I noticed a casting this weekend for a national commercial and I thought I fit the specs for a Dad role. The age range is 30’s to early 40’s, and the words fun, real, and attractive appear on the breakdown. I figured two out of three definitely apply to me yet I didn’t get invited to audition.
I’ve been in front of this particular casting director many times, although never for this particular client. It made me wonder why I didn’t get selected to audition as a fun-loving, hands-on type dad when that’s what I am in real life. I even asked one of my agents to submit my 8-year-old daughter for a role too. She doesn’t act professionally, but this felt like the right opportunity for the two of us.
I know this is an issue many working actors face. We feel like we fit a role but we don’t get asked to audition for it. It’s got me examining the whys, even as my Dallas agent plans to ask the casting director the same thing.
I started looking at my past work for any examples of playing a dad. One of them immediately came to mind. Several years ago I played a father of a young daughter in a commercial for Houston Garden Centers. More recently, I played a father with a teenage son in a PSA for Austin LifeGuard. Neither example shows me as a warm, loving dad and that’s when I realized I may not appear as a warm, loving dad to casting directors. My demo reel doesn’t show any memorable fatherly moments either.
My family and friends know what kind of father I am. I spend a lot of time with my daughter, especially for a divorced parent who doesn’t have primary custody. The challenge will be getting more casting directors to see it.
Actors have to connect the dots frequently for others to see what we want them to see. It’s the reason we shoot new headshots each year (or more often), continue training, learn new skills to add to our resumes, and anything else we do to enhance our value and expand our range. The image of ourselves that we’re projecting and selling is very much within our control and we need to remember to make good business decisions in regards to that image.
If there’s a role we want to play and we’re not getting asked to audition for it yet, it becomes our task to solve the problem. We conduct our own investigation by reviewing our marketing materials and getting a sense of what they say about us. We ask our agents, fellow actors and other industry contacts for candid feedback too.
As for me, I’ll continue exploring the potential obstacles to getting invited to more Dad auditions. I’ll be sure to share what I find here. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy more time with my daughter. We have a short film to start editing today.