Is the project a comedy or drama? TV Show or Feature Film? Union or Non-Union project? By knowing these terms, you’ll be able to pinpoint exactly what type of project you’re submitting to. Unknowingly, you’ll be able to determine the length of the project, genre, and category just by understanding a few key terms. The following categories may appear on a breakdown:
Television: Comedy (half hour single camera, half hour multi-camera) – Drama (hour single camera)
Film: Student Film (produced by college students) – Short Film (no longer than 30 minutes in length) – Feature Film (length around 1.5 to 2 hours)
Internet: Webseries (series intended for internet viewing)
Union Affiliation: Non-Union (not submitted to performer union) – Union (SAG/AFTRA project)
What company is producing the project? Who is distributing it? Where is it being distributed? By knowing which studio or network is making and distributing the project, you’ll gain a sense for the size of the production. The bigger or more well-known the production company, the bigger the production. This also gives you a sense on the budget and shooting schedule. Having a distributor already on board with a project will almost guarantee that the work will be seen by an audience.
What’s the director’s name? Has he been credited as the director on another project? What other screenplays is the writer known for? Have you seen the casting director before? Make sure to take a look at who is producing, writing, directing and casting the project. Research their past productions to get a feel for their style, experience, and reputation. If you can’t find information regarding anyone involved in the project, they may just be starting their career in the industry.
Is the role for a series regular, guest star, co-star, lead, or supporting character? These are just a few of the types of roles that may appear in a casting breakdown. Make sure to understand the definition for each role and if it pertains to television or film characters. Below are the list of roles for each division in ascending order from least featured to the most featured.
Television: Extra – Featured Extra – Role With No Lines- U5 (under 5 lines) – Co-star – Guest Star – Special Guest Star – Recurring – Series Regular
Film: Extra – Featured Extra – Role With No Lines- U5 (under 5 lines) – Principle – Supporting – Lead
*Remember, extra work does not get included on your resume, as it is not a credited role.
The information included in the character breakdown provides everything you need to know from the character’s point of view. This allows you to break down the material in a way that pertains to the character’s background, personality and life events. As an actor, it’s your job to apply the information provided into your interpretation of the character’s choices, struggles, and emotions.
Before submitting for a role, double check your availability for the audition, callback, and shooting dates. Never submit to a casting call unless you’re available for every call date. If you tell the casting director you’re unavailable for certain scheduled days, there’s a chance they will move on to another actor. Be informed on all the above information. The more informed you are, the better prepared you’ll be.