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Friday, March 16, 2007

Open Casting Calls

One of the best ways to snag an agent is to attend an open casting call. What exactly is an open casting call, what happens there, what do you bring, what do you wear? Don't worry, I'm here to answer these questions so it doesn't become so nerve-wreaking if you decide to go to one.

What is a casting call?

Casting calls are certain times during the day when an agency opens its doors to anyone without having to make an appointment. This gives you the perfect opportunity to meet face-to-face with top agencies. The only catch is that you will be among the sea of other new faces hoping to attract the agent's attention.

What do you wear to a casting call?

The most important thing to do when it comes to clothes is to be yourself or sport your own personal style. But please be age appropriate. Do not dress overly sexy but don't undress, either. Ladies, the best thing you can do is throw on a pair of comfortable, fitted jeans, heels (always wear heels!) and a solid colored top (tank tops or fitted tee shirts are best). Wear clothes that flatter your figure and that you feel good wearing. Fellas, nice and comfortably jeans, clean shoes (type doesn't really matter as long as they are presentable) and a fitted t-shirt is best.

Below are some good examples of what is acceptable to wear to an agency casting call:

Hair? Makeup?

Wear your hair how you normally would. If you like it up, then put it up. If you love it down, wear it down. Make sure your hairstyle doesn't draw attention away from your face so keep your style simple. Also make sure that it is out of your face. Don't hide behind your hair. A low ponytail is a default hairstyle that works perfectly fine. Wear little to no makeup. Period.

Agencies don't care about you glammed up. They want to meet the real "you". Men don't have to worry as much about these two aspects as the women do but do make sure your hair is groomed and out of your face (if it's long).

What do you bring?

If you have a portfolio, then by all means, bring it with you. If you haven't done any photo shoots or don't have a portfolio, don't worry, this won't count against you. At minimum, bring a few snapshots of yourself. These don't have to be professional but they should be good quality and show your face straight on.

Write your name, stats and contact information on the back of each snapshots in case the agency asks to keep them (this means you'll more than likely have to make copies of your snapshots if you plan on going to more than one agency casting). No funny poses or pictures with other people. At the casting call, the agent may take a picture of you to put a name to a face for reference later.

Below are examples of snapshots to bring to agency casting calls:

What happens at a casting call?

Each agency has their own way of conducting their casting calls, but expect to be looked over head to toe by the agency's staff. They'll ask you questions about yourself, if you have any modeling experience, why you want to be a model, what makes you stand out, what your plans for the future are, etc. Be honest, be confident and be yourself.

They may also ask you to walk for them (as in a runway walk--if you don't know how, just do your best, they don't expect you to be a pro), so they can see how your body moves. They'll also tell you what you need to work on and what you can improve.

At the end, they'll get your personal stats and contact info, unless you're required to fill out a model information sheet beforehand with this info. If they're really interested they'll let you know...if not right then and there, in a few days.

Or they may tell you straight up that you aren't what they're looking for. There are times when they'll tell you to come back at a later date, which could be months or even a year or two from now. Don't take it personally. The good thing is that they want you to come back so don't question their reasons. Listen to their feedback and work on improving.

Casting calls can either be a madhouse with tons of model hopefuls or you might get lucky and catch them on a slow day when there may only be a few people. If there are a lot of people in attendance, the time spent with the agency staff could be quick. In general, the casting call process is supposed to be in and out. Should you get invited back for an interview at a later date and time, that is where you'll be able to be one-on-one with the agency and the meeting will be longer compared to the casting call.

Casting calls are your time to shine above the others there. Agents can always tell by body language who is comfortable being there and who is a nervous wreck. Believe in yourself and show them why you are worthy of being represented by them.


Anonymous said...

Hello, Dania.
I am going to go to a casting call next week and I wanted to wear short pants. I was just wondering if we have shave??
I don't shave because when you start shaving you have to shave continously... also there are things people say, if you shave, your hair gets thicker, etc... Are they true?

Thank you :D

Dania Denise said...

Hi, Anonymous! You'll find the answer to your questions in its own post, titled "Answering a Reader Question #679," which can be found on my other blog: "Modeling 101 - Answering Readers Questions."

Please visit this link: http://amodelsdiary-readerquestions.blogspot.com/ and you can view your post there. Thanks for reading!

muyiwa suru said...

Hi. I'm going for a casting call on Saturday. I haven't really modelled before and this is my first - I'm a very shy person so I'm a bit nervous. Is it okay for me to put on leggings and a not-so-fitted top? And another thing is o have short dreadlocks...Will that be a problem?

Dania Denise said...

Hi muyiwa suru!

It depends on whether the casting you're attending is actually an "open call" for a modeling agency or if you've been invited to an actual interview.

If you copy/paste the link below, it will give you more details about the difference between these two:


If you're going to a casting that's an open call for an agency, there won't be an interview portion. It's fairly fast in and out. They might ask you 1-2 basic questions but it won't be a formal version like they would have if you were scheduled for an actual interview.

I don't know if you've submitted snapshots already for this casting or if you'll be bringing snapshots with you but you should look the same as in the photos you submitted or plan on leaving with the agency. If short dreadlocks are how you wear your hair on a regular, every day basis then that is the style you should stick with.

Dreadlocks in general aren't very common in the mainstream categories of modeling but that doesn't mean you should completely change your hair right now. It's best to go as you are and see what feedback you get from the agency.

Leggings and a fitted blouse is best. They need to see your figure/shape and that is easier to accomplish by wearing a fitted blouse. Depending on what kind of agency you're going to, they might have you change into a swimsuit so even if you don't wear a fitted blouse you'd be able to show them your body shape with the swimsuit.

As long as the blouse you're planning on wearing isn't baggy, you should be fine.

If you're attending a casting for an actual modeling job then you can wear leggings and a blouse that isn't quite as fitted (still stay away from baggy clothes) and your short dreadlocks.

I hope that helps somewhat. I don't have many details about your situation so I tried to cover all the bases.

Best of luck with the casting!

Anonymous said...

Hey Dania!
I just wanted to quickly ask your opinion on online submissions to agencies? With school in the way, its really hard to go to open castings in person. Do you think they're as effective as in person meet and greets? (sending to both small and big agencies)

Dania Denise said...

Hi, Anonymous! You'll find the answer to your questions in its own post, titled "Answering a Reader Question #930," which can be found on my other blog: "Modeling 101 - Answering Readers Questions."

Please visit this link: http://amodelsdiary-readerquestions.blogspot.com/ and you can view your post there. Thanks for reading!