First, I read the character description:
FEMALE / 25 TO 45 Attractive BookwormThen comes the guessing game. I ask myself, "What are they looking for exactly? Is that me? Can I play that?" All as I attempt to decide if I want to submit myself or not.
Self-evaluating can be trickier when the character description is extra detailed:
O-kay.Female, early 30's/late 20's. Confidant shell--attractive, intelligent--masks a confused insecurity. Her drive is to help the people she loves, but her opinionated nature, coupled with her stubbornness and one-sided way of looking at an issue, prevents her from accomplishing her sincere and compassionate goals. Artistic, blunt, snobbish, moody and loving. Sometimes hedonistic, sometimes vulnerable. She has a unique perspective and a whimsical (often dark) sense of humor. Her relationship with emotions is underdeveloped, as is her understanding of true happiness or true love.
There are two schools of thought. There's the spaghetti theory - throw a bunch against the wall and see what sticks.
Or the selective theory that I employ - self-evaluating and selectively deciding if I'm right for the role. Because being confident that I can play what I'm submitting for gives me confidence in the actual audition.
Ultimately, it's about finding the balance between being selective and taking a chance by putting yourself out there. I remember casting director Mark Sikes telling me that actors shouldn't take themselves out of the running by not submitting. He encouraged actors to submit, then let the casting director decide if they're right for the role or not.
Then again, I found these strong words on NOW Casting the other day:
Wow. Find that balance, actors![This casting director] uses the NOW CASTING filing cabinet system to remember actors. If you submit improperly, you will be placed in the "NEVER CALL IN" file. If we need someone with blonde hair, don't submit if you are brunette. If we need someone with earlobe discs and you need to ask what they are, then don't submit. If we need a little person, do not submit if you are just short or as one actor stated "willing to cut your legs off to get on this show". There are consequences when you behave unprofessionally. Don't ruin this opportunity for those that are using the system properly and professionally.
How do you self-evaluate when submitting online?