How to Text with a Casting Director

APRIL 8, 2019
A Background Actor learning how to text with a Casting Director

Maybe you’ve just gotten home from set or just left a Re-Registration and Updates session when you pick up your phone and see a message from a Central Casting. Learning to text with a Casting Director is a valuable skill to get booked.

There’s a lot to know about texting, from understanding how to reply to what it means to be on first avail. To help guide you through every step of the process, we’re going to discuss some of the most common texts you’re likely to receive. Just remember, our Casting Directors have the ability to send custom messages to Background Actors, so you may receive a variety of messages.

Checking your availability

When booking their shows, Casting Directors may reach out via text message to check your availability for a future work date. One of the most important things to remember about availability texts is that they are not offers or guarantees of work, the Casting Director is simply asking if you are available to work that day. Here’s an example of an availability message:

“Summer from Central Casting asks: Are you available to work on The Rookie, without time restrictions, on Monday (04/08/2019) in Los Angeles? Role: Detective. Please only reply YES or NO ** We are only checking availability **”

Availability texts will include the name of the Casting Director, name of the project, the date, and location. Notice the phrase “without time restrictions?” This means that you are free to work the entire day on that date with no possible conflicts.

Since Casting Directors are only checking your availability with these messages, you can (and should) reply to every availability text you receive. If your availability changes, you can change your response by texting “yes” or “no” to the message thread. Don’t forget, you can only reply to the last text you received. If a Casting Director has sent a follow up message asking if you have the wardrobe required for a role, you can no longer reply to the initial availability question.

First avail

If you confirm your availability, Casting Directors may not be able to book you immediately. Often, it’s because they have sent your photos to production or are waiting on additional requirements. In these cases, you may be put on “first avail” before Casting Directors can officially book you.

If you are put on first avail but are offered a different job for the same day, please call the Casting Director you are on first avail for to let them know you have been offered other work. They may choose to hire you first.

Let’s say you respond yes to a text message, but find out a few hours later you’re no longer available. If you changed your response to “no,” but were put on first avail, you may receive this message:

“Meghan, Summer has you on First Avail on The Rookie for Monday (04/08/2019). Should your availability change, please contact them directly.”

In this case, you would call Summer to let her know your availability has changed. When you’re on first avail, please contact Casting Directors as soon as possible so they have the opportunity to let production know and can find additional people if needed.

We know it can be confusing what dates you’ve confirmed availability for and what roles you’re marked first avail. That’s why Casting Directors recommend keeping track of all the text messages you’ve responded to in a personal calendar or notebook so you don’t get double booked.

Details message

Once you’re booked, you may receive your details as a details text message. This message will include important information like your Call Time Change Box number and the show name and 4-digit passcode you will use to access your Details Blog. Here’s an example of a details text you may receive:

“You are booked by Summer to work Monday, 04/08/2019 on The Rookie. Here are your details: Category: Detective Call Time: 11:00 am C/T Change Box #: 888-888-8888 Details Blog: Showname: rookie Passcode: #### Please reply YES to confirm you received these details.”

Once you get your details text, please reply “yes” so the Casting Director knows you’ve seen it. It’s important to note that you can’t cancel via text message. If you must cancel, you will need to call your Central Casting office.

Whether you call or text with a Casting Director, communication is key! Keeping Casting Directors updated about your availability, especially if you’re on first avail, will help them book their shows and get you on set.

Want to know more ways you can get booked? Here are three things to know about getting cast and a helpful guide on how to read a Central Casting job post.

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By Meghan Dubitsky

Article Category:

Industry Essentials