If you’re a freelance actor, you’re probably carefully monitoring Facebook pages and audition sites for audition notices. (You are doing that, right?? If not, you need to check out my post about how to use social media to get auditions.) You probably spend less time thinking about how you write an Audition Request Email – but did you know a terrible introductory email can work against you? If there are limited audition slots and your email is informal, rude or lazy, you might not even get offered an audition time. You could be ruining your chances before you even get out the door, just through lazy writing! So what can you do to strike the right tone and guarantee your chances of an audition?
Preferences will vary depending on who’s receiving your email, but there are a few obvious goods, bads and uglies. Here are a few things you can do to make sure you book that audition:
- Keep things formal. Err on the safe side and choose formal over informal every time. That means an intro like, ‘Good morning’ rather than ‘Hi’, and ‘regards’ rather than ‘cheers – and use your manners! Show respect – the casting agent, producer or director you are writing to has worked hard to get to the position they’re in, and chances are their reputation, and possibly their money, is at stake on this production. Using formal language shows respect for their time, position and money. Showing respect in an email shows that you will respect them in the rehearsal room or on set, which is essential to a good working environment and a successful production. Then follow it up with nice manners in your audition, and you’re a shoo-in (because of course you’re amazing, punctual, and know all your lines as well).
- Avoid familiarity. If you’re not sure how to write formally, just remember: Don’t write to someone you don’t know in the same way you would write (or speak) to your best bud from high school! Things like ‘just the other day I was talking about that play’ or ‘I just went and saw the last film so and so did’ are not appropriate for an introductory email. They don’t want to know the gory details of your life, even if they are vaguely related to the industry! It’s great that you have this interest and enthusiasm, but your first contact is not the right place for it. It’s a bit like giving someone you’ve just met a big hug – some will appreciate it, but a lot won’t. A lot will probably think you’re a bit crazy. Or worse, disrespectful. Best to wait until you know them better.
- Do your research. You should NEVER ask a director or producer what they’ve previously worked on. Don’t be lazy – go and find out! Aside from possibly offending the person you’re addressing by treating them like a newb, questions like that that you’re unaware of what’s going on in your own industry, which is generally not the sort of person people want to hire. If you can’t find out on the internet, try asking friends and colleagues before you ask someone directly. This will also ensure you know whether this company or person is worth working with – asking around helps you dodge the bullet of a crappy production or skeezy director.
- Triple check the audition notice. Possibly the worst of the audition email sins – and a lot of people are guilty of it – asking questions already listed on the audition notice! The most common one is ‘where is the audition being held’ but also ‘when is the season/shoot dates’, and also, ‘what do I need to prepare?’. Chances are these are all answered in the audition notice. Don’t make a very busy person spend their precious time rewriting information that is already available to you. (This goes for interactions with agents too, by the way.) If you’re not familiar with the audition location, hit up Google maps first before asking them to write you directions and draw you diagrams. Check and double check the information you’ve been given before you ask anything and you’ll avoid pissing off the admin team (who, by the way, will dob on you and potentially cost you a gig).
- Above all, keep it simple. There’s no need for an essay in this situation. You may want to write a few lines about relevant experience, but a simple one or two lines will usually suffice. Remember, you don’t need to prove anything, so no need to rant about how great you are or list every production you’ve been in. If they want your resume, they’ll ask (or maybe bring a spare one just in case). So take a deep breath, write with some confidence, and maybe even wait a day before you press send. If in doubt, keep it simple. Much better that the receiver thinks you’re a bit too serious rather than an insane person.
And no emoji. 😉
Next step is to make sure your CV and headshot are up to scratch, which you can find more info about on my other blogs, like this one.