Cracking The Casting Director Code: 28 Reasons You Didn’t Get the Part (And What To Do About It)

casting director

“Nailed it!”

You know that thought you have right after you totally rocked your audition?

When you are just radiating excitement (maybe the Casting Director even  gave you feedback about what a fantastic job you did). You walk out of the room with an unwavering confidence, leaving an aura of creative genius trailing after you.

You think…”Yeah, I got this!”

And then…


…You find out you didn’t get the part.

Your mind starts racing, wondering where things went wrong, and what you could have done differently. You feel the tortured claws of rejection grasping at your throat, and you can’t help but wonder:

What did I do wrong?

Don't worry, you're gonna find that out in just a sec…

Truly, every actor has been there before.

And you know what? The most successful ones have learned how to shake it off in true T-Swift style, and keep going.

…Because they know it’s just part of the game.

Still, it helps to understand why you didn’t book it, right?

And sometimes, it can really help you to free your mind from all of the negative chatter that happens when you face rejection.

In fact, it's empowering.

Being able to see your performance from a Casting Director’s point of view helps you grab control of your acting career (even when you feel like you’re nowhere near the driver’s seat).

This is why we're digging into 3 steps to “cracking the Casting Director code”, from someone who has spent 20 years in the entertainment business as a Casting Director. (That’s me).

Let's begin…



Easier said than done, right?


But the fact is, one of the most critical steps to being a successful, working actor is learning to let go.

“One of the most critical steps to being a successful working actor is learning to let go.”Click To Tweet

There are literally HUNDREDS of possible reasons why you didn’t get the job.

Frustrating, but true.

And the most challenging part to accept? Most of them are completely out of your control.

Check this out…

Based on my experience in casting, here are the most common…

28 Reasons You Didn’t Get The Part:

  1. You’re too tall
  2. You’re too short
  3. You’re too pretty
  4. You’re not pretty enough
  5. You’re too handsome
  6. You’re not handsome enough
  7. You’re too fat
  8. You’re too thin
  9. You’re too blond
  10. You’re not blond enough
  11. You’re too old
  12. You’re too young
  13. You’re too serious
  14. You’re too comical
  15. You look too much like the lead
  16. You don’t look enough like the lead
  17. You’re taller than the lead
  18. You’re shorter than the lead
  19. You remind the producer of his mother-in-law (and he hates his mother-in-law)
  20. You are too ethnic
  21. You are not ethnic enough
  22. You were the first one to read that day
  23. You were the last one to read that day
  24. You’re more like the best friend than the lead
  25. You’re more of a lead than the best friend
  26. You’re too charactery
  27. You’re not charactery enough
  28. You look like the director’s wife (and he had a fight with his wife right before he left the house this morning)

You get the point.

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When it comes to casting you, think of the role you are reading for as one piece of an intricate jigsaw puzzle.

Your piece has to fit in with the rest of the puzzle, or else the puzzle will not work. It’s up to the Casting Director, producer, and director to assemble the puzzle, making sure every piece fits together perfectly.

Your only job is to be the best “piece” you can be.

'The role you audition for is one piece in an intricate casting jigsaw puzzle. Your job is to be the best “piece” you can be.' Click To Tweet

And if your edges don’t fit in the intended slot, then it isn’t the puzzle for you.

Once you get this – I mean REALLY get this – you’ll be a much happier (and more successful) actor.

There is only one thing you can control here, and that is your performance. That’s it.

Which brings us to the next point…


Rather than dwelling on the factors that are out of your control, start looking at how you’ll rock the next opportunity that comes your way.

Building a career as an actor may feel like a difficult and complex journey, but it doesn’t have to be.

I’m going to share some really important advice with you here.


Just go to your audition, do your best, and move on.

Yes, it really is that simple.


REMEMBER: One audition will never make or break your acting career (even though it might feel that way).

Really, it’s just a stepping stone.

If your audition is good – if it’s highly competitive, complex and specific and you NAIL IT from beginning to end – they will remember you.

It’s their JOB to remember you.

And they will bring you back. Again and again.

In fact, when you really deliver the goods and don’t get cast, most Casting Directors will even go out of their way to look for another role for you because they want to cast you so badly.

Keep this tucked in the back of your mind every time you face a new audition, and you will thrive.

That brings me to one last point…


You know what often goes hand-in-hand with rejection?

  • Self-judgment.
  • Anger.
  • Despair.
  • Negative self-talk.

Oh, and don’t forget kicking yourself over and over again for days, weeks (even months on end sometimes).

None of which are doing you – or your acting career – any favors.

What if “rejection” wasn’t such a bad thing?

What if it were just one more step on your path to something great and you could choose to look at it differently?

What if it was the learning experience that led to your next big role? Or the connection that helped you build a pivotal professional relationship?

Rejection is only destructive if you allow it to be.

Rejection is only destructive if you allow it to be.Click To Tweet

But if you rethink rejection, and look at it as an opportunity rather than a conclusion, positive thoughts, positive feelings and positive RESULTS will surface.

So while there may be an endless list of things that are out of your control during an audition (including whether or not you get the part), only you can control what you do with the experience.

Why not choose to turn it into something good?

After all, the more you choose good thoughts, good beliefs, and good intentions, the more likely you are to have good experiences.

And you DESERVE way more of those, don't ya think?

Okay, now that we’ve uncovered how you can let go of what you can’t control (and rock your audition anyway)…

…Let’s take a closer look at managing what you can control.

In my upcoming free “Audition Control” webclass, I’ll take you even deeper inside the secret thoughts of Casting Directors.

You’ll discover what they really think and see during your audition (and how you can use that information to your advantage — that's the FUN part). Reserve your complimentary spot now


Your turn! Was this blog on cracking the Casting Director code helpful? Which one of the “28 reasons” rang your bell? Tell me about it in the comments below… :-) 

You DESERVE the Red Carpet!

Original article posted on Backstage.

Amy Jo Berman - Acting Coach
Amy Jo Berman's Tips On Acting & Auditioning Blog
Email: Asst@AmyJoBerman.com

“I show actors how to be better, book more jobs and live The Red Carpet life!”

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7 Responses

  1. sue rock says:

    This is great positive inspiration! An actor can drive themselves crazy by these things. And you can really find yourself in a truly negative state of mind. Thank you for these words!!!

  2. monie lee Perez says:

    dam your articles are so good. thanks again!

  3. Joanne Dorian says:

    Right on, Amy! I used to beat myself up but stopped that a long time ago. I am so much more relaxed in auditions now. To really get that you have so little control, except over your own audition, is SO IMPORTANT!

  4. James Mallon says:

    Thanks Amy.

  5. Maria Wilson says:

    Thanks. Your words of wisdom are water on a thirsty day.

  6. Brian T Shirley says:

    Thanks and I joined the webinar!!

  7. HBJ says:

    I like this list of 28 things, makes it easier for one to let it roll off their shoulder should they not get the part and work on the next audition.

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