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Tips for Emerging Actors from Casting Director Ben Cogan

Esteemed casting director Ben Cogan has worked in casting for over 25 years and began as a Casting Assistant for many TV shows (including EastEnders, Holby City and Waking the Dead), before becoming the Casting Director for Doctors in 2002. 380 episodes later, Ben moved to Casualty and, in his time there, six episodes that he worked on were recognised with BAFTA nominations. During this period he also worked on the Afternoon Play series, Kiss of Death and various short films – one of which was nominated for an Oscar. Ben is now a freelance Casting Director working on Feature Films and Drama in addition to hosting an incredibly popular audition workshop on our Masterclass in Screen Acting and now a brand new, two day Zoom workshop: How to Audition and Make Your Self Tape Shine

Here are some of Bens top tips for emerging actors:

  • It is important to build a rapport with your agent. This is a valuable aspect of being managed by someone when you are looking to break into the industry.
  • Your work & credits should be constantly updated and your CV can be used to apply for professional work.
  • Headshots should be simple, not too flashy, just simple headshots that show what you actually look like. This is the most professional way to come across to any agent or casting director. Remove dated or old images from your profile.
  • Whether your hopes are to go into acting, dancing, singing or musical theatre – you may want to learn all forms of the arts to help you to succeed. This way any opportunity that arises through your agent you can audition for.
  • Consider all work your agent offers you! Any audition is a great opportunity.
  • Don’t fret about your age, appearance, or your time away from ‘the game’, just be true to what you want to achieve and ensure you and your agent are on the same page.
  • For a professional self-tape, make sure it is bright and there isn’t lots of background noise. Read more about how to self-tape on here.
  • Always learn scripts for auditions if you have time and research the role.
  • Enjoy what you are doing, enjoy drama, enjoy the process and don’t let knockbacks affect you. It may be the case that you give the best audition but aren’t compatible with the mum or dad they have cast – this is out of your control, so just concentrate on what you can control.
  • Keep your love for drama, the scripts, the characters and never let your enthusiasm be diminished or get disheartened by what you see as rejection. It’s not rejection, it’s just that part didn’t go your way. 
  • Take control of what you can, be it preparation, passion, presentation – particularly with self tapes at this moment in time.
  • When preparing for a headshot shoot, grab a mate or loved-one the day before and improvise a little shoot together in order to feel more comfortable and confident.
  • Make yourself a glossary of all the TV shows, productions and films you like and research the casting directors who worked on these projects. This can help you pin-point who to contact in the future and can be a good starting point for a conversation.

Take advantage of our limited time offer available on Ben’s upcoming online workshop. A must for any actor looking to improve their chances in the audition room (or call!): How to Audition and Make Your Self Tape Shine