Why Being Type Cast is Good for Actors
Time to brace a little controversy. Typecasting occurs when an actor is cast or often categorized as the same types of character. Think Jennifer Aniston as the overtly-sexual professional, or Samuel L. Jackson as the loud and foul mouthed badass.
In it’s most innocent form, typecasting is just putting actors into the same roles we’re used to seeing them in or we feel fits them the most. Some actors feel being typecast limits their talent and the number or roles available to them. But like for many actors, the reality is that being typecast is a GREAT thing for your career, and it’s easy for you to take advantage of it.
Being type cast is great for actors because it means that Casting Directors like seeing you play specific character types. The more you audition in front of a casting director the more they will begin to understand your personality and how you fit into their casting world. If they see you as the loyal best friend character type, then every time they are casting a loyal best friend they will ask to see you audition. They start connecting your personal brand with character types, which in turn benefits you as an actor.
That’s why after awhile most actors will notice they keep being seen for the same character types over and over again: Police Officer, Gay Man, Lawyer/Business Woman, etc. This is a part of how agents and Casting Directors select actors. And it’s your responsibility to notice which character types you’re consistently auditioning for and to market yourself with those character types in mind.
One actor who you’ve more than likely seen on TV or in the movies without realizing it has perfected his type cast. His name is Anthony Reynolds and his acting site is cowboyscopsandkillers.com.
Can you guess what roles he is often cast as? That’s right, cowboys, cops, and killers, and he’s booking consistently.
He’s had roles in House of Cards, Hunger Games, Stranger Things, and more. He’d be the first person to tell you that you need find your character types and brand yourself in the direction of those character types.
But What Do You do when you’re being typecast and you don’t think it fits you?
One actor friend of mine was upset that he kept being asked to audition for roles like FBI agent, Lawyer, and other roles typically cast by people in their 30’s. He felt that he was being asked to read for older roles because his headshot made him look older than he was. He also felt that by being type cast he was limiting his future career, and that he wasn’t booking as much as he could because of it.
Two lessons here. One, he was absolutely right. Because of his facial hair in his headshot, he was being asked to read for roles that were older than the vibe he gives off in person. Thus when he was asked to audition the Casting Director or Producers probably did not feel like he matched the roles he was auditioning for.
Secondly, he was correct that perhaps the type cast was incorrect, but it was only that way because his method of branding was incorrect.
In order to brand yourself correctly, you can’t force yourself into character types. If you’re presenting yourself like the leading romantic love interest yet you’re more of the villain, then you’re doing yourself a disservice by marketing yourself as the romantic lead interest. It doesn’t mean you won’t ever be cast as the leading male, but to set your career up for success you have to create a brand that is true to your look and acting style.
When you step into the audition room the Casting Director will fill duped if your vibe doesn’t match the vibe of the headshot. So, make sure your headshot and reels have variety, but highlight your type casting primarily. If you’re more the villain than the hero then choose a headshot that has the vibe of a villain, and keep the more handsome photo as a secondary headshot. This is how you begin to start marketing for a successful career in acting.
There is only so little we can control in regards to being cast. But why not make sure that you are doing everything you can to set yourself apart. Acting is a business, and it’s more self-driven the you realize. In today’s world you have to learn how to Do It For Yourself or have the money to pay someone else to do it for you. That’s why I have tons of free content on my blog. but if you’d like extra consultation or information, I have affordable services and information that can help you reach your peak. So leave a comment and let me know your thoughts on the article and leave me any questions you may have!