Know Your Casting, But Be Bold!

iStock_000026091667_ExtraSmall-300x200It is commonly accepted in Hollywood that an actor should know their casting.  That means that if you are dark and swarthy, have shifty eyes, and a rat-like nose, you probably shouldn’t be trying out for Elsa in the live action version of Frozen.

The reason that this advice is given and why it is good advice is that it maximizes your opportunities.  As an actor you couldn’t ask for much more.  More opportunities will hopefully mean more actual jobs.  Sometimes it really is a numbers game.

However, if you got a chance to sit down with a casting director off the record and asked them if they have any stories of actors going for a role that was completely against type and getting it, every single one would be able to tell you one of those stories.

Acting and casting are not exact sciences.  You can be 100% right for a role on paper and still not get it for any reason under the sun.  Maybe the producer didn’t like you because you look like her creepy uncle.  Maybe the director had his nephew in mind for the role.  There is NO rhyme or reason.  Or, you can be totally wrong for a role as it is written and still get it because something magical happened and the stars aligned.  There is no science to it.

Which brings me back to knowing your casting. recently posted an article on the actor Cliff Curtis, a Maori actor who has been asked to play almost every ethnicity known to man: Latino, Middle Eastern, and even imaginary race in The Last Airbender – he’s currently on Fear The Walking Dead.

If Mr. Curtis had stuck to his “casting”, maybe he never would have been able to play all these roles.  I’m not saying that you, the actor, should start submitting to every role that you are completely not right for.  That’s the kind of irresponsible stuff that gives all actors a bad name.

What I am saying is that if you see a part that resonates with you on every level, down to your DNA, then BE BOLD.  Use your actor business skills (like those described by our own Kevin E. West in his ActingBizGuru series) and every one of your connections to try to get yourself seen for a part that might not be typically thought of as your casting.  Don’t be shy.

The rules in Hollywood are fluid and written and re-written all the time by people who take educated chances and sometimes change the way the whole world sees them.  There is no role for you until you get one.  (Think about that.)

Be smart.  AND Be Bold!


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