Writing to Casting Directors is different to writing to Agents.
It is surprising how closely worded Agent letters are to Casting Directors in the UK.
Whilst there is no way of ensuring that your letters are read, there are a few things that you can do to increase your chances of not having your letter put directly in the bin.
Like with any professional letter, mentioned in our previous posts, work on the basis that you have just five seconds of attention before your letter is put in a pile, in the bin, or in a folder for sorting.
This seems quite unfair considering the amount of time and effort you’ve put into the content of your letter.
The question that we would recommend you asking yourselves is:
What would they like to see in your letter, if they were opening twenty five letters that morning?
Or more importantly, how can your letter stand out from the other twenty four?
This does not mean that gimmicks are a good idea. Bright pens, use of unecessary colour, shiny branding and tea bags/chewing gum – they’ve all been seen before and it doesn’t look particularly professional. If anything, it has completely the opposite effect.
Some people believe that handwriting is a good idea. I don’t see there’s anything wrong with this, as long as your handwriting is as clear and legible as it would be typed. In my view, typing a letter with a good personalised letterhead that represents your ‘brand’ (you are a business remember) is a safer option and in no way lessens your chances.
Have a reason for writing. This is really important and many people just write generic letters hoping that the letter lands in the right place at the right time. Make sure you are writing for a reason, perhaps they are casting a project you are right for, perhaps you have already made contact and you are changing your address, or you’re inviting them to a performance you’re appearing in, or inviting them to watch your new showreel/visit your website. All of these will give your letter a clear purpose and you will be able to get straight to the point.
Get straight to the point. You don’t need to introduce yourself. Presumably, your name appears at the top of the letter and your headshot is part of the header or it is enclosed with the letter – they can put a face to the name instantly and you don’t need a whole paragraph explaining who you are and where you’ve trained.
Be cautious with flattery. Everyone loves to be flattered, but be careful how you use this device. There is a difference between being appreciative of something you’ve seen that they’ve cast, than spending two paragraphs telling the professional how much you’d love to work with them – this can come across a little desperate and/or creepy.
The usual rules still apply, write in short sentences, keep it less than 200 words, be professional and use size 12pt in a recognisable font.
It’s a good idea to have a website that people can go to after reading your letter. If you don’t have a personal website already, it might be worth checking out our new guide, which takes you through the process step-by-step.
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Adam – Already Labelled