We've Got Hollywood Covered

Casting Must Take Advantage of Technology

New methods of search, self-promotion create opportunities for actors and casting directors alike

Here’s the craziest thing about casting.

It’s not that I’ve met so many incredible actors at the very beginning of their careers and been able to see how much they have grown professionally. It’s not that actors simply don’t remember to staple their headshots to their resumes. And it’s certainly not that actors don’t look anything like their photos.

It’s that actors don’t get that they need to be their own advocates.

The craziest thing about casting is how many amazingly talented people there are in this town who are still not working. Still not breaking through. Still not getting that all-important second look. And I have met many of them.

If they stick with it and use every available resource, then they can succeed

This is where technology comes into play. There are opportunities everywhere to be in web series that debut online. There are students everywhere creating short films for YouTube.

There is the opportunity for every struggling actor to make a name for themselves on Facebook and let their friends and family take part in their journey. Just make it relevant to your experience as an actor (not how you’re struggling from a hangover….).

When I’m casting, I do the search that I think everyone does before hiring someone. I research who’s out there, who’s new and who might be hidden below my radar. I call agents and managers. And when the role calls out for something truly unique, I go online and search for the unlikely and the undiscovered .

Fifteen years ago, I used to travel the world to cast the authentic, but today, the world is on my laptop or in the palm of my hand.

We casting directors need to broaden our search tools and become digital natives.

For actors to be successful today, they need to become digital natives as well; they need to use the internet to research what is going on and also create online reels and profiles that are attractive and accessible.

This is just as important as that headshot, which of course you’re going to remember to staple to your resume. … Right?

Heidi Levitt is a casting director whose credits include "Natural Born Killers," "The Joy Luck Club" and "Lakeview Terrace." At the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, she cast Mark Ruffalo’s directing debut, "Sympathy for Delicious" and Rodrigo Garcia’s "Mother and Child." She is the developer of an iPhone App called Actor Genie.