Open Call Submission Tips

Open Calls are a fantastic opportunity for actors who may not normally get to be seen to demonstrate their talent and (hopefully) get hired. Because the potential pay-off of doing well in an open call is so great, you want to be sure to make the most of the opportunity you are being afforded. Here are a few tips to ensure that you do just that:

1. Follow the Instructions Carefully

This suggestion seems fairly intuitive, but you would be shocked at how many actors simply do n

ot take the time to read the submission instructions put out by the casting offices. For example, if a casting director asks you to do sides from a scene, don’t just send in your demo reel. Make sure to read the directions completely, because a crucial instruction such as clothing they want you to wear, different takes they want you to try, etc. may be in a subtle body paragraph which could be easily overlooked by skimming. Within the parameters that the casting director has laid out, don’t be afraid to be creative/unique with your choices–but if your audition doesn’t exist in the world the casting director wants you to create, how can they judge whether or not you’d be right for the world of the character?

2. Don’t Just Blindly Submit

One nice thing about open calls is that, by opening the audition up to the public, the casting office is (pardon the pun) casting a wide net, but there is a limit. So, for example, if you are a fifty-something year old tall man, and the casting director is looking for a six-year-old girl, by submitting you are only going to waste time and make the casting director less likely to cast you in the future when you DO fit the role. Now, that’s a pretty extreme example, but you do want to make sure when you submit that the role is a plausible fit. Additionally, if you do fit the character, and you get to choose your audition material, make sure that the piece you select shows off aspects of the character within you–don’t just do the stand-by monologue you’ve done a thousand times before. The goal is to show the casting director that you are the perfect fit for the part, and you want your piece selection to help you towards that goal, not prevent you from reaching it.

3. Make the Best Quality Video You Can

An easy way to self-sabotage an open call submission is to make a poor-quality video. Of course, at the end of the day, the casting director is looking for your acting skills and not your filmmaking skills. That being said, it is much easier to connect to an actor’s audition when you can focus on their acting, rather than straining to see them through a grainy picture or to hear them with poor audio. You can find more tips about how to make technically-sound submission videos in articles such as Self-Recording Auditions: Advanced Tips and How to Make the Perfect Audition Video.

4. Be Polished/Rehearsed

An audition is a chance to show the world what you can do, and you want to be at your best–especially in a self-taped audition for an open call. Take the time to get to know the material you will be performing. Dissect the text–look up words you don’t know, do research on the piece/time period/character if the role calls for it. Think about your character’s objectives, motivations, and tactics in the scene. Who is this person? If the sides have dialogue, what is their relationship like with the other person? What just happened before the scene? Once you have done that, take the time to memorize. Take the time to rehearse. When you’re ready, do a few takes of your video, and select the strongest one. The effort will show in your audition, and those watching will thank you for it. You can find more general audition tips here.

5. Review Your Submission Before You Hit “Send”

Finally, once the video is edited and ready to go, take an extra minute to play it back and make sure it’s working. Are the audio levels okay? Are any pieces of the video missing? If this video was to be watched right this second, would I be proud of it? You’ll be happy you checked before submitting, rather than noticing a mistake an hour later.

By keeping these simple points in mind, you’ll be off to a good start; you’ll be that much more likely to get the job, and, in so doing, get the opportunity to share your craft with the world.

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