Still getting settled into the business of becoming an actor and landing your first roles? Where do casting directors fit into the picture? Here’s how it usually works.
You make sure that you have an impactful headshot. You make a reel that showcases your acting abilities. You work to get an agent interested enough in your acting to consider recommending you. And, of course, you keep an eye out for casting calls yourself.
After casting calls go out, your headshot and reel go to a casting director. He or she shortlists a few actors from a list of thousands to audition. The list gets pared down in the process, and the casting director suggests a list of good candidates to the director who makes the final call.
Can You Build Relationships With Casting Directors?
Occasionally, a casting director might find specific actors memorable enough to specifically ask them to audition. That’s a decided advantage – but you’ll have to do some work to achieve this level of relationship. We’ve seen both good and bad advice on how to build relationships with casting directors in the hope of getting the inside track. So, what’s the good advice like? Here are our top tips.
- Know who the top casting directors are, what they like in an actor, and how they work (many do podcasts or have LinkedIn profiles, and they’re worth following)
- Prepare for your audition with the casting director in mind but be aware that you may see an associate
- Audition often, prepare well every time, and always deliver your best
- Get involved with a guild and attend industry events – you never know who you might meet
- Be natural, professional, and sincere in interactions with casting directors – fake “fans” are easy to spot
- Never stalk them or spam them with unsolicited emails
Ten of The Top Casting Directors in London
Let’s be frank. London is a hotbed of creativity and there are probably more casting directors than you can keep track of. In fact, the Casting Directors Guild lists 228 casting directors in London. We’ve selected a sample to demonstrate the different types of casting directors you might encounter.
Ever wondered where Game of Thrones got its cast of stunning actors? Here’s where it started. She’s also worked on the Star Wars series and other major projects. Famous in her own right, Nina Gold has talked to the press about her experiences as a casting director and what she looks for in actors – definitely worth checking out.
Here’s another award-winning casting director to keep on your radar. Amy Hubbard has been involved in major films and TV series (think Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films). Even if you never get work directly through her, you’ll benefit from her perspectives on casting and acting. Once again, she’s very high profile and there are plenty of articles, videos, and interviews for you to check out.
From Barbie to Batman and beyond, Lucy Beven is a leading casting director with Hollywood connections based in London. She has plenty of great audition advice to offer, and you’ll definitely benefit from reading her interviews and tips for actors.
If you have your sights set on comedy, then Nicky Bligh has the credentials for casting leading productions. Once again, there are plenty of insights you can gain from her interviews and podcast guest appearances. You’re sure to pick up a few useful pointers that will help you to deliver a great audition.
Des Hamilton’s casting company is an interesting one. Yes, they do “conventional casting,” but they’re also known for their “street casting” in which they spot people who they think will be right for a part on the street. There’s a big portfolio of past work ranging from film to TV and from commercials to music videos. His website may not tell you much you need to know as an actor, but he’s been very forthcoming as an interview guest. Search online to discover how he goes about casting.
Into musicals and dreaming of headlining in the West End? Pippa Ailion is a casting director to watch. But she doesn’t only do stage productions, she also does casting for TV shows, commercials and corporate videos. As always, search online to find interviews, views and news that may contain gems of information that can help you to advance your career.
With three decades in the entertainment industry, Suzy Korel casts for stage, screen, commercials and corporate videos. Regretfully, you won’t find a lot about her online despite a long and illustrious career – but following her on Instagram might offer you inspiration.
If you’re into stage work over screen, the National Theatre’s Alastair Coomer may be a man to watch. He’s the head of casting for the National Theatre, but he tends to keep a fairly low profile online, so you may struggle to find news and interviews.
He does casting for film and TV, but he’s best known for his work in musical theatre. Like some of the other casting directors we’ve featured, Stuart Burt keeps a low profile online, but don’t let that fool you into doubting his influence. He’s an award-winning casting director.
Mark Summers does both commercial casting and casting for film, but he’s best known for the former. Authenticity matters to him, and he’s known for masterful at-a-glance street casting. This casting director shouldn’t be taken lightly: he’s very popular with top brands like Samsung. Got that special something? He might just spot it if you’re in the right place at the right time.
Join Our Cast of Brand Champions Today
Commercial work, including brand representation in live interactions, is a great foot in the door for those who aspire to artistic heights. As an actor, you’ll know that just landing a role, however small, is an achievement that shouldn’t be underestimated. And, unless you’re in the top fraction of a percentage who casting directors dream of hiring, you’re going to spend time between roles.
The realities of life mean having work to “fall back on,” but there are few jobs that allow you to work on your terms. Got a casting call? Attending an acting course? Landed a role? Try explaining that to the average employer.
But at RSVP, we’re always in search of talent: people who know how to represent brands and do it well. We respect your acting career, and we’re ready to be flexible. You get valuable experience representing brand personas. Our clients get the benefit of your talent. Join our crew today – we’re looking forward to working with you!