How often do I keep in touch with you, and how? Often. Remember, it’s our job to meet new people as well as keep track of the talented people we already know. So, it’s not bothering either us if you keep in touch with us regularly. This does not mean dropping by to chat for a few minutes. That totally throws off our work flow and if everyone did that, we’d never get anything done.
Also, forget about calling a casting director. If you have to call our office, have your agent call. Agents and casting directors speak in a kind of shorthand. Calls on a casting director’s phone are to the point and as short as possible because there is never enough time in a day to make all the calls we need to. So, when an actor does call with a friendly leisurely conversation, it is often met with short, terse answers. We’re not trying to be rude or superior, it’s just the way we speak and what time dictates. If you don’t have an agent, and you have to call, it’s got to be quick and concise.
Not that anyone’s going to trace the call and blacklist you if it lasts longer than a few minutes. However, our being dismissive might make you feel unimportant and is bad for your psyche. Anyone who keeps a regular, professional marketing campaign going looks professional, which is what you want. It separates you from the masses of people who don’t think it’s worth their time.
Back to the subject at hand: It is your business to market yourself, and anyone worth their salt knows that. Repetition is the name of the game. Every casting office is different, but do what you feel works best for you. Generally a combination of the following is good. Most importantly, keep it professional and not personal.
Here are a few ways to keep in touch with busy casting directors.
1. Drop a postcard. We look at every postcard. There are so few of them that it’s not a problem at all. Write a very short note, put it in the mail, and let us know what you are doing. Keep the note professional and work related. It may go up on a wall or it may go into the trash, but we’ve seen it. It’s served its purpose; it got us to see you and think about you for a second. If you are right for something we’re doing right now, we’ll probably call you in. If not, it’s a reminder that you are out there.
Send one whenever you’re in something. (This should keep you motivated to constantly be in something interesting.) Getting a card from you every week could get annoying to some, and sending postcards are time consuming. You need to be focusing more of getting work than sending postcards. The reality is we go through our postcards/headshot mail only when we have time, so sometimes it sits for weeks before we see it. Headshots are OK to send—not our favorite and it much more expensive, but they do get seen eventually.
2. Emails. Emails are fine but take care not to bombard our inbox. We all know what it’s like to have to wade through tons of emails. Use them to let us know what you are up to, not for career advice. We try to respond to all the emails we can, but sometimes it’s crazy and things fall through the cracks.
3. Friend us on Facebook. This works well, that way when you post your new project on Facebook, we get to know about it as well. Not everyone wants to connect through Facebook, so keep that in mind. Twitter and Instagram also help round out the program.
Those are the most effective ways to keep in touch. It is your job to keep your face in front of the eyes of the industry. Don’t be shy or apologetic. Be professional.
The trick is to be doing something interesting, so you can have something interesting to say. The most important thing is that if you are driving to do interesting and exciting work, industry people will find you. If you are driving to making people laugh, people will find you. If you are driving to being discovered, well, who cares, besides you. Add something to the conversation. Contribute, raise the bar—as you would in a conversation—in this artistic community.
Think of it as a headline. In a line or two, what are you up to? So many people try to write the perfect cover letter, or a five-paragraph essay. That is just so not necessary. Think headlines, and you’ll be fine. Sometimes we will be able to see what you’re in, sometimes we won’t, but we will know that you are working, and that is the whole point.