Why did SHE get chosen over ME?

I get asked this question a lot – what do you look for when casting someone for a show?

It’s usually a combination of many factors, but here’re 3 main things that matter.

1. Professionalism

This is undoubtedly the #1 most important thing – you can be the most talented and beautiful person but if you’re unprofessional, you won’t go far.

For example, if you show up late or change your audition timeslot more than once without a reasonable and believable reason, there’s a good chance you won’t get a callback.

Being professional during the audition tells us you’re going to be professional over a long-term commitment (e.g. a show). Nobody likes to work with difficult, flaky, unreliable divas.

Some of the best excuses I’ve heard for being late to auditions are:

“So sorry I thought today was tomorrow.”

“Phone died and so I lost track of time.”

“I couldn’t leave the house because this morning my mother left the house without her keys…went to market…didn’t bring phone…neighbour recently got robbed…etc etc etc.”

(For a TV show looking for bikini models) “I haven’t found the right bikini yet.”


2. Personality

It’s a given that looks matter if you want to be on screen, so I won’t even state the obvious. Fact is that it’s a shallow world we live in and most people like to watch good-looking (or at least pleasant-looking) people on screen. But apart from looking decent, you need to have personality.

If you look good but you’re boring, you probably won’t get chosen either. Your looks will only interest viewers for the first minute but if you don’t have any substance/personality to back it up, people will click out.

Personality can be any (or a combination) of the following: funny, bitchy, quirky, opinionated, candid, animated, unusual, but most importantly – comfortable being yourself and being real on camera.

Casting people use the term “X Factor” all the time. To me, it means you have that ability to stand out from the crowd, and then keep people captivated.


3. Suitability

This is based on the role we’re casting for. You may be all of the above, but if you somehow don’t fit the role, you won’t get a callback.

E.g. We’re looking for a host for a beauty show and you’ve got #1 and #2, BUT…you’re a guy. Or we need a host for a heartland budget shopping show and you’ve got #1 and #2, BUT…you’re American.

Not that those are impossible options but they’re just not ideal options. You may however get a callback for another show in the future if the role suits you better.

Here’s a video we did on how to ace an audition. I happen to think it’s pretty funny but that could be because I wrote it and I’m deliberately biased.