You've got the look. But do you know how to book? The job, that is. Any top model will tell you there's nothing better than booking a paid modeling job. But to get there, you must first get through the process of submitting, auditioning, and getting hired. Typically, this is done by attending an audition for models and talent, otherwise known as a casting call.
Casting calls (or castings) are similar to job interviews. At print or runway modeling casting calls the client and/or the photographer is usually present. Print castings typically are held in a studio, office, or other meeting space and involve a short interview and a quick look at each model's portfolio. Runway model castings are normally held in a space that allows each model to walk prior to being chosen for a fashion show.
Digital casting websites have made it easier for modeling agents to pre-qualify models for castings, and to directly book models for modeling work. Being pre-selected for casting calls with clients is a good way of shortening wait times at the audition and offering models better odds at booking jobs from the castings they attend. But just because you have been chosen to attend a casting call, that doesn't mean you will automatically book the job. First you must follow some basic guidelines to let the client know you mean business and you are qualified to get the booking.
From Los Angeles to New York, Miami to Chicago, and everywhere in between, there are subtle nuances that make attending casting calls in every city unique. Modeling in Los Angeles is in some ways very different than modeling in New York or Miami, But wherever you may roam, there are some basic rules that will always apply. Here are the best tips for models to follow when attending casting calls.
Tips for Attending Model Casting Calls
Ever hear the expression the early bird catches the worm? It holds true for models and actors, too. Most casting directors agree that in order to be noticed it helps to be seen either first or last in the talent pool. However, many casting offices will shut their doors to anyone who arrives after their scheduled appointment time. So it's better to be early than late. Give yourself plenty of time to get there.
The digital age has had a tremendous impact on the modeling industry. Unfortunately, it has also allowed for some over-manipulation of promotional photographs. That's why many casting directors have opted to video-record models auditioning for print and runway in order to get a sense of what they truly look like without photo enhancements. So, before you walk out the door, slap that makeup on and be prepared to be filmed at any casting.
Dress the part.
A very common question asked by models is: What do models wear to casting calls? For most print and runway castings, the client will not likely specify wardrobe for the casting call. But, if you know the type of part you will be playing in the final booking, it could be helpful to bring that role to life as best you can. When you get word of the audition, ask your agent if there is a certain wardrobe the client recommends, what part you are auditioning for, and then use your style and best judgment to choose a casting call outfit. Once you start going on casting calls regularly, it could be helpful to track which outfits snare you the most bookings and stock up on similar wardrobe items. And for the true newbies here’s a hint on where to start. Avoid busy patterns. And avoid wearing the colors white or black, unless instructed to do so. Bright solid colors that flatter your shape will look best on camera, if you are filmed or photographed at the audition.
While technology has improved the way we communicate in business, there are still those times when wires get crossed and things slip through the cracks. So, it never hurts to carry certain must-haves in your model bag when heading out to a casting. Extra composite cards and headshots to leave with clients are an absolute must! If you are a runway model, bring an extra pair of heels, even if you are going on a commercial casting. Bikini models should always have a two-piece tucked away in their bag just in case the client forgot to mention ‘bring a swimsuit’ in the casting notice. While you’re at it, toss in an extra bottle of water and a mini bag of snacks, too. Plan ahead for a long day of castings, and you just might get called up for more.
Most modeling auditions are detailed via email or text, allowing for casting info to be thoroughly covered and nothing left to chance. So before you get ready to head out to the casting call, review the details of where you are going and what the client has asked for, including what to wear and what to bring. If it's a runway modeling audition, bring a nice pair of heels for walking the runway. If it's a commercial casting, learn the role and any dialogue ahead of time. Once you are there, listen to what the director is asking of you and do your best to make it happen. Following directions will go a long way toward your reputation as a professional. And the ability to take direction is a huge plus!
If there's one thing that bugs casting directors most, it's talent who arrive at a casting call even though they're not available for the booking dates. Prior to going on any audition, check to be sure you are free to actually be there for the job. Don't go in there thinking the client will move the shoot date if they really want you. There are too many other factors and other people involved in organizing and planning a production. Locations, crew, equipment, and a whole array of other details have already been worked out to book that particular shoot time. If you're not available, it's okay to say no. There will be other jobs to book in the future that you definitely won't be able to get if the casting director feels you have wasted their time on this one.
Make an impression.
What's the best advice for attending a casting call? Be yourself and make a great impression. Treat every casting call as a job interview for your dream job. Be engaging, friendly, and confident. There could be only a handful of others auditioning for the same part, or there could be hundreds. Make the client remember you, in a good way. Be charming, be yourself, and be proud that you are there. You made it to the casting call, and nowadays that's more than half the battle. Prove to them that you can do the job, and end the day knowing you did your best and the decision is out of your hands. Then get ready for the next casting call. Follow these basic steps, and the auditions and bookings will keep coming.
Meet the Author
Hi, I'm Cherie Wimberly but friends call me Cher. I'm a professional model and fashion writer, best known for my published column as the National Modeling Examiner. Learn more about me here: Read My Story