Submitting your Actors headshots for castings can be somewhat of a numbers game. You will often be one of hundreds of hopeful actors putting yourself forward for a role. So is there anything you can do to increase your chances of getting called for an audition? In this article we interview Mandy Steele (mandysteele.com) to find out from a Casting Director’s point of view, what works and what doesn’t.
Please tell us about yourself. How long have you been casting, what types of roles you have cast for?
I have been casting since 2002. Casting mostly indie film dramas (shorts, features), some ads, voice casting, corporate / training films. This means a huge variety of roles.
What is the typical process involved with casting for a role?
Either putting a Spotlight Casting Call out for a niche role or I usually do my own Spotlight searches so I can cherry pick more who is right for the role. There is a lot more to it than that as there are lots of stages, but that would take too long to explain. I also use Mandy.comsometimes for niche types.
On average, how many headshots are you looking through when casting for a single role?
It depends on how niche the casting type is – it can be hundreds or even into the thousands!
As a casting director, how important are actors’ headshots to you?
The right headshot is essential, I can’t stress this enough. You are judged first and foremost on the strength of your headshot. If you don’t look right for the role from your headshot then the chances are (not always, of course) that you won’t be considered further.
Does it play a big part in getting people to the next stage?
Yes, it is your passport and it must be as strong and as authentic as possible. Please make sure it is up to date, for instance, if you have changed your hair or lost / gained weight.
Is there anything you are looking for in particular when looking over headshots?
How many headshots do you like to see from an actor?
What mistakes do photographers/actors make when shooting headshots?
Have you ever been wowed by an actors headshots?
A new trend is for actors to include intro to camera videos on their spotlight profiles- what are your views on these videos?
Do you think intro to camera videos should be filmed in the same style as actors headshots?
Does it make a difference to you as a casting director if they are just self shot clips from a phone or properly lit/audio recorded videos?
Mandy Steele - Casting Director
Mandy has been casting since 2002. Prior to this she worked at the European Script Fund (development financing) and the Motion Picture Corporation of America (sales & acquisitions).
She has cast for commercials (BT, Brains Bitter, Mission Hills), corporates (Volvo, Pfizer, DeLoitte, NHS Training), shorts (BAFTA nominated Talking With Angels), features (Bilby, Giantland, Cruel Peter, Infinite Justice, Twice Shy), and broadcast (BBC Education, Open University).
She is a BAFTA, CDA (Casting Directors Association) and WFTV member.