Why do actors hate casting directors?

On this Valentine’s Day, everyone is talking about love, but why is there so little love for casting directors? I would really love to hear some feedback on this one. So many actors have an antagonistic relationship with casting directors.  Others think that casting directors are walls that must be scaled in order to reach the director. It may be true that some casting directors are bitter former actors who take pleasure in making actors miserable, but that is definitely a tiny minority. Most casting directors are trying to help actors. We want you to be good, and we want you to give the best audition you can give. we have a problem that you can solve, always remember that!

It’s true: we can be tough. I expect a high level of professionalism and decorum as well as talent. Here are a couple of tips I have for interacting with casting directors (and I would love to hear about your experience with casting directors both positive and negative)

Tips for working with casting directors

Before the audition:

1. Don’t nag the casting director!- It’s important to have clarity about what you are expected to do, but calling and emailing the casting director over and over is not going to help you. If you have questions, put them into a clear and concise email, and before you ask anything make sure you’ve read over all of the guidelines carefully. Some actors lose the part before they even audition because they are too high maintenance.

2. Don’t submit if you are not right for the part or if you are not available!- Two things that annoy me: submissions from actors who are totally wrong for the part and submissions from actors who are potentially right for the part but they aren’t available for the production dates. Don’t waste my time!

At the audition

3. Be friendly, cordial, and respectful to everyone- the person who signs you in will report back to the casting director if you are rude or bothersome. Also, it’s important to understand boundaries. If you happen to run into the casting director in the restroom, this is not the time to discuss a potential callback. Also, your scene partners are auditioning too, be respectful and helpful to them but do not try to direct their performances. That’s a big red flag!

After the Audition

4. Be gracious either way- if you get the part, say thank you. If you don’t get the part, say thank you. Sending a thank you note goes a long way.  I personally think it’s only necessary if you have been called back. There’s no need to thank me for seeing you at an initial audition, pre-screen, or open call.

5. Professionalism is the key- At every level, from big budget films to off-off-off Broadway, acting in a professional manner will always put you ahead of the game.  Make sure you have all of your materials together, and you present yourself as a professional artist at all times.


4 thoughts on “Why do actors hate casting directors?

  1. Rod A. Richardson says:

    I was in an acting workshop last year that was conducted by a famous actor. The actor’s friend/casting director from new york, spoke to the class enlightening us about the up and downs of the biz. She was very funny yet informative and seemed to be very down to earth. So during one of our breaks, i ask the casting director for an address so i can mail her my headshot/resume. In a very cold-shouldered, 180 degree sort of way, she said if you can’t get to new york in an hour, I can’t do nothing with you….. and walked away. I said to myself Wow!! Whats up with the stank attitude! I made no sense to be that way to an aspiring talent not knowing who i am…hell i might be the next denzel! I thought it was very uncalled for and class-less. I hope i never run across an atitude like that again..of course thats just wishful thinking!

  2. jaredblakedicroce says:

    I’ve never thought of a casting director as an enemy, although, I can understand why some people may…
    See, we only run into your lot in an exceptionally high stakes/high pressure situation. For some, that callous and/or inappropriate behavior is more-so a result of a fight or flight instinct muddling up their normal persona, than any actual hostility. Though there are exceptions…
    Crazies abound in this industry!
    Happy Valentines Day though, from every actor, and myself, whose ever done you wrong — We don’t mean it, I swear! 🙂

  3. Eric says:

    It’s also important not to delay a production because you don’t have an eye pencil, or if there is a drunk in your eyeline. A good actor/actress can make due with the environment they are thrown in. And for Heaven’s sake, if your check is a couple days later than you expected it, don’t go calling your union to complain – you’ll just be blacklisted and the filmmaker won’t sign a signatory contract on their next project, thus cutting out you and all of your union friends. :o) This advice is for free, take it..

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