I'm not afraid to admit that I asked Google how I should write a cover letter to a casting director. I am a little ashamed by the results that came up, though.
I found a sample cover letter on ActingBiz.com from an actor to a casting director. It starts like this.
|Dear Mr. Hireme: |
This part is incredibly important! Always address your cover letter to a specific contact.
My name is Marcus Caparcus and I am a new actor to Los Angeles. I am interested in stage, film and commercial productions. My cousin Vinny Babarino mentioned your name to me as he remembered that you and I attended the same performing arts school. It is simply amazing to me that we both grew up in the same town and attended the same acting school.
See how short and sweet that was? I also managed to drop a contact name and a reference that makes a
personal connection between me and the recipient.
As for my recent work, you can see me in a guest starring role on 'The Office' next week and I also have a film being released as part of the Barleytown Independent Film Festival. I should also tell you that I will be starting a new role in an off-Broadway play called 'Where the Kitty Kats Are' and can easily arrange some tickets for you.
Let me stop right there and show you two specific things that make this sample extremely unhelpful.
|As for my recent work, you can see me in a guest starring role on 'The Office' next week and I also have a film being released as part of the Barleytown Independent Film Festival.|
If you're writing a sample cover letter for actors, you must in some way assume that the actors who would glean any insight from it have not written many cover letters to casting directors. And if they have had so little contact with casting directors, you must then assume that they have not had much experience in acting professionally for the screen.
What is so disheartening about this example is that it seems to suggest, before contacting a casting director to get work, you should first be cast in a prime-time, award-winning television comedy. Clearly the imaginary guy in this example doesn't need to Google "casting director cover letter". He would already know how that works.
Oh, and this is stupid.
|It is simply amazing to me that we both grew up in the same town and attended the same acting school.|
Okay. And what do you say if that's not true? "It is simply amazing that I don't know anyone that you know."
In my Google search I've learned that most websites called "Actor[Whatever]" or "Acting[Thing]" are silly and give really broad, vaguely sweeping advice.
But there is a good thing to take away from this example. An actor's cover letter seems to come in three paragraphs:
1. the declaration of intent (I am interested in auditioning for screen work)
2. recent work (I just finished [doing this] and I am currently [doing this])
3. Thank You (Thank you very much for your time and consideration)
If you can at least hit those points, I say don't sweat the rest of the letter. Just write what you need to say in the way you want to say it.
Another ActingBiz piece mentions that the cover letter should be printed on "top-of-the-line" business stationery, because it shows that you care. I mean, I get that. We're already paying for headshot prints, why not go all the way?
I'm considering it, it's just that... What the hell am I supposed to do with this stationery after I write my cover letters? Can I go somewhere I just buy, like, five sheets of it?
I guess keeping up appearances by making semi-necessary purchases is something I should be used to by now as an actor.