Distributing Your Breakdown: Casting

When deciding how to distribute your breakdown, you should consider the type of project you’re making. Short projects don’t need a national outreach and could be kept strictly local. However if you’re casting for a feature, you will probably want to spread the net a bit wider. Because of the internet, it’s much easier for less well-known directors to get on the radar of the big agents in New York or LA. There are many well-known websites that agents and actors frequent that you can post to. Some of the best are actorsaccess.com, breakdownservices.com, casingnetworks.com, mandy.com, and nowcasting.com

For smaller projects, you can keep it more local. If you’re only doing a festival short, there’s no need to have to weed through the thousands of submissions that may come from posting your breakdown on a national website. Check the internet for your area’s most reputable casting website (and just say no to Craigslist!). You can also use social networking sites to spread your breakdown to specific groups and lists.

In addition to the internet, flyers and press releases are also viable options. Places like theatre and film departments of colleges, bookstores and cafes are all good places to post flyers. Reduce the information needed on a flyer by putting your film’s website address on it and having the information there. No one is going to read a flyer with twenty paragraphs of 8-point font. You can also put out a press release in a local newspaper and send it to local news stations.

Finally, you can go through agents. Agents typically get around 10% of their actors’ pay, so if you can’t pay actors, don’t bother submitting anything to them as they’ll have little interest. However, if you have a decent budget, you can certainly submit to them. Agents are used to working with casting directors rather than directors, so if you do have the budget, consider hiring a casting director. At this point, your net will be cast so wide that it will be difficult to handle all the submissions alone, so a good casting director can be a lifesaver. Also, casting directors have relationships with agents and know the right people. An agent is more likely to return a phone call to a casting director than a director that they’ve never heard of.

If you decide to go it alone, you first need to find out how to get the names of the agents who represent the actors you’re interested in. IMDb Pro has this information, so a membership there may be worth the money. If not, you can call the national SAG offices to get the information. Make sure you review the agency’s procedures for submissions first, as they may vary from agency to agency.

Even if you don’t have a large budget, you still might be able to get an actor with an agent by going around the system. If an actor sees your breakdown, he or she can bypass the agent and self-submit. If you have someone in mind, do your best to get the script and breakdown to them. You never know what could happen.

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