Cold-Emailing Casting Directors: Pros, Cons, Dos, Don’ts
Everyone is busy, pressed for time and, in the entertainment industry, working under tight deadlines. But believe it or not, there have been actors who managed to secure roles and meetings by randomly cold-emailing a casting director.
So does cold-emailing casting directors actually work?
It’s well known in the marketing world that it takes seven to nine times of you contacting someone for them to really pay attention. Cold-emailing casting directors is no different. In this case, you’re selling yourself and convincing your “client” that you’re worth the shot. But how exactly do you stand out among a sea of a thousand other actors also doing their best just to get noticed?
Before we give you the tips, let’s give you a realistic view of what happens after you click Send.
They’ll keep you, your type, and your name in mind.
Casting directors will call in whom they know, and one way to become someone they know is by writing to them. Cold-emailing now and again, especially when you have something interesting to share, is going to help you get noticed.
They file resumes of interest in one folder.
When the time comes, the casting director first looks through their list of available acting talent before deciding to hold auditions when they’re looking for a type. Having up-to-date knowledge of available talent is actually a casting director’s job requirement and responsibility. Once you get the bigger picture of how this part of casting works, you’ll understand how skill or experience isn’t mostly the reason why you didn’t get noticed. It’s usually profile and type against a number of other suitable candidates.
They may become interested in your premieres or shows.
One good way to keep in touch with casting directors is sending them invitations to your shows. They’ll be very much impressed if they find that the project you’re working on is rather successful or if you happen to be working alongside a prolific director, producer, or actor. If your performance moved them, your chances of being shortlisted soar high.
It literally takes dozens of cold-emailing before you get a response.
Why? Because they literally receive hundreds of emails a day! Writing to casting directors is not a quick and easy way to suddenly be inundated by offers of roles. It’s just one part of an effective marketing strategy that takes time, patience, and persistence. Competition is even more heated in the major cities. With more films being made than ever, there are still entirely too many actors for everyone to be actually working. A single role can even get as much as 3,000 submissions!
Some of your emails end up in the bin without being read.
A wrong subject line, an inopportune time of the month, a taken role, the possibilities are endless. Then again, don’t be discouraged if you don’t get a reply soon. If you’re thinking it’s not fair that they didn’t get back to you, you’re in the wrong industry. Making it as an actor is normally hard in the beginning, pretty much like any career. You start at the bottom, persist, take rejections positively, improve, and simply keep going. Take Walter Brennan‘s unwavering passion and eventual success as inspiration!
If you do it wrong, they might mark all your emails as spam.
Do not email them every single day. Do not send them generic/template emails, one-liners, or unnecessary messages (unless you’re already close friends). It doesn’t come off as persistence; it becomes an annoyance.
Dos and Don’ts When Cold-Emailing Casting Directors
Don’t email on a weekend.
Casting is a job, and these professionals, just like anyone, need their rest days too! You wouldn’t want your boss giving you tasks while you’re taking a day off, would you?
Don’t bombard their inbox.
Casting directors can barely get their heads above giant piles of mail, both of the snail and virtual variety. Consistency is key, but send emails with moderation. Send once a week at most, or twice a month.
Do not ask them to represent you.
One of the most common mistakes is an actor emailing for representation. Casting directors do not represent actors! If you’re looking for representation, then you need to contact a talent agency. Also, don’t email casting directors you don’t know and ask them how you can get an agent.
Don’t disguise the email as a thank-you note.
A thank-you note should be a thank-you note and nothing else, and a request should be just that. People have a tendency to cloak a request as a thank-you note. To casting directors, this is a turnoff. Choose one thing and one thing only. Be simple, concise, and straight to the point. No fluffy talk.
Do your research.
If a casting director has their email address listed on IMDb, cold-emailing them is acceptable. Next, you need to know what this CD wants, likes, and needs. This means you have to research them first and find out why you would be the perfect fit for them and the projects they are casting. Why are you contacting this CD specifically? And yes, this may take a hell of a lot longer than just copying and pasting a generic email and sending it to the inbox of every casting director around, but this is what you got to do for your campaign to be effective.
Do check your spelling.
It is so obvious when an actor is sending out a template letter to many casting directors. Any correspondence that’s riddled with errors doesn’t get taken seriously.
Do include the necessary materials.
The following are what the email should include: an up-to-date headshot, an up-to-date acting résumé, your Spotlight / Actor’s Access / Casting Frontier / IMDb link(s), an acting reel or one to two strong recent self-tapes, credentials worth mentioning, your website’s URL, your contact details, and your agent’s contact details. All materials need to be top quality and constantly updated for you to stand out. Never skimp on your marketing materials.
Do stick to facts when introducing yourself.
Who are you? What is it about you that would pique this casting director’s interest? Stick to the facts such as your latest credits or awards, and not because you are “the next big star” or “the next Angelina Jolie.” It’s not about your life story and how you have always dreamed of becoming an actor. It’s about you being able to give them what casting director wants and needs. They respond better when emails are short and to the point.
Now do it. No excuses. Persistence is power!Cold-Emailing Casting Directors: Pros, Cons, Dos, Don'ts by Holly Bissonnette