"The label you give yourself cannot impact external forces that are not motivated by your own psychology or influenced by a third party's pre-existing consciousness of you. We are all presented with reasons to struggle which come from completely external forces; to pretend that one is not struggling is either arrogance or an admission of defeat. To admit that one is struggling is a sign and a source of strength." - Evan A. Baker

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Struggling Actress: Casting Director Edition

I was on a hike with JenIsIris yesterday, and I was talking about my script, and the things I need to fix in it, and how we're casting on thursday. "This is a fantastic way to start off 2010!" she said, and I almost stopped mid-step, because, wow, It IS! I've been working so hard on it all that I didn't even have the time to take a second and think, Good Job, Lira! Good Job!

So far, it is January 6, and:

Monday: 2 auditions from my commercial agent
Tuesday: 1 audition from my comm agent, 1 from me. Reviewing submissions for webseries and scheduling auditions (shout out to Brandi!), choosing and printing master sides for audition.
Today: replying to everyone who is requesting a time change, making sides copies, meeting conference calling with potential director (who happens to be The Boy Phoenix Adores), and then going to yet another commercial audition from my agent!
Tomorrow: Casting! My own Series!

Can we say 2010 is pretty awesome so far?

In regards to Casting, if you are an actress, listen up:

If you are on Actors Access it is crucial to have a GOOD REEL up there. Submissions with a reel are placed at the top of the list, so casting sees those first.

Have your resume up to date and have GOOD pictures! Oh my gosh! A couple actors had every single picture they've ever taken up there, going all the way back in time to what they looked like when headshots were still black and white. Take old pictures DOWN! I need to know what you look like NOW!

If you are submitting for a role that requires a specific skill, like being able to play guitar or speak spanish, list that you do indeed do that, and at what level in your notes.

Two different actors had written these notes to me: "Hello and allow me to introduce myself. My name is ___ and I'm submitting for ____. Thank you for your interest."
They were the same verbatim, and what's dumb is 1) I know what your name is, it's printed right there and 2) I know what role you submitted for because I'm looking in that category's folder. 3) I can tell you're foreign, and if your command of the English language is to only state the obvious for me, then I will not call you in.

If you do not want to be seen as a professional actor, then continue using those terribly grainy  photos of you in your living room with tragic lighting, taken by your friend. Good headshots are worth every penny.

If you don't know your age range, ask several people to tell you how old they think you are. Just because you read a breakdown that says "Early 30's," and you are in your 40s but THINK you can still play early 30s, trust me, you are wrong. OR, as sometimes the case may be, if you're still in your early 30's, but LOOK early 40's, your real age means nothing to me. It's what you LOOK LIKE.

You should always see who's casting and producing. If you know someone, even from years ago, write a little message in the notes. I once worked with a girl named Alex two years ago, who I immediately liked but lost contact with once that job ended. She wrote, "Hi Lira! I saw you were casting this and thought I'd submit even if just to say hi. :)"  This was brilliant. I only worked with her in a restaurant job where she was in little if any makeup, with her hair pulled back, and I didn't remember her last name. Her headshot is fantastic. I looked at it and thought, "Do I know this person?" It had been 2 years since I've seen her, and I never saw her in anything but a uniform. Her note caught my attention and she's going to read for me now. If not for the note, I probably would've thought, nah, I don't know her, and kept going on with reviewing the submissions, passing over her.

It is a long day of casting tomorrow. We're going from 9:30-5:30, hoping to cast 9 roles. The most of any one role is for LizBeth, who we'll be seeing 27 different people for. I could not get it down to fewer only because there were so many different ways we could go with her. For instance, I had written that we'll look at anyone from 30s-50s, and it's going to be interesting. LizBeth is an angry character, so if she's younger, we want to know why, and if she's older, it makes her reasons different. I also have a younger lady who weighs around 330 pounds coming in to read for it. Because as the writer, there's a lot of different things I can do to play around with her physicality, and what other characters say to her.
I whittled down who we're seeing for the Julie role, (the most submitted for, with 334 submissions) down to just 12, plus 3 other actresses I'm bringing in off my relationship with them alone, who I'm confident could do it with their eyes closed. I would've cut it down to 8 girls, but a few of them are ethnicities other than caucasian, and I'm excited to see how that could change things within the ensemble.

One of the 20 people we'll be seeing for Sean, the guy who doesn't know he's gay, is an old professor of mine. Interesting!

I'm excited to be sharing this entire journey with you. I'm glad you're here for the ride.


  1. Great blog. I like all the inside casting info. Way to go on all those commercial auditions!

  2. This was an exhilirating post to read! I'm feeding off your positive energy and so excited for you.

  3. Okay, HAVE to ask - is the ex-professor of yours' name start with an "E"?

  4. Great Post, loved it - good advice


Play nice.