I have been writing to more casting directors, associates, and assistants recently and I want to share how I do it. I haven’t had a lot of auditions the casting teams don’t really know I exist and I would like to change that. I tried doing a lot of research on what to include, not to include, and what to say, but I was surprised at how little information there was out there. So my hope is that this post can be a good jumping off point for actors looking to introduce themselves to new casting directors
Don’t Be Nervous
I was nervous about doing this for a long time, I was afraid of bugging them or upsetting them to the point where they would not want to see me. But from what I have l gathered as long as you don’t write too often, don’t say anything offensive, and don’t trick them into opening the email you’re going to be OK. Writing to the Casting teams us part of the game, and they understand that.
Don’t Just Write to the Casting Directors
You should also really write to the associates and the assistants. These people are usually the people doing the hard work day to day casting projects. I’m not being derogatory to CDs, when you’re the boss you have a lot more high level tasks, meetings, and people to please; so they are more than likely are not doing all the nitty gritty parts of the casting the smaller roles and day players . That being said, some can be real hands on while in other offices they are more hands off, so there are no hard and fast rules. To me though I feel more on an equal playing field with associates and assistants because we came into the industry at similar times and may even have a few shared credits from our time. Plus they are more than likely those that I have done workshops with so I have actually met them in person.
- Be Brief and relevant
- Do not write too often
- To introduce yourself
- When you have new headshots/show reel
- If you know they’re Casting a project or specific role you fit
My OUTLINE FOR MY EMAILS
After attending a lot of events/talks with Casting directors, associates, and assistants I have put together what I think is a good list of best practices. Something to note is that all of these items are opinions and not hard and fast rules, but I do think they are a great place to start!
- Subject: Right now for most of my emails my subject line is “New Actor Introduction” or “Thank you” because I haven’t auditioned for most offices, or to thank people for workshops that I have attended.
- Introduction: I will always try to find the name of the person I am writing to. Most of the time I have email addresses to specific people so its not an issue, but some casting offices have the dreaded “firstname.lastname@example.org.” That to me is very impersonal so I will always try to find out who works on the casting team and address it to them.
- I give them a brief run down of who I am, what I do, and the more unique attributes about me. (I used to include my age, which I shouldn’t have done, let your headshot do the talking).
- My current first sentence is: “My name is Kyle Jerichow and I am an American Actor with a Midwestern accent living in the just outside of London in the UK, 6.2” tall, and a former US Army officer with combat experience, and I currently work behind the scenes on Film and TV doing special effects or props, because I honestly believe that movies and TV can change the world.”
- I talk about projects they are working on or have coming up that I think I would fit in. I also will mention any projects we both have worked on.
- I then say whether or not I have auditioned for them, or if I have done a casting workshop with them. If I’ve auditioned I’ll mention the month, name of the project, and the character I auditioned for. If I have done a workshop with them I’ll mention the month and year.
- Spotlight Link – ensure everything is one click, everyone in casting is a lot busier than they used to be so time is precious.
- Direct link to my show reel – One associate said that a if you can embed your show reel in the email so he can watch it immediately. I have tried to embed my show reel using Vimeo, but what that amounted to was really just a photo of my opening frame with a direct link to Vimeo. (But it is still only one click!) (Attaching files has been a no no since they take up valuable space.)
- Who you are represented by with a link to the agency website or an email link to your agent
- Include an embedded headshot in body of the email. This was brought up many times. It helps all of the people you write to know who is talking to them
- My signature block which contains:
- My Name
- My headshot
- My contact number
- link to my website
- Links to my: Spotlight, IMDB, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn
This may seem like a lot, but my emails are usually just a few sentences and then links to all of my relevant materials and I try to be as brief as possible.
tracking the emails i send
Odds are that you will not get a reply from any of the emails you send, and this can be disheartening. I found that using an email tracker (I use Mailtrack for Gmail) is a real moral booster. I use the free version and it tells me if my emails have been opened, and sometimes when it is showing me premium features it will even tell me how many times my email has been read.
I also track every email email I send in a spreadsheet. This ensures I don’t write anyone too often and allows me to see how many people I have written so I can keep up with my numbers goal for the year.
When to send your emails
Friday afternoon I think is the best. This is the time of the week where most people are looking for an excuse to not do real work, and maybe my email is a welcomed distraction. Though I have heard an agent say that Wednesday afternoon worked best for her.
Send your email during normal business hours. One of the most common pieces of advice is to ensure that you don’t send it so they will first see it Monday morning. They’ll already have to sort through a bunch of emails and adding to the pile isn’t helpful. If you find yourself writing at weird times, which is when I always tend to for some reason, you can schedule your emails really easily. I use Gmail so it’s just a few clicks
Keep your head up
At the time of this writing out of all the CDs I’ve written I’ve only gotten two replies. So don’t get discouraged.
Do you have any helpful hints or guidelines that you use to write to Casting Directors? Please let me know in the comments!