A casting call (also known as an audition or go-see) is a chance for both aspiring and more experienced models to show their potential to agencies and brands. Casting calls also refer to auditions attended by aspiring actors for films and TV shows.
You have to get invited to most casting calls in the UK, though there are sometimes open auditions where anyone can attend so new talent can be discovered.
A model must know how to make an excellent first impression if they are to impress potential employees and get modelling work at a casting call. That makes the casting call one of the most important aspects of a model’s career.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about modelling casting calls.
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How to Get Invited to a Casting Call
First things first – to make a good first impression, first you need to get invited to a casting call. We already mentioned that there are occasionally open casting calls for people to attend, but these aren’t regularly scheduled and you will be contending against hundreds if not thousands of other hopefuls. Your best chances of success are to get yourself into a position where you can be invited.
To get invited to an agency casting call, you need to apply to lots of agencies that fit into your chosen niche of modelling. If an agency likes your look, you will be invited to a casting call where they can view you in-person and judge your modelling potential. You may be asked to show off your walk or try on clothing. You will learn there and then whether they’re interested in signing you on.
To get invited to a brand casting call, you will usually be invited via your agency. Some well-known models may be asked directly but usually, if a model is signed, all work (and all potential work) goes through the agency so that they can manage it.
Open Casting Calls
Open casting calls are there for anything that requires a cast, e.g. commercials, short films, feature films, TV auditions, campaigns, events and more. Make sure you’re looking at modelling auditions specifically – you don’t want to accidentally attend a casting call for a different job.
To find open casting calls, you can check newspapers and online news sites for your specific area. You should also follow your favourite modelling agencies on social media (in particular Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) as they will release a casting notice for open casting calls. Remember to read the details; they may be requesting specific people, such as just male models.
An open casting call will be a very busy and tiring event to attend, so be prepared for a lot of waiting around. Hundreds of aspiring models will turn up and you will have to work your hardest to stand out from them.
You will have to wait to be seen. You will be given a number and you must then wait until this number is called out. You will also be given a form to fill out (this will usually ask for your dress size, height, measurements, contact details and shoe size).
There may not be enough seating for everyone; some models may have to sit on the floor. It’s unlikely catering will be provided, so bring your own drinks and snacks as well as something to while you wait.
You may be asked to be seen individually, though it is far more likely you will be seen in a group. Don’t be scared of speaking up to help you stand out from the others, though don’t interrupt and allow others their turn.
For open casting calls, they will usually get back to you after if they’re interested in you. Don’t be disheartened if you don’t hear back; open casting calls turn away hundreds of people and it’s difficult to get noticed at one.
What to Expect at a Casting Call
A casting call will be ran by the casting director. For models, this person will either be a director at the modelling agency, or they will be running a campaign for a brand.
You will most likely be rang on the phone and invited to a casting call, though some agencies may prefer to e-mail. Make sure you know which one to expect so you can keep an eye out for them – the last thing you want to do is miss the invitation. You will be sent a brief by your agency following this, and this brief will contain all the information you need to attend the casting call.
You will be told where and when the casting call will take place. Make sure your schedule is flexible as most agencies and brands will not be able to re-arrange to suit your personal needs. Many models must make sacrifices to make their auditions, especially when first starting out. You must try to attend all casting calls you are invited to; to be invited is seen as an honour (remember, spaces are small and you will be taking the place of some very hopeful individuals). If you can’t make it regularly, you will be seen as unprofessional. They may even believe you are not serious about a career in modelling, and you will risk being overlooked in the future.
Be sure to arrive early and give yourself plenty of time for delays. Do everything in your power to avoid being late – it’s not a good first impression to make. Remember that a casting call is like an audition for actal work; if you are late to such an important event, directors may think you will be late to actual modelling jobs, which will cost brands time and money.
How to Prepare for Your Casting Call
You should research the place beforehand so you know how to get there. Give yourself plenty of time to get lost and for transport to potentially delay you. If you can, try to arrive early. Most casting calls take place in major cities like London or Manchester, so make sure you know their transportation (in London, for example, it helps to have an Oyster card so you can easily and quickly use the Underground).
You may have to wait a long time to be seen. Be patient – these people tend to be very busy and rushed. It’s a good idea to bring a book or something else to keep you occupied (and keep your nerves at bay).
Bring a bottle of water and some snacks, too. While most models tend to avoid eating a large meal before a casting call to avoid bloating and to keep their tummies flat for a fitting, you do need to eat something to give you energy. A yogurt, protein bar or banana will keep you fuelled until you can grab a proper bite to eat after the casting call.
Your name will then be called and you will be invited into a room with several people. You may be asked about your measurements and previous modelling experience. Don’t panic if you have yet to gain any experience – anything to do with modelling at all or being in front of a camera is relevant. Have a think beforehand about the types of things they may be interested to know about you. They will be judging your personality and work ethic, too, so make every effort to come across as hard-working and friendly.
Try not to let yourself be daunted by the experience. The worst thing that can happen is that you’re not a good fit for the company, and that happens often – so make peace with the idea of rejection and just do your best. Casting agents already know what they’re looking for, and it’s not your fault if you don’t fit their specific needs. Move onto your next casting call and keep trying until you’re accepted.
What to Wear to a Casting Call
Unless told specifically on your brief, there isn’t a set uniform for the majority of casting calls. That means its up to you what you wear. However, there are certain guidelines to follow to make the best first impression:
– Be understated. The brand/agency wants to see your natural beauty shine through. That means wearing clothing that isn’t too distracting, and wearing make-up that emphasizes and flatters the features rather than masking it. Hair should be clean and styled naturally – no fancy up-do’s. If in doubt, try researching what your favourite models wear on their down time.
– Wear nude underwear that fits you well. You may be asked to try on some clothing and nude underwear will help prevent unwanted visible lines. Women should also bring a nude thong with them to wear under certain clothing (for example, swimwear) for hygeine purposes.
– Women should bring their own heels in case the brand/agency wants to see your walk. If you don’t bring your own, they will likely supply you with some which are unlikely to fit and may be difficult or uncofortable to walk in. Play it safe and bring a pair you know you walk well in.
Dealing with Rejection
Naturally, you will feel pretty upset if you aren’t signed or chosen for an agency or brand modelling job. Unfortunately, that’s the nature of the modelling industry – rejection is a common and natural part of the business. Try not to take it personally. Remember, agencies and brands have specific ideas about who and what they’re after. You may not suit 10 agencies, but you only need to find the 1 that loves your look.
There are different reasons why an agency may not choose to sign you. They may be very full already, or they may have a model signed who looks very similar to you. Or you may not be the right look for them. That doesn’t mean you’re unattractive or that you aren’t suited for the modelling indusry. All agencies are different, as are all brands. They require lots of different types of models to match to their target audiences.
To give yourself more chance of success, thoroughly research the agencies and brands you are applying to. You will have more luck getting signed to an agency that works with models with your look. For example, if you want to be a plus-size model, make sure you’re applying to agencies that actually hire plus-size models – or you’re wasting everyones time.
It’s also important to have a strong, professional modelling portfolio. Your portfolio gives casting agents and brands an opportunity to see you in action – it is like a model’s resume. If you can impress both in-person and via your portfolio, your chances of getting signed are much higher. Include only your absolute best modelling photos in your portfolio (you can include up to 20) and make sure they are high-quality. If you don’t yet have any modelling photos or experience, you’ll need to book a professional photographer for a photo shoot. Not only will this give you important experience in front of the camera, but it will also give you the opportunity to walk away with your best shots for your portfolio.