Now that you’ve made a kick-ass reel (with the help of my dance reel tips, I’m sure), it’s time to send that bad boy to your dream shows and watch the offers pour in. Well unfortunately, they probably won’t pour in because that's the nature of the dance world, but there are some things you can do to have a better chance of getting noticed when emailing casting directors.
Here are 5 things to think about when you submit your dance reel to casting directors via email.
1. Follow their directions exactly.
Most production companies have details on their website for exactly how to submit your materials. Search the show you’re interested in and see if they have options to submit through their website or if there are any clear instructions to follow.
If casting directors are expressly telling you what they want, you should definitely listen.
I’ve found that once people are “in” with a company, things become a lot more relaxed and you might hear about people booking a job without following proper protocol. Well, I’ve tried going against the grain, even with companies I have a relationship with. And I’m here to tell you, it’s not the best idea. Go with your gut of course, but I know that for me, it’s best to give them what they ask for.
2. Be professional, but not robotic.
As some of you may know, I have a degree in advertising and public relations (humble brag) and I like to think of my dancer submissions in the same way I think about pitching an idea to an editor. Because it’s really the same thing. As dancers, we have to market ourselves the same way PR pros market their clients. How you formulate your email, what tone you convey, and the words you use… they all matter.
In my dancer submissions, I do my best to express my personality while remaining professional and to the point. No need for drawn out paragraphs detailing why this is your dream show or how hard you’ve worked on your craft. No one cares and that doesn’t set you apart from anyone. We all work hard in this industry. What will set you apart however, is being clear and concise but in a human way.
Easy ways to humanize your email submissions is to use contractions and personal pronouns, like I and you.
For example, instead of saying:
I am Kaylee and I am a professional dancer currently working on cruise ships. I am submitting materials for a dancer position at Can Can Revue and I hope to be considered for the show.
Try something like this:
Hi casting team,
I’m Kaylee and I’m a professional dancer currently working on cruise ships. I’m submitting my materials for your dancer position at Can Can Revue and I’m hoping you’ll find that I’m a great fit for your show.
See how easily that changes the tone of your email? Think of it as a conversation and use the words you’d actually say if you were speaking to a casting director. Because an actual casting director will actually be reading it...
But remember, you’re not their friend. Conversational doesn’t mean unprofessional. Keep it short and to the point and you’ll have less to worry about when it comes to being potentially inappropriate.
3. Organize the information
When submitting to casting directors, you’ll want to include more than just your dance reel. But all the information you send should be laid out as clearly as possible.
Bullet points are your friend and direct links are necessary.
After a lovely, conversational opener, the body of my dancer submissions usually look something like this:
Please view my dance reel by following this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEyynb4MalA
For more information, please check out my website: https://www.kayleerandall.com/
Attached to this email you’ll find:
Finish off the email asking if there’s anything else they’d like to see and a quick thank you for their time. Don’t forget to add your attachments and fire away. From there, you’ll probably be refreshing your email ten times a day but hey, you’re not alone.
4. Pay attention to the subject line
There’s a lot of information floating around the internet on how to write a perfect subject line, and for good reason. According to Convince&Convert, 33% of email recipients open emails based on the subject line alone.
Long story short, what you have in that subject line makes a difference.
Mine usually says “Dancer Submission – Kaylee Randall” which is simple enough. I put the most important information first and tell the recipient who I am and what’s inside the email. Sometimes companies will tell you exactly what to put in the subject line so like I said before, always follow their directions. But whatever you do, do not leave the subject line blank!
5. Follow up and ask for feedback
Personally, I have the hardest time following up. I never want to feel like I’m bothering people but the truth is, it’s necessary. It makes me so uncomfortable, really. I feel like I shouldn’t have to beg for a job, but it makes sense that if you’re out of sight you’re probably out of mind. So, I succumb and perhaps so should you.
Now, this doesn’t mean submitting to the same casting directors over and over if they’ve shown no interest in you. But if you’ve made it to the end of their live auditions or if you’ve gotten a response from your initial email, it’s good to follow up. There’s not an exact science to this, but do your best to stay on their mind without being a crazy person.
Side note: Very recently I was that crazy person who emailed casting two days in a row. They replied telling me that, yes, they have in fact received my request and to stop emailing them and they will get back to me if they have something. So, my advice is to not be a crazy person. It’s difficult but what can I say... we chose a difficult profession.
If you’ve gotten a positive response one way or another, wait at least a week in between emails. If you don’t get any responses after that, email again in a month or two.
It’s important to seem eager and hungry to work, but not desperate.
Ask for feedback, too. Some casting teams will let you know why you weren’t the best fit and what you can work on. Learning what you can do to improve is always a good thing. And if it's something you can't change, it’s good to know so you can move on.
I’m currently in-between contracts myself, so I’m emailing casting directors all the time. Give these tips a try and let me know in the comments what worked for you. Happy hustling dancers! I'm right there with you.
I’m currently in-between contracts myself, so I’m using these ideas too. Give them a try and let me know in the comments what worked for you. Happy hustling dancers! I am right there with you.