Cinema Jam

Another week, another fantastic short-film event.

That was the case in August when we attended an NFTS short-film screening with Cinema Jam at the Hackney Attic. This was a special night for us, as it was our first evening as official sponsors of Cinema Jam’s members only “jam-sessions.”

It was great to be welcomed into the Cinema Jam community by Jared and his fantastic team who really made us feel at home and part of the family. We enjoyed talking to people from all sides of the industry, be they actors, filmmakers or technicians  – and not just about Casting Networks but also the interesting films we saw on the evening.read more

Knowing Your Type

girl in mirror
Take a look in the mirror. Pop into the bathroom now and have a good, long look. What do you see? Whatever you do see, I can guarantee that it’s probably not what other people see when they look at you. And knowing what people see when they look at you is knowing your casting.

It’s much easier if you have an agent. They are the person that sells you. So, to a great extent, what you see yourself as doesn’t really come into the equation. Actors are not always the best people to suggest themselves for work. If you’re out of work, then of course, quite naturally, your idea of what you can do widens. In days of yore when casting submissions were sent in a matte brown ten by eight envelope to the director’s address, inappropriate submissions were less of an issue. I have had submissions as a director, where having asked for “a 6’2” blonde man, physically able to lift people, with a good sense of comedy,” I have heard from lots of 5’6” brunette guys saying “I’m not sure about the lifting, but I know I can play the part.” Hope is a great part of every actor’s life, but knowing what one is suitable for is another.

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5 Questions with Casting Director Amanda Tabak

Amanda Tabak founded Candid Casting in 1993 and has creatively developed the company to be one of the UK’s leading full casting service, working across Film, Television, Commercials, and Music Videos. Devoted to discovering new and exciting talent, many of whom have gone on to achieve global success, Amanda has also cast and worked with leading household names.

How can an actor get your attention?

 Actors often email me on spec and I have to say that I always just pop them in a folder in my inbox and that is that.  Unless I am doing something that they could be right for, I think it is very difficult to meet people other than for jobs that I am casting because of time constraints. The best way is to invite us to watch a really good show that you are in so we can see you in action

What are your thoughts on headshots and how do you go about selecting talent? (black & white vs. colour, how many is too many, full body images good? is experience essential? etc.)

These days, it seems to be less important whether headshots are black & white or colour.  Being brought up on black & white, I still like that, but more and more actors are following the US style by having colour headshots.  It is good to see someone from a couple of angles and it can be nice to see a full-length shot or 3/4, although, personally, I don’t like to see shots of actors in costume on stage.  

 If I don’t know an actor, then I will usually look at their picture first before their CV and so having a great picture helps as well as an exciting CV with good credits.  It is much better to put a few really good credits on a CV rather than lots and lots of mediocre ones.  If actors have a showreel and I don’t know them, I will take a peek to ascertain their suitability for the role I am casting. However if the showreel is VHS quality or really old then it is completely pointless.

What makes for a good audition in your opinion? (what do you like actors to do or be like when they come in to audition for you?)

Being super well prepared for a casting and having the ability to listen to instructions in the room makes me want to bring an actor  back in again for future castings.  In addition to this, being polite and interested is important.  It is surprising how some actors leave their manners behind due to nerves. It really is just common sense for actors to be well prepared, polite, professional and to look alert and keep their focus in the room as well as being open to trying a role in a different way than the way that they might have prepared. 

Do you only work with agents or do you accept submissions from talent without representation as well?

This depends on the role entirely.  I often work with agents only but sometimes open it up to talent without representation.  

What’s the worst thing an actor could do when auditioning for you? 

There isn’t one specific thing,  it is usually a combination of a few things such as, not having read the script, asking a lot of irrelevant questions which is usually due to nerves or not listening in the first place.  It really does surprise me how an actor can have a set of prepared questions but once they start their audition it seems that the answers to their questions have had zero effect and wasted everyones time.

Then having been told everything,  just not holding their focus and doing the audition nothing like the way they have been directed.  Not learning lines because an actor only received the script the night before is a classic negative as well as just tipping up looking half asleep and then in the waiting room not preparing, being rude to casting staff, telling everyone how bad their agent is and letting everyone know indirectly that they don’t really want to be there.  This sounds absurd I know but there are a few people that turn up like that every year and needless to say they don’t return a second time.