At FITposium 2017 about 120 different fitness talents auditioned for a variety of projects being offered from magazine editors and commercial clients. The casting call was a two-step process that involved submitted an application online and then doing a 15-frame photo shoot with our team photographer.

The result was more than two-dozen projects were awarded from magazine interior features to commercial projects and ambassador programs to even a printed magazine cover.

In any casting there will inevitably be more who didn’t get cast than those who did.  The reason FITposium cast as many talents as we did is because we had so many casting partners teaming up with us to offer a wide variety of projects.

However, with any casting, those who were not selected might be left wondering why they were not chosen. After the conference I sat down with all the magazine editors in person to discuss the results of the casting and get their input. Although it would be impossible to give individualized feedback to each person – what follows are general debrief notes that can prepare each of you for next year’s casting call.

  1. Be as informed as possible

In the weeks leading up to the casting call we put out articles on how to prepare for the casting call, we put out podcasts that discussed what to expect, we put out e-mails indicating everything you needed to know including the when, where and what to do. Most of the questions we were asked during the casting call were questions we had answered at length prior to the conference.

  1. Read and follow all directions

This is not exclusive to our casting call, but to any application process. When I worked in marketing and pursued large public-sector projects, there would always be weed out steps to reduce the number of applicants pursuing a job. For example, if the job application required you to use Arial 10pt font and 1 inch margins and you used Times New Roman 12pt font and half inch margins – your submittal was immediately thrown own to save the reviewers time. We did not go that intense; but we did ask all applicants to do a series of things including filling out and submitted their applications by a specific deadline. And those who spent time on their application were taken notice of versus those who appeared to have rushed through it.

  1. Practice Your Craft

All applicants knew they would have to bust out 15 poses on camera without direction. Yet it was clear that many did not practice before hand. Many of those selected visibly had practiced before getting in front of the camera. They flowed smoothly from one pose to the next. It is completely understandable how nerve-wracking this can be. When people got nervous the group cheered them on and encouraged them to keep pushing and try something different. However, those who practiced remained visibly calm and nailed their poses. Those who didn’t started getting silly and comical in their posing playing more to the crowd and less to the camera. The casting partners want to see those who took it seriously.

  1. If You Want to Stand Out – Then Be Different

Granted, there is only so much one can do in their poses. But a comment we got a lot was that casting applicants tended to defer to the same poses that the person in front of them did. For example. when one person jumped in their photo (a dancer with experience doing poses mid air), the following half dozen people also tried jumping in their photos. Thus this goes back to practicing your craft. Those who had special skills or differentiating facets of their brand they could incorporate into their photos did.

  1. The Casting Did Not Stop When You Got Off Camera

This is such a crucial point that I honestly should have made it the first thing. A lot of applicants were done with the casting as soon as they walked away from the camera. A select others, however, continued to market themselves by networking with the casting partners to grow that personal relationship and connection. At the end of the day, people hire people they like and want to work with. Many of the selected applicants went above and beyond to not just do what was required – but to work to build real relationships. Also, on that same note, just because they were not cast as part of the casting call – many others have ended up being booked by our casting partners regardless. We have heard of numerous magazine features being booked and even one got signed to an agency because of the relationships they built at FITposium. Going even further, everyone’s energy and attitude was taken note of leading up to, during and after the conference. Most all were professional, gracious and positive leading to great impressions on the casting partners. A select few were less than kind to staff or were less than gracious when their name was not called.

At the end of everything, a huge vote of congratulations goes out to all those who were cast. However an even bigger round of applause goes out to everyone who took the chance to audition. Getting up to do this was not an easy thing and we know that.

Do not think for a moment if you were not cast that you were not deserving enough or good enough. It is the nature of auditioning and casting that a small percentage receives the project where the majority continues onto the next casting.

Hopefully these five debriefing notes will help you in preparation for our 2018 casting!

James Patrick, ACG, ALB – FITposium Founder

James Patrick, ACG, ALB, is an Arizona-based commercial and editorial photographer specializing in sports, fitness, commercial and fashion. A graduate from the University of Arizona with a degree in Journalism, he has also worked as a writer, marketer and public speaker. What this really means is that James is a professional storyteller. His photography work has been internationally published and has received multiple ADDY® Awards from the American Advertising Federation. His photography and blog appear on his website JamesPatrick.com and he is on Instagram @jpatrickphoto