What Is An Open Call?

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© Gemenacom | Dreamstime.com

© Gemenacom | Dreamstime.com

Everyone has a pretty good idea of what an audition is, however, there are different types of auditions, and some of these may not be familiar to everyone. So when an audition is labeled an “open call,” what exactly does that mean? Generally, it means that the audition is open to anyone who wants to attend. What makes that different from any other audition? Well, in most cases, professionals get auditions because their representatives (agents and managers) have submitted them for the audition. If they are invited to attend, they will be given a specific time to show up to audition. The people holding the audition expect the talent that they see to be up to a certain standard of professional experience.

Open casting calls differ because anyone can attend, they don’t need to have experience or representation, and there is usually a very large time frame given.  In fact, you may just be given a time to line up… and line up you will! Depending upon the specific open call, you may be lining up with hundreds and even thousands of other hopefuls.  This is why the open call is sometimes referred to in the performing community as a “cattle call.”

Do people get hired at open calls? Sure they do, but keep in mind the chances are very slim. Most of the big reality shows on television, such as American Idol and America’s Got Talent, find their talent by utilizing open calls.  Sometimes big projects such as major feature films will utilize open calls too. However, you should realize that most of the time it is not because they are searching for the perfect new talent, but rather they do this to promote the project, build public interest and stir up a buzz.

Open calls are good experience for those who are new to auditioning and for talent who have no representation, but they require a lot of patience. It is a chance to be seen and heard when you otherwise might not have that chance at all. So for that, they are great! But you must know what you are getting into.

If you decide to attend an open call, here are eight things you can do that will make it a better experience for you:

  1. Get plenty of rest the day before and a good night’s sleep. The day ahead may be long and draining.
  2. Read and follow all the information you have been given regarding the open call (when to arrive, where to park, what to wear,  what to bring, what not to bring, how to prepare, etc.)
  3. Know exactly where you need to go and leave yourself plenty of time to get there. Have driving directions ready and parking information, as well as several options in mind for parking in case your first choice is already taken.
  4.  Arrive earlier than specified. If you arrive at the specified time you will find people who are already in line.
  5. Bring water, snacks and perhaps a book to read unless you are instructed otherwise. (If you have children DO NOT bring them with you, get a babysitter for the day.)
  6.  Be fully prepared with your performance, know it well and know what is expected of you (including any time restraints).  You will likely be seen/heard for an extremely short amount of time amounting to minutes, or even seconds. Make it count.
  7.  Be prepared to stay longer if you are asked to audition for another round, although you could even be asked to return on another day to audition again.
  8. Above all, keep a positive attitude!

Have you attended an open call? If so, leave a comment about your experience below. Let us know what your experience was like!


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