.

Find a great casting call website (ahem Fame Street) Create an eye-catching profile. Choose several available casting calls. Apply and wait. Be prepared for rejection. Be prepared for success!

A day in the life of a film extra

Jane wasn't the sharpest tool in the box and so the Acting Gods decided to continue with their spooky ear whispering. The actual experience of becoming an actor through the stepping stone of film extra work can and will vary dramatically.

Most certainly your journey will begin with appearing, sometimes unpaid, in short films by independent filmmakers or in low-budget student films.

Jane applied for a casting call and was selected to play the part of a traffic warden for a short film about road rage. Jane was briefed that this would be a 1-day film shoot and that travel and expenses would be covered.

She also learned that it was a student production and that it was being shot just 10 miles down the road, perfect!

After turning up, she was met by the casting director and a small crew including 4 lead actors and several other 'plain Janes' with a sprinkling of some 'plain Johns'. Jane and her fellow background artists watched with interest and reserved excitement as the main characters shot their scenes.

Shouts of 'CUT' and 'ACTION' filled their air, much to Janes' amusement as the surreal environment progressed.

Not knowing what to expect can be nerve-racking. You will be meeting with many other cast and crew all with their own jobs and things to do, and it can be somewhat overwhelming at first.

Most often, you will meet with the other cast in the 'green room' and from there, the director will meet you and explain what you need to do.

Once it is time for filming, you will be dispersed and told to 'walk here', 'go there', 'run down there' etc. Sometimes you will be engaging in actual dialogue ( a big plus for your resume).

There may be some time between shots and so make sure your phone is charged up with the obligatory Candy Crush games.

Jane was then called and placed like a prop on a chair and was told to, on cue, stand up and walk past a vehicle whilst speaking her one stern line of 'I hope you have a permit for that'.

Jane's biggest fear was that of messing up and having to redo take after take. However, after hearing 'ACTION' she did exactly as she was told in the most natural manner and after hearing 'CUT' she moved out of shot and was told, well done, job done'.

Jane received a small payment and, somewhat underwhelmed and bewildered over the whole experience, said some goodbyes and headed home.

2 weeks later, a movie file of the film was emailed to her and the thrill of seeing herself in the film drove Jane on to seek out her next acting job.

The acting Gods informed Jane that a few things needed to be done now she had her first footage.

Creating an stunning profile

Jane was already a member of Fame Street but her lack lustre online presence was akin to a dripping tap. Armed with valuable and actual film footage, Jane knew that this would be a big plus for any casting director.

Jane could now 'boast' actual acting experience and seek out a supporting or even a lead role.

Jane was not deluded though, as she knew that it would still need to be at the independent short film market for now. Spielberg was not about to send her a WhatsApp anytime soon.

Every aspiring actor or actress needs to build a CV to present to potential casting directors. Showing casting directors actual acting work that you've already done is a very valuable and powerful tool indeed.

Jane crafted her online profile to showcase her new show reel complimented with an array of clearly shot photos and would use this going forward for self-promotion.

After successfully applying for a lead role and another supporting role in a feature-length film, Jane assumed her path was an unstoppable one straight to Hollywood. But then it happened; the same thing that will eventually happen to you too.

Rejection in the film industry

We live in a world of equal opportunity. This means that plain Jane has an equal chance of being booted head first out of an audition like anyone else.

In just about all circumstances in the world of real jobs, you cannot be refused employment based on gender or race. However, this is very much flipped within the film industry.

This is common sense from a workable perspective. Although, in recent years, the brush of diversity has swept over many films, there has to be a limit between acceptance and ridicule.

For instance, it's cool that black characters can replace traditional white roles or females can take what was once male leads and vice versa.

It's also empowering to witness a Hispanic Snow White or a female James Bond, but we would have to draw the line at a white teenage woman playing the part of Nelson Mandela in a documentary or to have an elderly black man playing the part of The Little Mermaid.

So what does this all mean to Jane? It means that defeat, rejection and dismissal can come thick and fast for a long time. This is a fiercely competitive industry with many actors trying for the same roles. A casting director can ask for a certain physical look without fear of reprisals or legal action.

Jane will get knocked back in favour of others time after time but will need to build resilience and continually move forward until she gets her 'big break.

Learn to craft a solid foundation from all the bricks thrown your way. In the words of Rocky Balbour 'it's not how hard you hit, It's how hard you get hit and keep moving forward.