We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What are Cattle Calls?

Michael Pollick
By
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseTour is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseTour, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Although many casting directors and producers may prefer the term open call audition, many struggling actors and singers know the meaning of a cattle call all too well. This type of audition is a process in which hundreds or even thousands of performers are allowed to vie for a certain number of roles. If an open audition for the musical Grease were being held, for example, the theater would be filled to capacity with hundreds of aspiring actors wearing black leather jackets and ducktail hairstyles. Each candidate may get to perform one line from a song or recite a few lines of dialogue.

The idea of a cattle call is said to have come from the earliest days of the Actors' Equity Association (AEA), a powerful theatrical union. Many theatrical and movie roles were being offered exclusively to established actors, not the rank and file members of the AEA. The open audition became a requirement for almost all union productions, although the auditioning actors were still obligated to join the AEA before receiving notice of these opportunities.

For many modern actors, this type of audition process has become a way of life. Notices of open auditions are usually posted in trade magazines or given to recognized talent agencies. An actor may discover a suitable announcement, or his or her agent may pass on the information. This typically includes the location of the audition, a basic description of the available roles, suggestions for actors, and a time to arrive at the site.

It would be unusual for the director or producers to appear at a cattle call audition, although some may want to participate in order to find a possible diamond in the rough, an unknown candidate with significant talent. For larger productions, a casting director is usually hired to make wholesale casting decisions during the open call. The casting director usually understands what the artistic director is looking for in an actor so he or she can narrow down the list of candidates to be seen again later. An audition generally ends with a dismissive "thank you" or a request for a return visit, known as a call back.

Quite often, the director and producers have already decided on specific actors for each available role, but union rules specifically dictate the need for open auditions. The casting director will sometimes audition and summarily reject almost every candidate during a cattle call. Actors understand how competitive the entertainment business can be, so many of them view these auditions through jaundiced eyes. The chances of winning a major role this way are notoriously slim, so many struggling actors concentrate more on developing industry contacts and improving their acting skills.

WiseTour is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Pollick
By Michael Pollick , Writer
As a frequent contributor to WiseTour, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range of topics. His curiosity drives him to study subjects in-depth, resulting in informative and engaging articles. Prior to becoming a professional writer, Michael honed his skills as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.

Discussion Comments

By Cageybird — On Sep 23, 2014

I don't know how anything actually gets accomplished during cattle call auditions. If I had to cast actors in a play, I'd create a short list of established actors that could do the job and call their agents. I don't know if I could sit in a big auditorium and look at people all day long.

By Buster29 — On Sep 22, 2014

Back when I was trying to break into show business, I went on a few cattle call auditions with my roommate at the time. One time I was running a little behind and didn't get to the audition center until right at the advertised starting time. The line was already out the door, and wound around a complete New York City block. Everyone in line was dressed just like I was. My roommate stayed in the line, but I went home.

He said the line actually started moving quickly once the audition process started. They all handed over a head shot and acting resume to an assistant at the door, then sat in groups of about 50 while someone walked around them. Some people got a tap on the shoulder, and the rest of the group just walked out the back door. He wasn't tapped, so his day was over.

Michael Pollick

Michael Pollick

Writer

As a frequent contributor to WiseTour, Michael Pollick uses his passion for research and writing to cover a wide range...
Learn more
WiseTour, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseTour, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.