Skip to main content

How to Impress a Casting Director

If you want to make it as an actor, you’ll need to get the parts. So the first step on the road to fame is impressing the casting director.


  • Step 1: Gather materials Whether you’re submitting for a role or just want to get noticed, it’s important to have strong marketing materials, like a persuasive cover letter, a detailed resume, a realistic headshot, and, hopefully, a reel that shows your acting chops.
  • TIP: Set yourself apart from the crowd by having custom stationery made—or make it yourself.
  • Step 2: Assemble a packet Assemble a packet to send to the casting director’s office. If applying for a role, explain why you’d be perfect for the part. Include any good reviews or press clips as well.
  • Step 3: Follow up Follow up after sending your packet. If you’re granted an audition, tell them you’ll be there. If you submitted your materials cold, send a postcard that’s a mini headshot a week later. Be polite, friendly, and professional—and never hound them!
  • TIP: If you’re hoping to meet the casting director without an audition, drop off your materials in person. At the very least, you might get in good with her assistant.
  • Step 4: Volunteer Volunteer to be a reader. Some casting directors use volunteers to read lines opposite the auditioning actor. Even though you’re not up for the part, it’s a great way to get seen.
  • Step 5: Practice on camera If you’ll be auditioning on camera, know how you appear on film. Borrow or rent a video camera and have a friend tape your performance. Practice appearing comfortable and natural.
  • Step 6: Know where to look Know where to look. Usually it’s not wise to perform exclusively for the casting director running the audition. Conversely, don’t just fixate on the person reading with you. Let your eyes wander a natural amount. And never stare into the camera!
  • Step 7: Memorize the sides If you’re going to be auditioning and have received the sides beforehand, memorize them as best you can. This will allow you to concentrate on the work and show the casting director that you’re a professional.
  • Step 8: Be early Be at least 20 minutes early to any audition. You’ll notice that other actors are sometimes late. Not good—the director might assume you’re always late and decide to go with someone who isn’t.
  • Step 9: No dumb questions If you have any smart, useful questions to ask about the role or what they want from you, go ahead and ask. But don’t ask questions just for the sake of it—you’ll look unprepared.
  • Step 10: Listen and react If someone is reading another character’s lines with you, remember to listen and react to them—even if they’re only doing it half-heartedly. Show you can work with another actor, no matter how invested they are.
  • Step 11: Take direction If the casting director asks you to try doing it a different way, do it. This is your chance to show you are flexible and can take direction.
  • TIP: Don’t end the scene yourself, even if you’re done with the dialogue. Stay in the moment until you’re told that it’s over.
  • Step 12: Don’t apologize Never apologize or in any other way comment on your work.
  • Step 13: Be professional An audition is not a schmooze-fest. Be polite and professional. Casting directors are busy people and if you waste their time they won’t remember you fondly.
  • Step 14: Be yourself Most importantly, be yourself. A casting director is casting your personality and charisma as much as they’re casting the specific character, so let yourself shine through. Happy auditioning!
  • FACT: The classic 1950 film Sunset Boulevard was controversial for casting former and current film legends, including Cecil B. DeMille and Buster Keaton, to play themselves.

You Will Need

  • A cover letter
  • A resume
  • A headshot
  • Your acting reel
  • Custom stationery
  • A mini headshot postcard
  • A video camera

Popular Categories