Lessons from a top Casting Director | Ken Lazer
Admittedly, the casting process is quite complicated, especially for people who are new to the industry as a whole. It could be overwhelming trying to figure out who is who and who does what. The list of crew members that are involved in the development process of a good movie is almost endless. However, you are not alone in this journey. There are casting directors from around the world who aim to make the casting process as seamless as possible. One of these casting directors being the NYC casting director, Ken Lazer. Having noticed the challenges that aspiring actors and actresses face in their attempts to make it in the industry, he has decided to share insights on the best ways to go about it. With over 28 years of experience in the industry,you should pay close attention to everything Ken Lazer had to say if you really do want to land a role in a film or movie. Below, you find the lessons from the top-level NYC casting director.
Quit the Blame Game
If you’re one who would rather blame the agent for your lack of auditions. Ken has something to say to you: Stop it. This has become a common trend that has to be addressed, he believes. It’s always best for the actor to take control – it’s your career, own it. Consider the factors that influence the growth of your career. Ask yourself what steps you’ve taken that makes you more interesting to casting directors. Ask yourself what has changed since the last time you had an audition. Ask yourself if you’re moving at the same pace of the industry. If you discover that you aren’t, don’t wait for your agent to spoon-feed with information, do something about it yourself. Here are some of the things you could do to up your chances:
- Keep your headshots updated
Ensure that your image is as modern as you can keep it. Irrespective of the brilliance of your current headshot, best believe that it can always be better. Once a casting director sees an impressive headshot on your profile, you have gained attention and passed the first step.
- Record new self-tapes
Make new clips that your agent can use as ammunition to get your image out there. You have to be in the open world as frequently as possible and one of the most effective ways to do this is by having self-tapes that move around, be it through social media or any medium of choice.
- Update your casting profiles
In addition to having recent headshots and self-clips, you’ll want to ensure that your overall profile is updated with the newest credits to your name. Every new qualification plays a role in making your profile more credible, so why keep them out?
- Communicate with your agent and research the productions in your desired location
You’ll want your agent to be kept in the loop, especially if you could have a new lead on a production sometime soon. Your agent then does what good agents do best – take your lead that extra mile.
But how would you find a lead?
A lead is any information that gives you a better insight than the average person would know. It gives you an advantage, which is especially required in this competitive space. The best way to do this is to carry out researches yourself. You can use social media to know what productions are in the talks and in the works. You could also go on over and ask locals who live in production-prone areas for information. Once you have these information, share them with your agent.
- Make your own productions
There isn’t a single linear approach to being successful in the industry. Rather than seeking productions elsewhere, you could decide to make yours. In making yours, you’ll be working with other actors, directors, and casting directors anyways. So why not?
Keep it simple
In your quest for a break in the industry, don’t go overboard. Don’t feel the need to do a lot, or you’ll end up doing too much. Keep your headshots and reels interesting but simple. It most times isn’t the specific details that casting directors are on the lookout for; it often is more of a general appeal on the screen to the eyes of the public. Focus on portraying why people will want to see you over and over and how well you can assume a role, without making it uncomfortably obvious that you’re trying to win a competition with other aspiring actors. Our NYC casting director gave the following highlights:
- 2-3 headshots is enough on your profile
An album of headshots doesn’t give you an edge over people who have 2-3. If anything, it makes it quite confusing to create a personality of you. Pick the best headshots that you believe portray the image you’re trying to express and stick to them.
- 3-minute reels are enough
It’s best to capture the attention of whoever is paying attention as quickly as possible. You must impress a casting director in the first 3 minutes of your reals. If you can’t do it in that time, it’s easy to believe that the later parts of the reel will be just as unimpressive, if not less. So just keep it brief and save everyone’s time, including yours.
- Don’t congest your profile
For instance, you don’t need to list about 100 accents to prove your level of qualification. Again, just keep it simple. Puck the most relevant ones and add them to your profile. That’s more than enough for any casting director to at least decide on whether or not you should be considered.
There you have it! The words of advice from the industry veteran. Soon, your efforts will pay off and you’ll finally have your break. To increase your chances, ensure that you learn from as many people as you can. With that said, remember to avoid information overload and you’ll be just fine.