Casting directors are the doorkeepers to the world of working actors. In order to get a chance to even audition for most film and television projects, you need to be chosen by a casting director. While the casting director doesn't pick the final person who gets the role (the producers and directors do that), he does choose who auditions as well as who gets a callback to read for the producers and directors. If you can establish a relationship with casting directors, they will be more likely to call you in to audition for future projects.
Create a list of casting directors who cast projects that are right for you. When compiling the list, consider the types of projects the person casts. Particularly for television shows, consider if your type is often cast on a specific show. If not, leave that person off your list. Include her name, mailing address, phone number, email address and the projects she casts. This will work as your targeted list.
Send out a mass mailing to all the casting directors on your targeted list. Include a brief cover letter introducing yourself. Give a small bit of background on your recent credits, your training and any special skills you have, such as languages you speak or instruments you play. Place this letter, along with your headshot and resume, in an envelope and mail it out.
Follow up with a postcard mailing to all the casting directors on your list. You should aim to send out a postcard mailing every two to three months, giving an update on what's going on with your career. Make sure your postcards include some notable message, such as a recent booking, an upcoming television airing or new training. Since your photo is on the front of the postcard, the casting director will be reminded of your existence. Make sure you include contact information on the postcard. If you have an agent, put his information on there. If you do not, put your personal contact information.
Write update emails for those casting directors that list their email address publicly. Just as you do with postcards, you can send out an email update on your career happenings. Only send a casting director an email if you have obtained his email address through an acceptable means.
Attend industry networking events. If you are a member of SAG (Screen Actors Guild), AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) or AEA (Actors' Equity Association), attend a networking event, where actors and industry professionals gather. Research other organizations that host such events to glean information industry professionals.
Enroll in casting director workshops. These workshops require you pay a fee to participate. You will meet a particular casting director and hear a bit about her background as well as what she's currently casting. You'll then have the opportunity to ask any questions you have. After this informational portion of the workshop, the casting director will then hand out scenes and pair you up with a fellow actor. You'll be given about 10 to 15 minutes to rehearse your scene and then you'll perform it for the casting director. She may give you feedback or redirection on the scene. If she likes what she sees, she may call you in to audition for a future project.
Be respectful when contacting casting directors. Follow standard social etiquette rules.
Avoid sending postcard or email updates too often. Make sure you have something relevant to say in your update.