Basics of the Breakdown: How to Attract Actors


The “breakdown” is the common industry term for the casting announcement. It is the first impression that actors will get of you and your film, so it’s important that it’s thorough and grammatically correct. If you don’t pay attention to details in your breakdown, actors can only assume that you’ll do the same during filming, and they’ll be more reluctant to take part.

The following are the key elements for a good casting announcement:

Title

It’s perfectly okay to follow your title with “(Working Title)” if it’s not set in stone. If you’re still unsure, “Untitled” is also fine.

Producer

Write the name of the person responsible for the project.

Director

This is where your name goes. Include any awards you’ve won or festivals you’ve participated in. Actors will want to check you out too, so include links to a website of your reel.

Description

Here is where you should put the genre, log line, a short synopsis, anticipated rating, union affiliation, and anticipated nudity, if necessary.

Format

Many actors are more excited to work with film, since budgets are usually bigger and thus quality is higher. Mention if you’re working with film, digital, or media. Be as specific as possible. Include the names of the cameras.

Roles

Include all the roles you are casting for here. Try to keep it brief but still include all important information: name (always written in ALL CAPITALS), age, ethnicity, and a short description of their characteristics. If nudity is needed for the role, mention it explicitly here. It’s also important to mention how many days on-set will be needed for each character, as actors might be working on other projects simultaneously. If they don’t have the time for a leading role but are interested in the project, they might decide to audition for a smaller role.

Crew

If you’re still looking for certain crew members, you can mention it here.

Procedures for Submission

Here is where you put information about how actors should submit their headshots and resumes. If you want them emailed, include the email address, or if you want them to call and make an interview, outline when and who they should call. Include information about where and when the casting is and details about what is required at casting (such as a monologue of a specific time length). Lastly, include the deadline for submissions. Two weeks is a common length of time for submissions.

Pay and Perks

List the type of SAG budget you are working under, and include any additional perks available, such as transportation costs, food, etc.

Shoot Dates

Try to be as specific as possible if you can. If not, make your best approximation. Actors may be working on projects simultaneously.

Additional Details

Anything worthy of mentioning that isn’t covered above should be put here. Information about locations (perhaps the actors need a passport), long periods of time needed for hair and makeup, or mentions of any notable team members should be included in this section.


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