So, you’ve got your acts, you’ve got your CV, you just need somewhere to play! And look! You’ve just seen the perfect casting… But wait! how do you apply? Here’s a few tips that will help you get your point across to show bookers…
As an introduction, most of the time when a producer posts a casting, they have already got the rest of the bill sorted and are looking for a specific slot or type of performer to finalise their show. Producers, especially those who have been running regular shows for a long time, usually rely on their wish list of performers to fill their bills so in the rare occasion they do cast a show, they will only be considering applications from performers who literally, fit their bill. If you don’t fit their bill this time, make a note of their show and contact details and then, later down the line, drop an email with your details on, as usually, if you do this at the time of casting, your email will be ignored or you will be considered a time-waster for not reading the casting details. Sending an email outside of a casting allows a producer to take notice of what you do without the high volume of emails and you might even make it onto their wish list!
Firstly, read the casting!
We know this sounds simple, but make sure you read it properly to ensure you are fit to apply. A producer might have thrown a casting out there just looking for a headliner – are you really of headline quality to apply? They might also be looking for specific themed acts or styles. Now, this is important… You must already have that style or act in your repertoire. Never make up an act to fit a casting – producers will need solid evidence of the act being performed (pictures, video). Chasing castings like this will result in you never getting booked as you won’t be able to back up your ‘ideas’. Also, having an already established act is more professional, and shows you have developed a style of your own.
The Devil is in the Detail!
So, reading the casting properly, it will tell you you all you need to know to apply. It will state what kind of performer or performance the producer is looking for (if it states ‘looking for aerial acts’ then the producer will only be considering these type of acts as they have probably got the rest of the bill sorted – see the intro above!) and if you fit the bill, apply!
Firstly, check how the producer would like you to apply… If they’ve stated email response, then please do not apply any other way – especially not via their personal facebook accounts or emails. This will get you noticed for all the wrong reasons! A producer will have stated a response via a certain channel so that all applications can be reviewed together and important performers will not be lost. They also might be reviewing applications with a team of co-producers, which is why it’s important to apply in the stated way. it also shows you can follow instructions!
Secondly, you must check that you have all the requested information in your application. Producers will usually ask for the following:
- Experience – can you back up your application with the required amount of experience? If the producer is looking for a headliner, what sort of criteria makes up their idea of a headliner – is it international experience/be a name on the scene/’x’ amount of show experience/a popular or rising star that everyone wants to see so will sell their tickets?
- The right act – they’ve requested ‘French acts’ – do you have something that falls into this in your repertoire?
- Footage – do you have a video link of footage of this act? Please don’t clog up a producer’s email account with loads of files that need to be downloaded! Pop a youtube link in the body of the email, that way it’s easy for them to access what it is that you do. And be aware that footage of an act is different to a showreel… Most producers prefer footage of an act so they can see exactly how the act works on stage and what is involved. A showreel gives a general view of the best bits of your acts and therefore doesn’t help in the producer’s mental picture of what their show wil look like
- A CV – most castings will ask for one. You can find help on creating one here: CV HELP and there’s even a template CV for you to download and fill in with your own stuff. You’re welcome.
- Fees and expenses – most castings will either ask you to quote these (remember the producer is working to a budget!) or will state what they will be paying the successfully casted performer. If the latter is the case, don’t apply with a payment expectation that exceeds the stated pay in the casting. You must be happy with what the producer will be paying to apply. If you are not, then don’t apply.
- Any other info – anything else you think will support your application. For instance, a professionally worded email, which states your style. Do some research into their show. But do not include large files that have not been asked for (eg hi-res images that take a year to download and block up the producer’s email, preventing others from applying!)
EVER! Send an email that you’ve copied and pasted that was sent to other producers. ESPECIALLY if you’ve accidently left details of the previous show application on it. This just looks lazy and that you don’t really care about the show you’ve applied for. We live in an increasingly competitive genre, folks, and this is one sure fire way of ensuring you don’t make the shortlist. By all means have a template application email, but include details of the show you are actually applying for.
Do your homework!
Just as producers do their homework with you (yes, producers will look on facebook to see your other acts, photos and most importantly, how you carry yourself professionally – so if you are a bit loose-lipped and constantly negative online, this might not go in your favour, however, if you are professional and positive, this definitely will!), they like it if you do your homework on their shows. Basic mistakes of not doing your research on shows include not even looking where a show is based! Believe it or not, there are those who apply to castings and upon making it to the shortlist, email back asking where the show is! What a waste!
Basic things to check out on a show:
- Where it is
- Who is producing it
- What are the type of acts they book
- What times the shows runs from (eg, is it an early evening show or a supper club type thing?
- What is the venue (theatre/club/church hall/pub etc.
Make sure you know you are comfortable applying for the show in question and that you have done your research before hand.
What a producer will be considering when booking an act…
If you are not chosen for a booking, please don’t take this to heart! It’s not because you are not a great performer, it might just be because they are looking for a certain style that complements the bill they already have in place. It might just be that, although your fan or isis wing act is so beautiful and perfect, they already have a fan/isis prop on the bill. It might be a clash of themes – someone else doing the same or similar act to you or using the same track. So there are a number of reasons you might not be booked. And remember, if a producer has posted a casting, they will be receiving a response of on average 100 other performers all vying for that one slot on the bill!
The producer has not even contacted me! How RUDE!
Sometimes a producer will not have enough time in the day to contact everyone who applies for a casting (see the above volume of applications!) and will mostly just contact the successful performer – or a couple to negotiate with. If you don’t hear from a producer it’s because they’ve got a number of tasks on the go and are possibly trying to hold down another job too – there’s just not enough time in the day to reply to everyone! But please don’t be tempted to follow this up with a curt email to ask why they’ve not responded, because trust us, they will respond, but not in a positive way. Besides, a lot of performers catch the eye of producers from castings and they make a list (that wish list we mentioned above) so don’t be surprised if you get a message out of the blue asking if you are available for a different date…