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Can there ever be a good reason not to get the part? I know that you’re probably thinking “No!” Trust me, that’s the wrong answer.

I know that many actors walk into my office with one thing in mind, and one thing only: Booking that role! That’s a nice goal, but anyone who has worked in casting more than a couple of years will tell you, that should not be the goal on that day. Your goal every time you walk into a casting office is to deliver a strong enough audition for us to call you again in the future. Do that enough times and you will work. A lot.

 

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Actors that understand the long-term aspect of auditioning tend to be the ones that book over and over. It’s about booking the room so that we call you in for years for many of our future projects. We don’t look at it the same way as actors. If you deliver consistently in the room and you are the right look, I want to use you in the best way possible. I do not want to waste my time reading you for a part you aren’t going to get.

There are actually several great reasons why you didn’t get the part.

If the part went to a name, it is one of the best reasons you were not cast. It means that they had the money for a name and that name accepted. Nothing was going to get you that part if the name said “yes.” We often have offers out to names while we are seeing other actors. We might cast the role while you are sitting in the waiting room. If this seems harsh then you are forgetting the cardinal rule of casting. The project always comes first. Over you, over me and maybe even over the producer.

Another good reason you might not have booked is because we decided after reading you that we were going to hold off until something better came along. What a compliment that is! I have done this so many times. I read an actor for a small role. I had never met them before. They blew me away. But since they didn’t get a callback for that small role they assume I hate them. Oh, so wrong.

This happens in television every day. We assume we have 100 episodes to cast and how we use each actor matters because anyone can say one line, but only a small percentage can handle a strong guest-star role. Add to this equation actors with very specific looks and it can be a true shortage if the show lasts long enough. We want to cast you however it best benefits the project.

And here’s maybe the most important reason an actor didn’t get the part and it’s a beauty. You simply weren’t right for the part. Sure, you may have fit the general, physical description in the breakdown, but so did a thousand other actors. It doesn’t do you any favors to cast you when you’re not right for the part. There’s nothing worse than the wrong actor in a role. How many times have you seen this in films and on television? It ruins the entire project.

I know you would all like nothing more than to book the role. But it’s important to remember that on any given day, it may not happen, and that actually may be for the best.


Mark Sikes began his casting career in 1992 for Academy Award-winning filmmaker Roger Corman. In the past 24 years, he has cast over 100 films as well as television series, commercials and web series. He has cast projects for top directors such as Tobe Hooper, Mark Jones and Luke Greenfield and many others. Domestically, he as cast films in Los Angeles as well as in Texas, Ohio, Massachusetts, Virginia and multiple projects in Colorado.

 

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