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Why Automating Your Audition Process Is Better Than Traditional Auditions

Cast98 blog

Cast98 exists to lessen the burden of show logistics for busy directors. Any performing arts studio, theatre, or organization can use Cast98 to automate their auditions process, and it's 100% free. No hidden fees or Gotcha! limits on usage. Expecting 150 auditionees and feeling overwhelmed? We got your back all the way through the cast list, and it won't cost you a dime.

If your cast is going to be really big too, you can pay a flat fee to use our Schedule Builder. It'll save you a boatload of time when you need to compare conflicts for 30, 40, or 98+ performers.

For some directors, an all-digital auditions process isn't entirely intuitive, so let's take a step back and walk through how the auditions process changes when you switch to using Cast98.

Bear in mind, there's hundreds of methods directors use to manage their show logistics and we can't discuss every unique setup, but we've talked to enough community theatres to know what the majority is using to make our basis for comparison.

Director sets audition dates and structure

Directors must answer these basic questions at the very beginning:

When and where will auditions take place? What do auditionees need to prepare?

Without Automation

However you like to do it, the director needs to identify when and where auditions will occur and write out instructions for auditionees so they know what to prepare and how to sign up. This information is usually posted on the theatre's website, a Facebook event, and/or a SignUpGenius page and shared via email and social media. Writing the announcement can be time consuming, and rather annoying to write from scratch every time.

With Cast98 Automation

The same decisions about when and where must be made, but all the info is contained on the show's Cast98 page. The director can share a direct link to the show page via email, on the website, or on social media to attract auditionees. Directors even get an announcement template that contains all the essential info.

Auditionees sign up for an audition time

How will we handle signups?

Without Automation

Auditionees typically call or email the studio to request a time slot, which requires staff or trained volunteers to manually keep up with existing audition reservations and assign an empty slot to the requestee. Tech-savvy studios will use an online service like SignUpGenius to let performers sign up for an empty slot automatically, but the director or a volunteer will need to create an account and define all the time slots.

With Cast98 Automation

The director defines the time slots within Cast98 and auditionees will select one on Cast98's online audition form. The Auditionee Dashboard automatically keeps track of who is signed up and at what time, and it's accessible to the show's directors.

Auditionees submit their résumé, conflict calendar, and audition info

What forms do we need to have ready for auditionees? Will they fill out their form on the spot or can they submit it ahead of time?

Without Automation

Some studios allow performers to email a headshot and resume before arriving at auditions, but most auditionees will be forced to fill out an audition form from scratch when they arrive, or print one and bring it with them. This is all free for studio except for the cost of paper and printer ink plus the logistical time and effort to intake each auditionee's information. If you print 100 copies of everything, you're probably facing $10-25 in expenses.

With Cast98 Automation

Auditionees update their Cast98 profile and conflicts online, fill out a short questionnaire about what roles they do/don't want, and submit. The director sees them on the Auditionees Dashboard immediately.

During auditions, directors need a copy of each auditionee's information sheet

How will the auditions flow work? How will we get information from the lobby to the director?

Without Automation

Every theatre has a different way they like to operate during auditions. For some, auditionees hand their information sheet directly to the director(s) as they enter the room. For others, there is a receptionist in the lobby - they might be an hourly employee or a trained volunteer - who collects the audition forms and makes copies or converts them into a Google Doc that the directors can access online. By any preferred method, directors need a copy of each performer's résumé so they can take notes in the margins that will help them make casting decisions later. The lobby staff also needs to call Next! to facilitate the flow of auditions.

With Cast98 Automation

Performers have already submitted their audition info digitally and Cast98 gives the director a dashboard to quickly view each auditionee's profile, so there's no need for a receptionist in the lobby except to answer questions or call folks in one-at-a-time. Audition Insights is what we call the directors' notes in the margin, and there's space for that too within the Auditionee Dashboard.

Director builds the cast list and communicates with all auditionees

How will we notify cast members? How do we gently let down performers who didn't get cast?

Without Automation

The cast list might be printed out and posted on the theatre door, on the website, on Facebook, attached to an email as a file, or stated explicitly in the email's body. At the very least, the cast list requires typing out each actor's name and their assigned role. In some cases of a dual cast or as well as a potential ensemble tidbit like green cast or also Character understudy. Including the time spent writing a polite message for the folks who don't make the cut,

With Cast98 Automation

Someone (director, staff member, or volunteer) compiles all cast member conflicts into a spreadsheet

Without Automation

Typically an unpaid volunteer or hourly staff person, someone must spend ~5 minutes converting the submitted information into a usable format. For a 30-member cast with 65 auditionees, this is roughly 2-4 hours of labor. If done by a paid employee, expected cost is around ~$20-40; otherwise, it's just the time to find and train a volunteer.

With Cast98 Automation

Directors never touch conflict calendars; conflicts are automatically imported to the Schedule Builder when the director builds the cast list. Zero hours required.

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