For the Educated Actor: The TV Casting Process…
This is an overview of the TV Casting process from my experiences working with dozens of episodic casting directors each month.
This is not for FEATURE FILM or TV PILOT casting, but for the weekly episodic casting of the guest roles for TV shows…
Most young actors work from 1 to 8 days if they book one of these shows, and, if they are lucky, they come back for another episode or more, so they are “recurring”.
Most shows shoot 13 to 22 episodes and we’ve seen orders for up to 65 episodes to be cast, so that explains why the process is so time sensitive…
The focus for us is on how to better position yourself to increase your odds of being cast in episodic TV.
As many of you already know. Actorsite young actors book many prime time and cable shows as guest stars and co-stars on a regular basis.
We also have over 100 series regulars but that is a different issue…a completely different casting process.
I want to give a “general” overview of the casting process so that you can see how most offices work…every one is different, but this is a very simple overview…
When casting episodic shows, time is of the essence for casting.
First when they get the script, they may have just 24 hours or less before the producers want a producer’s session. Some producer’s sessions are LIVE and some are on video.
24 hours to cast 5 to 10 roles…it sounds impossible, but it’s not!
Once they get the script, they make lists of actors who can play each role.
Then, if they don’t have enough on their list, they send the script to breakdown services to release a breakdown.
They usually have over 80% of the appointments set before they ever look at the submissions from the breakdowns…
They immediately start to set the appointments…
The first thing they do is look at the list from the producers to see if they know and can locate the producer “requests” for each role.
Sometimes the producer “requests” are from the producers or from the studio casting office or from the network casting office.
That might be one or two actors up to 4 or 5 actors to see for each role.
The next thing they do is see if they can cast the roles out of their “files”
What are their “files”?
Actors that they have seen before in performances or auditions.
A. Performances in Film and TV
B. Compelling Performances in Plays and Shows.
C. Compelling Performances in Showcases.
D. Compelling Performances in Workshops.
E. Previous Auditions
If there are any audition slots still available, they may schedule a “pre-read” session to see actors they haven’t seen before.
Sometimes they look at the “general” drops to see who has dropped recently and who they might like to see for these roles…
Mostly, however, to schedule “pre-reads” they take agent and manager pitches to fill up their audition slots…
In general, they “trust” an agent or manager if that agent or manager never “oversells” their clients, so the client is always FABULOUS…
Some agencies can fill many slots because they have several really good actors in the requested categories…and casting trusts their suggestions.
(Hint: If you want your agent and manager to pitch you, then you need to be “FABULOUS” when you go to audition, or they cannot pitch you.)
And FINALLY, if they still have slots available, they look at the general online submissions from Breakdown Services/Actor Access. Usually for each role, they’ll have from 1,000 to 3,000 submissions.
When they are looking at the submissions from Breakdowns/Actors Access, they always hone in on actors that they have seen before and didn’t have a file on…so if you know the Casting Director, then you are more likely to get called in if you are right for the part!
So the “randomness” of Hollywood becomes less random if you understand the process…
The “RANDOMNESS” works in your favor if you do KILLER WORK, and build a relationship for the future…
If your work is not KILLER, the nice thing about Kids is that they always give you a second and third chance, always hoping that you’ll be better and better!
As casting director Scott David once told me: “You have the best kids in Hollywood. Every Actorsite kid I’ve seen is ready for a co-star role,, and what I watch for is when their skills advance them so they can
book a guest star role!”
So Actorsite training enables young actors to work from “pretty good” to “FABULOUS”.
We’ve had some of our best kids start out kind of “rusty” and gradually work until they are on every casting directors “guest star” list!
For Actors, this is my “overview” of the process, and, every office works slightly differently. Many never do pre-reads at all and only go from lists and never put out breakdowns, so every office is different.
Some always put out breakdowns and do pre-reads…
Every office is slightly different.
So this overview is just to help you understand the randomness of casting episodic television in Hollywood.
I hope you enjoyed this overview.
Actorsite Services that we hope help you in this process:
Of course our training program is the highest rated one in Hollywood, if you go by our young client’s successes!
All the best,
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