Type Casting. Love it or hate it, every casting director does it. You can try to fight it best you can and be the most versatile performer in the world, able to perform a huge variety of roles, each of them more different than the last, but I guarantee that many many times in your career, you will be "type cast". The question is: will you allow yourself to be a victim of it, or will you use it to your advantage? The other question is: What is my type, and how do I use it to my advantage? Let's start by figuring out a few things first.
What is a "Type?": Type Casting is essentially a method of categorizing performing artists based on a variety of factors. These factors include, but aren't limited to:
Physical Looks (Facial structure, hair color and style, build, height, etc.)
Movement (How do you hold yourself? How do you walk around? Do you walk with your head or your chest? do you slouch? Etc.)
Voice Tonality (Does your voice sound small, large, soft, hard, high pitched, low pitched, etc?)
There are a few factors to your type that can be changed and influenced, including your presentation style (Do you attack the words and command the scene like a Samuel L. Jackson? Or are you a Brooding and cunning Alan Rickman?), your physical movement (Do you shift your body into certain ways to fit a character? Would you slouch on purpose for an introverted character maybe?) and simple obvious things such as the way you dress (maybe you wear a suit or professional looking outfit if you are going for something more mature, or for the women if you wanted to play a more sensual character maybe you wear something to make you feel more sensual, etc.).
So how do you find out your own type? The best way is to ask people that don't necessarily know you very well. Ask professionals in particular. Your family and friends may not be the most honest with you, and because they personally know you, their perception is going to be different. Also, look at your resume itself. What is something each of these characters have in common, there are clues in there. Have you played a lot of similar roles? That is your type.
An actor that knows their type is going to be a step ahead of other actors. If you walk into the room and do something that isn't fitting right, the casting director may be distracted trying to imagine you as this completely different character. When a performer comes in and does something in their type, they will think "This actor is smart, they take advantage of their type and know what works for them. I want a smart actor like that in my cast."
Play to your type, and you will get more offers.
Break a leg!
When you are just starting out in the industry, finding auditions can be tough. Most people will say the best way to book an appointment or find auditions would be to join BackStage, or to have an agent. These memberships and services are great, and can be incredibly helpful, but if you are a starving artist with a tight budget, here are some FREE ways to learn about the next casting calls! Here are a few of them!
www.playbill.com - Has an awesome job search function. Doesn’t just have casting opportunities but other industry positions as well! Also includes a filter system, so you can search by location, union/non-union, paid/unpaid, internships, and more! You can find auditions for broadway calls and more here!
www.broadwayworld.com - Similar to Playbill, not quite as immersive and organized, but you can see the auditions listed by audition date, rather than the date it was posted on the site like on playbill, which I personally like.
At the audition studios! - Pearl, Ripley Grier, and Actors Equity also have casting call boards where you can look for more auditions! You can also make connections with other industry professionals by taking their classes and workshops they have available! Be sure next time you go to an audition there to scope out their casting board, you never know what useful information you find!
Facebook, Twitter, and More - There are plenty of public and private casting call groups on social media to help you find more opportunities. Much of it tends to be local, community, and amateur, but you shouldn’t turn down every opportunity to hone your craft if you find something that resonates with you as an artist.
Break a leg!
#breakaleg #audition #casting call
It is of utmost importance that actors are able to have a repertoire book with materials that suit them in order to succeed. If you want to have a book that is showing off your best, take a look at these Top Five Necessities, and compare it to your current book.
1. ORGANIZATION: No accompanist enjoys seeing a disheveled binder with songs in random places. Make sure your audition binder is organized in some fashion. There are many ways of doing this; sheet protectors for each page (matt preferred as glossy sheets can get stuck together more easily), ordering songs in alphabetical order by song title, using tags to separate each song, utilizing a song Index (Include sections for title order, by type, composer, etc.), and having your song cuts prepared (IN PENCIL, that way you can edit those cuts in the future if needed).
2. VARIETY: Make sure no two songs are the same. If you are going to have two Rogers and Hammerstein songs in your book, make sure they are contrasting in some way (Ballad to Uptempo, Dramatic to Comedic, etc.). Have a good amount of selections from many genres and types. Make sure you have a ballad, an uptempo, a character song. You want to also have a few pop and/or rock songs not from the musical theatre realm, as many auditions will ask this of you for shows like Jersey Boys, Mamma Mia, and even The Lion King.
3. Play to your STRENGTHS: Don’t pick any material that doesn’t show your best. If there is a song in your book that has a note you have trouble singing 90% of the time, find something else, or find a way to transpose it to a more comfortable note. More importantly though, figure out “What is my biggest strength as a performer?” Do you belt really good? Do you have a really clear falsetto? Are you a riffing extraordinaire? Do you have an killer rock growl? What is something you can do that most others cannot? Find material that sets you apart from the crowd.
4. Be DIFFERENT: Make sure you aren’t picking songs from the recent broadway hit or top 40 song that EVERYONE is doing. Watch out for those overdone audition songs. Try to find something unique and rare. It’s not easy, but it can be done. With a little research and perseverance you can find some great hidden gems. Try looking at songs from less often done shows or artists, or maybe songs that were cut from the original productions. Check out songbook compilations by artists. Listen to shows you’ve never seen/heard of. There is a lot of great material out there waiting to be found!
5. What do you LOVE to sing?: One of the most important factors here, do you have fun singing your material? Is it enjoyable for you? Think of who your absolute quintessential dream roles are. Who is your favorite singer you want to emulate? What is your favorite songs or bands or shows to listen to? These are really important questions to think about when picking material.
Break a Leg!