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:
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.