The Casting Director is commonly viewed from a skewed perspective. He/She most definitely wants to see the new face, even though the seasoned talent was greeted by name and with warm body language. The CD also wants you to succeed every time you’re in front of the camera. And although the CD doesn’t necessarily pick who the client books, he or she can have influence and the final say on whether your audition ever makes it to the client’s desk. If it isn’t evident, the relationship you develop with a CD is pivotal to your success.
Talent tend to chit chat in the casting office. Not surprisingly, they talk to other talent about what they have in common – the industry. What is surprising, however, is the lack of filter practiced when industry ears are all around. Talent frequently report things they have heard other talent do or say at auditions. Casting assistants always share with the CD what the talent mentioned in the waiting room. It gets around to agents, coaches, other CDs, producers, photographers, crew members . . . and the seemingly harmless statement that “Friday was a long day on set with ‘such-and-such’ director” becomes the talent having condemned the artistic direction of the one individual who could book them over and over again in the future. Another example is the talent talking on set about the casting that brought them to the booking they are working on. Misinformation (or accurate portrayals) get back to the CD and that talent will find themselves not welcome back in the casting office.
True, there will be times you wish things turned out differently than they did. And true, you can probably find the weak link that caused the frustration. But calling it out or putting in your two cents where it wasn’t requested is only going to burn bridges and create hard feelings. Keep your critique to yourself, or if necessary, express it only to your agent, who can help you better cope with the situation in the future.
You’ll never get a second chance to make a first impression. From where I sit, I frequently get to see talent make tremendous first impressions that follow them for years to come. Some of these first impressions are positive and some negative, but once made, the talent has set the stage for their opportunities henceforth. Sounds scary, but only the lazy or thoughtless talent should fear making a bad first impression. With the right guidance from your agent and preparation done on your part, you are guaranteed a positive first encounter every time.