How to Prepare for Casting Calls
Any top model will tell you there's nothing better than booking a paid modeling job. But to get there, you must first get through the process of submitting, auditioning, and getting hired. Typically, this is done by attending auditions for models and talent, otherwise known as casting calls.
Casting calls (or castings) are similar to job interviews. At a print or runway modeling casting call the client and/or the photographer is usually present. Print castings typically are held in a studio, office, or other meeting space and involve a short interview and a quick look at each model's portfolio. Runway castings are normally held in a space that allows each model to walk prior to being chosen for a fashion show.
Casting Call Tips for Models
From Los Angeles to New York, Miami to Chicago, and everywhere in between, there are subtle nuances that make attending casting calls in every city unique. Modeling in Los Angeles is in some ways very different than modeling in New York or Miami, But wherever you may roam, there are some basic rules that will always apply. Here are the best tips for models to follow when attending casting calls.
Ever hear the expression the early bird catches the worm? It holds true for models and actors, too. Most casting directors agree that in order to be noticed it helps to be seen either first or last in the talent pool. However, many casting offices will shut their doors to anyone who arrives after their scheduled appointment time. So it's better to be early than late. Give yourself plenty of time to get there.
The digital age has had a tremendous impact on the modeling industry. Unfortunately, it has also allowed for some over-manipulation of promotional photographs. That's why many casting directors have opted to video-record models auditioning for print and runway in order to get a sense of what they truly look like without photo enhancements. So, before you walk out the door, slap that makeup on and be prepared to be filmed at any casting.
Dress the part.
A very common question asked by models is: What do models wear to casting calls?
For most print and runway castings, the client will not likely specify wardrobe for the casting call. But, if you know the type of part you will be playing in the final booking, it could be helpful to bring that role to life as best you can. When you get word of the audition, ask your agent if there is a certain wardrobe the client recommends, what part you are auditioning for, and then use your style and best judgment to choose a casting call outfit. Once you start going on casting calls regularly, it could be helpful to track which outfits snare you the most bookings and stock up on similar wardrobe items. And for the true newbies here’s a hint on where to start. Avoid busy patterns. And avoid wearing the colors white or black, unless instructed to do so. Bright solid colors that flatter your shape will look best on camera, if you are filmed or photographed at the audition.
While technology has improved the way we communicate in business, there are still those times when wires get crossed and things slip through the cracks. So, it never hurts to carry certain must-haves in your model bag when heading out to a casting. Extra composite cards and headshots to leave with clients are an absolute must! If you are a runway model, bring an extra pair of heels, even if you are going on a commercial casting. Bikini models should always have a two-piece tucked away in their bag just in case the client forgot to mention ‘bring a swimsuit’ in the casting notice. While you’re at it, toss in an extra bottle of water and a mini bag of snacks, too. Plan ahead for a long day of castings, and you just might get called up for more.
Remember Your Common Sense Rules
Play it safe.
Even though most clients go through a screening process with modeling agencies, you should protect your personal information when attending a modeling casting call. Never EVER give out your home address or phone number. And never NEVER EVER give out your social security number at a casting call. This information should be kept safe and sound, used only by your agent when you start booking jobs. In fact, models are considered independent contractors. So before you start dishing out your digits, it’s a good idea to go ahead and apply for an EIN number. It only takes a few minutes online, and you can give that number out even to your agents instead of the real deal. When on castings or bookings, keep your agent's phone number and email address handy and be ready to provide it when anyone asks for your contact information.
See Related Article: Safety Tips for Models
Most modeling auditions are detailed via email or text, allowing for casting info to be thoroughly covered and nothing left to chance. So before you get ready to head out to the casting call, review the details of where you are going and what the client has asked for, including what to wear and what to bring. If it's a runway modeling audition, bring a nice pair of heels for walking the runway. If it's a commercial casting, learn the role and any dialogue ahead of time. Once you are there, listen to what the director is asking of you and do your best to make it happen. Following directions will go a long way toward your reputation as a professional. And the ability to take direction is a huge plus!
If there's one thing that bugs the heck out of casting directors, it's when talent show up at a casting call who are NOT available for the booking dates. Prior to going on any audition, check to be sure you are free to actually be there for the job. Don't go in thinking the client will 'move the shoot' if they really want you. There are too many other factors and other people involved in organizing and planning a production. Locations, crew, equipment, and a whole array of other details have already been worked out to book that particular shoot time. If you're not available, it's okay to say NO. There will be other jobs to book in the future that you definitely won't be able to get if the casting director feels you have wasted their time on this one.
Make an impression.
What's the best advice for attending a casting call? Be yourself and make a great impression. Treat every audition as a job interview for your dream job. Be engaging, friendly, and confident. There could be only a handful of others auditioning for the same part, or there could be hundreds. Make the client remember you, in a good way. Be charming, be yourself, and be proud you are there. You made it to the casting, and nowadays that's more than half the battle. Prove to them you can do the job, and end the day knowing you did your best and the decision is now out of your hands. Then get ready for the next casting appointment. Follow these basic steps, and the auditions and bookings will keep coming.
Safety Tips for Models
Whether you are new to modeling and pageants, or an experienced pro at casting calls and appearances, all models, pageant contestants and titleholders can benefit from practicing basic safety tips when making appearances both in public and online. For the purpose of this article, we are addressing models specifically but many of these tips can be helpful for pageant people as well.
Safety Tips for Pageants and Modeling
Park your vehicle in public places.
Model casting calls act as magnets for predators, and sometimes take place near industrial or potentially dangerous parts of town. Parking in alleyways or side streets should be avoided when attending events by yourself. When you are going to auditions in downtown or tourist areas of your town or city, you can also find valet parking just about anywhere if needed.
Be aware of your surroundings.
Just because a fashion shoot is taking place does not mean the participants are protected from the public. Photography equipment and personal belongings often get stolen when thieves disguised as onlookers catch models, stylists and photographers off guard. You should always be aware of what’s going on around you and trust your instincts to avoid dangerous situations.
Tell someone where you are going.
When you go out to attend a casting call, photo shoot, or any other type of meeting or booking, the details of where, when, and with whom should be provided to a trusted family member or friend in addition to your agent or manager. Even if you get a call in the middle of the day or when traveling from casting to casting, it’s easy to send a quick text or email from your phone to a friend of relative to let someone know where you are going and what time you expect to return home.
Bring a buddy.
Although it is not customary unless you're a minor, it is acceptable when traveling alone to a remote or distant location for an event, casting call or photo shoot to bring along a stylist, family member or friend. Please notify your agent ahead of time, and remind your guest to remain professional and do not interfere with the business at hand once you arrive at the booking. If a photographer or client is adamantly opposed to you bringing an escort, you may opt not to attend the shoot. It’s okay to say “no” when something doesn’t seem right to you.
There's nothing wrong with being safe.
Guard your personal information.
You should never give out your address, home or cell phone numbers to anyone. Instead, the safest route is to provide the contact name and number of an agent or manager. You may also choose to use a calling service or free virtual phone service like Google Voice, which can be easily forwarded to your personal cell phone.
Keep hold of your ID at all times.
A model’s identification, keys, and other personal belongings can be targeted in a waiting room, dressing room, or on the set. And when traveling abroad, even your own modeling agent could try to ‘hold’ your passport for safekeeping. You should NEVER leave identification unattended or in the hands of anyone, including your agent or manager, for any reason.
Safeguard computers and tablets.
There have been many headlines over the years of hackers accessing laptop computers and tablets with built-in cameras to invade the privacy of models and celebrities in compromising situations. One of these stories involved a former Miss Teen USA, Cassidy Wolf. Electronic devices, especially those with cameras, should be kept away from changing rooms and private areas of the home, and free of stored photo and video files that you would not want shared with the public. Always assume that if there is a camera lens that can see you, that camera can be hacked, turned on, and possibly become accessible to someone.
Act as though everyone is watching.
Whether you're on a sound stage, out on Hollywood Boulevard, or on the sands of Malibu, you will attract attention and people might try to sneak a peek, especially when it’s time to change your clothes. Practice mastering the art of changing your clothing without taking anything completely off. Wear clothes that can be pulled down over your shoulders and body, avoiding anything that must go over your head to be removed. Bring multiple layers, big button-up shirts, and a beach towel. You may also benefit from carrying a portable privacy tent, about the size of a folding reflector, for those times when extra concealment is needed.
Password protect electronic devices.
It is inevitable that at some point you will have to abandon your cell phone, tablet, or other electronic device somewhere off-camera while on the job. You really cannot expect to carry it in your pocket all the time. What if your outfit doesn’t have a pocket? And if you drag your device all over the stage or studio, you may leave it behind on the set, or even worse at a public location. For this reason, all access to electronic devices should be protected by a password, fingerprint or retina scan, so they can be kept in your model bag or the dressing room while you are working.
Use common sense.
In most cases, a little common sense goes a long way. Don't let anyone bully you or make you feel bad about practicing basic safety tips on the set or the job. Just because you are participating in pageants and modeling doesn't mean you have to leave your common sense at the door. Take care of yourself first and everything else will fall into place.
Are you interesting in opportunities beyond pageant competitions? These fresh Northwest casting calls for models and talent just posted. So get ready to take your pageant experience to the next level and apply for these model casting calls:
Seattle Models Wanted for Trail Photo Shoot
Steve Madera Photography is seeking female models age 20's - 30's for a photo shoot. Here are the details:
Experienced, strong runner with good running form, athletic build and comfortable in the outdoors and on a trail.
Required Media: Headshot/Photo
Rehearsal and Production Dates & Locations: Shoots in early June, 1-2 hours outside Seattle
Seeking female talent of all ethnicities from Seattle, WA
Compensation & Union Contract Details: Pays $400
Now casting a photo shoot for Silk & Stone Holistic Day Spa in Portland, Oregon.
Models (Female): Must have nice skin and hair
Required Media: Headshot/Photo
Rehearsal and Production Dates & Locations:
Dates & Locations:
Shoots June 16 or 17, at Silk & Stone Holistic Day Spa, in Portland
Seeking submissions from Portland, Oregon models of all ethnicities
Compensation & Contract Details: Pays a $50 salon/spa gift certificate
Female Brand Ambassadors | Nationwide Casting
The Anthem Group, an events and marketing agency, is seeking brand ambassadors for in-store events. Talent will be part of team for in-store retail demos for beverage client. Talent needed in cities across the US. Seeking personable, energetic, friendly and outgoing females. Demos will involve providing samples of beverage to in-store customers and talking about the brand.
Rehearsal and Production Dates & LocationsBoston, MA; San Jose and San Francisco, CA; New York, Baltimore, MD; Portland, OR; Washington DC; Virginia Beach, VA; Fresno, CA; Orlando, FL; Tampa, FL; Sterling Heights, MI; Voorhees, NJ; Niagara Falls, NY; Wooster, OH; Dallas & Fort Worth, TX; Orem, UT; Tacoma, WA
Compensation & Contract Details: $17/hour, 4-hour minimum guaranteed per demo. Jobs starting in May and continuing throughout 2019
Seeking female promotional models age 18-30, all ethnicities, from the following locations:
Boston, MA; San Jose, CA; San Francisco, CA; Portland, OR; Las Vegas, NV; Chicago, IL; Norfolk, VA; Wilmington, DE; Philadelphia, PA; Virginia Beach, VA; Washington, DC; Tacoma, WA; Arlington, VA; South Jordan, UT; Fort Worth, TX; Dallas, TX; Wooster, OH; Niagara Falls, NY; Sterling Heights, MI; Fresno, CA; Orlando, FL; Tampa, FL; Kissimmee, FL; Vancouver, WA; Milwaukie, OR; Newark, DE
To apply for any of these castings, please visit Backstage.com for details.
Backstage Modeling Auditions