5 Tips for Responding to Messages from Central Casting

JANUARY 9, 2023
Man responding to messages on a cell phone.

As we kick off 2023, now is a great time to refresh yourself on responding to availability inquiries, first avail messages, and other messages from Central Casting. Here are the top five tips from our Casting Directors to help you get booked and on set.

1. Know the difference between first avail and availability inquiries

Usually, the first message you receive from a Casting Director is an availability inquiry. These messages are not offers or guarantees of work, we are only asking if you are available and interested in working on a certain date or date range. After confirming your availability, you may receive a first avail message. This means that the Casting Director cannot book you right away, often because they are waiting on additional requirements from production.

If you confirm first avail, you may then receive a booking offer, details, and other messages from Central Casting. Remember, it's your responsibility to not become double booked, so if you find yourself on first avail or booked on multiple projects for the same day, call Central Casting as soon as possible to let us know. You cannot cancel or change your availability by responding to the message.

2. Read messages fully and carefully

We know you're eager to get booked, but it's crucial to read all communications from Central Casting completely before responding. Availability inquiries contain important information about a role, like date(s), location, role requirements, and more. If you don't read the message completely, you may be responding available to roles you don't fit the requirements for.

3. Always respond as soon as possible

Casting Directors ask that you respond to availability inquiries and other messages as soon as possible, even if the answer is no. This gives them time to reach out to additional Background Actors if necessary and gather information from production so they can continue with the booking process. We understand that you may be on set or in another situation where you cannot respond right away, we just ask that you respond as soon as you can.

4. Be honest about your availability

A common question in Virtual Visiting is if it reflects poorly on Background Actors who respond unavailable to multiple availability inquiries. Rest assured, past responses have no impact on future messages you may receive. In fact, Casting Directors prefer that you respond as unavailable when you are unable to work or uninterested in a role. Not only does this let them know not to wait on your response, but shows them you're engaged and professional.

Please do not respond as available to dates you know you can't work. That said, we know your availability can change. While you cannot change your response by replying to the availability inquiry, you can call your Central Casting office to let the Casting Director know. Remember, if you are on first avail and your availability changes, you must call Central Casting as soon as possible.

5. Answer additional questions

Casting Directors can, and often will, include additional questions in availability inquiries, like asking about your vehicle details, if have specific wardrobe or props, if you can perform a special skill, and other important information related to the booking. These questions will appear after clicking the "respond" button in your message; please reply to all questions honestly. Keep in mind, if you're booked based off your responses to these questions, you will be expected to show up to set with the vehicle/wardrobe/props or be able to convincingly perform the special skill.

In some cases, like when booking Stand-Ins and doubles, Casting Directors may ask you to send in a Stand-In resume or a recent selfie so they can see what you look like right now. Be sure to follow the submission instructions in the message as Casting Directors need them to determine if you fit the requirements for the role.

Want more tips for finding work and getting booked by Central Casting? Check out our articles What to Know About Submitting for Roles and 5 Tips to Get Cast with Your Car.

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By Meghan Dubitsky

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