So you’ve written your screenplay, assembled your crew, and are gearing up to begin the production process. There’s one big step that may seem unimportant, but it’s very important to be done right – your casting call poster.
Having the right actors will make or break your film, and if you’re an independent or student filmmaker, you’re probably going to have to put out a public casting call. Unfortunately, time and time again we see amateur filmmakers making the same mistakes with their posters. So, we put together this guide to make sure your casting poster is optimized to land you the best star you can find.
How To Make Great Casting Call Flyers
Rather than being mind-blowingly beautiful, it is most important that your Casting Call flyer is easy to read, and doesn’t raise any red flags.
Here’s some helpful tips that you can follow to ensure you’ll attract the right types of attention, and be taken seriously.
Get Your Font Game On Point
This means no Comic Sans, No Papyrus, and nothing difficult to read. Check out Google Fonts and choose no more than 2 or 3 fonts that are both easy to read and clean looking.
In addition to this, a mistake we see a lot of people making is stretching out the aspect ratio of their fonts while resizing them. This is one of the biggest sins you can commit in graphic design, and is an instant tell that you don’t exactly know what you’re doing.
To avoid this in Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, hold down the SHIFT key while resizing your font. This will keep it at the same ratio. The same advice applies if you’re using vector graphics or clip arts to decorate your poster. Here’s a visual example if you’re not sure what we’re talking around.
Include ALL The Important Information
The most essential tip of all is that you include all pertinent information, so that any questions that a prospective actor may have will be answered.
If you’re actors are not going to be paid, you need to inform them that it is an unpaid gig, but meals will be provided. If meals will not be provided, you should not be making a movie! If you don’t mention that it is an unpaid opportunity, they will likely be expecting to be compensated for their time.
Here’s a list of things that should be included in your casting call.
- Union / Non-Union?
- Title (Or Working Title) of Production
- Casting Location, Time, And Date
- E-mail / Website, along with instructions on how to schedule an appointment.
- Brief information about the production or a log line, so people know what they’re getting themselves into.
- Desired attributes of prospective actors (Age, Gender, Race, Important Physical Distinctions)
- If you already know you’re shooting dates, include them.
- Production Company Name (If Applicable)
- Director/Producer/Casting Director Names if anyone working on the project is notable.
- Description of characters sought. Name, Gender, Age, Ethnicity, along with a few important character traits.
There is a perfect sweet spot you’ll have to find when it comes to your log line and film information. Revealing nothing will inspire no interest, but including a giant wall of text and backstory will make your poster too difficult to read.
It is very important that you give an accurate description of your characters and their emotional problems. Inaccurate descriptions will lead to you having to sort through a bunch of actors that don’t fit your film.
Keep It Simple!
After getting all of the pertinent information right, your next priority should be using eye catching visuals, that, above all else, look professional. You could have a five year old scribble the poster together with crayon and still get some auditions, but if you want to grab the attention of a professional who will bring a lot to their role, you’ll need to seem as legitimate as possible. Our recommendation is to keep it simple.
Casting a World War II film? You might be considering decorating your poster with explosions, tanks, guns, and badges. However, by doing this you highly increase the risk that there will be way too much going on and people won’t even bother to read the contents. Instead, perhaps consider using camo-colors or era-appropriate fonts. Some clip-art won’t hurt, just try not to go overboard.
Casting Call Template
Here’s a template that you are welcome to edit to create your own casting call. Download it here!
As mentioned before, we recommend using Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator to make your casting call. This should be able to be edited in either program. If you don’t have either, feel free to imitate this PNG version in your graphical editor of choice.
Casting Call Examples
If you’re interested in stepping outside the lines of our template, here are a few of our favorite examples we found from our peers that you can use for inspiration when making your own.
Bonus: Where To Post Casting Calls
Now that you have a killer casting call poster, all you need to do is distribute it properly. Here are some great locations we suggest spreading your casting call around.
In The Real World (Crazy Right?)
The classic, most tiresome, but likely the most effective method. Local bulletin boards are a very popular avenue for posting casting calls, so long as you make sure to get permission before posting them.
We also suggest the bulletin boards at your local universities, especially film schools. These are typically well maintained, and are used regularly by other students making casting calls. You are sure to get some responses. Plus, if you’re low budget, film students are much more accustomed to not being compensated financially!
We’re not sponsored by any of these sites. These are just the ones we see our peers using.
You may not be aware of this, but casting websites are quickly revolutionizing how the casting process works. These websites allow you to post your casting calls next to those from major studios and networks, and hopefully pull from the same pool of actors!
The great thing about distributing your calls through these is that there is typically an infrastructure to receive auditions via video. When casting, it’s best to get a vibe for people in person, but video auditions can be a great way to weed through people who don’t fit the criteria you’re looking for.
Local Facebook Groups
Finally, Facebook groups are an often overlooked resource that can end up being one of your best sources for actors. Do a quick Facebook search for “your location” + “Actors group” or “Filmmakers”.
Just like real-life bulletin boards, it is important you check with the rules or administrators of each individual Facebook group to make sure your postings are welcome. We also highly suggest you remain active in these Facebook groups, rather than posting your ads and dashing. You can form meaningful relationships with the other users and make great friends to help you on your filmmaking journey.