Casting Calls: Everything a Model Needs to Know

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Shoes of people doing a line in a casting for a catwalk - Barcelona

Casting calls are basically a modelling audition. Also known as go-sees, it is when a model goes to see a brand or agency in person. Auditions attended by actors for tv shows and films are also known as casting calls.

If a model does well at a casting call, they could walk away with a modelling job – so making a good first impression is vital.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about casting calls.

How to Find Casting Calls

In the UK, you usually get invited to a casting call by a brand or agency. To get invited by an agency, you need to apply to lots of different modelling agencies in the hopes they will like your like and invite you in to their head offices. Then it will be decided whether you are the right fit for them. 

Once you are signed, you won’t automatically get work; you will be invited to casting calls by brands and will need to attend these to secure work.

Open Casting Calls 

Sometimes, there are something called ‘open casting calls/auditions’. These allow aspiring models to turn up and see whether they have what it takes for a career in modelling. This is a great way for new talent to be discovered, but it relies heavily on luck – hundreds if not thousands of people usually attend and it’s difficult to stand out from the crowd. Open casting calls happen for anything requiring a cast including short films, commercials, feature films, TV auditions and, of course, modelling. It’s your responsibility to research what casting calls are applicable to your chosen field of work.

Open casting calls can usually be found advertised in the newspaper and online. To find them, follow your favourite brands and modelling agencies on social media (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) – they will post a casting notice when there is an open casting call. Be sure to read these thoroughly as they may be looking for a specific type of model, e.g. male models. 

If you are able to find an open casting call, they may require you to sign up first to ensure that they don’t get overrun with aspiring hopefuls. You may be given a time slot, but usually they will just ask you to turn up in the morning and you will have to wait in line to be seen. You will be given a form to fill out – it’s a good idea to bring your own pen as you’ll look prepared. 

They may ask to see you in a small group, or individually. You won’t get long to make a good impression, so it’s important you speak up and allow yourself to stand out from the other potentials. 

You will most likely have to sit around waiting for a long time. Bring water, snacks and something to keep you occupied. 

You may find out there and then if they are interested in you. Don’t fret if you don’t hear back; open casting calls are a long shot, and hundreds of people will be turned away. Don’t rely on open casting calls to find modelling work – there are too few and far between. Get applying to agencies online to boost your chances of success. 

What Happens at a Casting Call?

A casting call can feel daunting, but don’t let your nerves run away from you. A casting call is ran by a casting director – either a member of staff from an agency, or a manager of a brand campaign. 

You will be told the time, date and location of the casting call in advance. Make sure you know exactly where you are going and give yourself plenty of time to arrive in good time. Arriving late sets a very bad precedent and you don’t want to start off on the wrong foot. 

If you are given a brief beforehand, make sure you read it thoroughly as it may ask you to bring or do certain things for the casting call. This could include bringing a pair of heels or nude underwear if they want you to try on clothing, or it could be something more random like asking you to not shave your legs. Make sure you follow each detail written out on the brief.

You will know the rough time they will want to see you. Always arrive 10 minutes early just to be on the safe side. You will be asked to wait, and will likely have to fill out a form with your modelling information (name, address, clothing size, measurements, height, shoe size etc.) Fill this out accurately.

You will be invited into a room with several people present. Each agency/brand will do things slightly differently, but mostly they will be interested in having a chat and getting to know you a bit more. You may be asked to show off your walk, or you may be asked to put your hair up so they can see your face structure. Remember why you are there – they want a model who is polite, professional and efficient. Do whatever you can to show you are the best person for the job. 

You will also need to bring your modelling portfolio with you so they can look at your previous modelling experience and get a feel for your modelling style and range. 

Preparing for a Casting Call

Always research the agency/brand beforehand so you know what they’re looking for in a model. Most casting calls take place in head offices which tend to be in major cities like London and Manchester. 

Make sure you are 100% clear on where and when the audition is taking place. If you’re uncertain of the route, it’s a good idea to check maps ahead of time so you feel more familiar with where you are going. 

Pack a small bag with essentials – your phone, phone charger, purse, modelling brief (if sent one), snacks (a banana, yogurt or protein bar will keep you fill without bloating you), water, nude underwear (handy if you are asked to try on clothing; if you are asked to try on a swimsuit, having your own nude thong to wear underneath is ideal for hygiene purposes as it is unlikely garments of this sort will be washed between uses), heels and a book or music to keep you occupied.

Make sure your hair is clean and you have chosen your casting call outfit in advance – you don’t want to be rushing around in a fluster the day of the audition. Choose something flattering but understated – you don’t want to distract from your natural beauty. 

Have a think about the best make-up to suit your features. Don’t spend too long styling your hair – either have it down, or up in a neat ponytail or bun. It’s likely you will be asked to put your hair up/down so they can see it, so avoid elaborate and timely up-dos. 

Failing a Casting Call

There is no such thing as “failing” a casting call. Brands and agencies are looking for a certain look/style – if you don’t fit it, that doesn’t mean you won’t be ideal for another brand or agency. Trends are always changing and you never know when your unique look might pique the interest of someone. 

And remember, it is an incredibly competitive industry – you are fighting against hundreds of other hopefuls. No model in history has ever got every single job they have auditioned for. You can apply to as many agencies as you want, and you can re-apply to the same agencies after a couple of months. Don’t give up!

Boosting Your Chances of Success

There are several things you can do to give yourself a better chance of success:

– Research agencies you apply to. Do they hire other models who look similar to you? This is a good sign as they will likely love your look. Do they have a model on their books who is the spitting image of you? They may turn you away.

– Ensure you know which niche of modelling you want to get into. Plus-size, fitness, lingerie, high-fashion, commercial… there are many types out there and knowing which one you want to enter into will make applying to agencies easier. 

– Work on your modelling portfolio. A professional modelling portfolio is your modelling resume; a good one will help you stand out from the crowd and prove why you’re the right person for the job. Include only your absolute best photos and work to constantly improve it, swapping out old photos and replacing them as you get more experience.

Are you interested in becoming a model? Register with us today – you don’t need any previous experience!

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