How to Get the Most Out of a Casting Workshop

There are a lot of workshops around town that’ll offer you the opportunity to meet and read for someone from a casting office.  These can be great opportunities if your heart is in the right place. Here are some tips to make sure you understand exactly what you’re getting yourself into:

Research the casting representative.
Make sure they’re casting things that interest you and have experience in genres you want to learn from.  If you’re a comedic actor, don’t pay for a workshop with someone who only casts dramas.  Likewise, choose a workshop with someone who has a significant volume of work in their office.  The more roles they’re casting, the more experience they have directing talent.

Find out the structure of the workshop.
Sometimes they will offer a Q&A, other times they will not. Some casting professionals prefer to see people do cold reads, other prefer that you bring your own material.  Some workshops will even offer you one-on-one time with the casting rep.  Find out what sounds most appealing to you.  Maybe if it’s your first workshop, you’ll feel more comfortable preparing a piece in advance.  Or maybe it’s more your style to cold read.

Be involved.
You signed up for the workshop to learn and exercise your acting muscle. So make sure you do those things.

Ask questions, but don’t be confrontational
If it’s a cold read workshop, don’t be afraid to ask about the scene.  Also, if the scene is something you really dislike, it’s okay to politely ask if you can switch it for another. If the workshop allows the casting rep to give feedback, don’t argue or be overly sensitive.  Take the feedback gracefully, even if you disagree.  It’s a lesson in real world auditions, where the interpretation of casting or the director, is what goes. Remember also, questions like “Do you have anything I can come read for right now?” don’t belong in the workshop setting.

Don’t expect anything in return
Workshops are geared towards education.  If you do get on the radar of a casting office as a result, that’s great, and you’re very lucky.  But a workshop is intended to be about honing your skills, not paying to be seen.

Don’t stalk the casting rep.
It’s okay to send them a thank-you note.  It’s even okay to send them an update later if you have significant news.  But constantly contacting them to say hello or ask if they have anything for you is inappropriate.

The bottom line is: a workshop is a class that gives you an opportunity to practice your career tools but it’s not an audition. As long as you know that, you’ll be fine.

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Taylor Reid

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