Have you ever wondered why some of your favourite stars turn up playing virtually the same characters in different shows? Is it because they are popular, are considered “favourites” by casting agents, don’t need as much time “getting into the part”, or is it that they are identified with playing a particular part?
You are just as much at risk of being typecast as any A-list or TV actor.
Well it can be any or all of the above reasons. The industry term for this is “Typecasting”. And it doesn’t just happen to actors!
Typecasting is the process by which a film, TV, or stage actor is strongly identified with a specific character, one or more particular roles, or characters with the same traits or social or ethnic grouping. There have been instances in which an actor has been so strongly identified with a role as to make it difficult for him or her to find work playing other characters.
Typecasting happens to actors of both great and modest ability: an actor may become typecast either because of a strong identification with a particular role or because he or she lacks the versatility or talent to move on to other roles. Some actors welcome the steady work that typecasting brings, but in general it is seen as undesirable for actors in leading roles.
So why should you care..? If you are a contractor you are just as much at risk of being typecast as any A-list or TV actor. Have you ever wondered why agencies are always contacting you about similar roles and not the “exciting” gigs that offers you some real challenges (and bigger pay checks)? If this is the case then you’ve been typecast.
So whose fault is it anyway? If you have performed an assignment well for a client, the agency is more than likely going to “label” you as someone who is good at doing “x” with the end result that your next assignment will be probably performing the same services for a different client. Falling into the “typecast” trap is very easy to do as a contractor because of the nature of the work, and the fact that it requires certain attributes and specialist skills that are not required otherwise by the client.
The inclusion of these roles on your CV can easily “typecast” you in the eyes of a potential recruiter.
Show potential recruiters that there are more colours in your paintbox than the ones they normally associate you with.
So how can you avoid becoming “typecast” in your career? You can learn new skills that you can add to your “grab bag” of tricks, take on projects outside of a normal contract to flex your talents. Having a skillset that is not as strong as it could be could be one of the reasons why you are not getting the attention you deserve, because recruiters may view you as someone who is not “versatile” enough to take on other roles and are not willing to take the risk in putting you forward.
Take a good hard look at your CV and ask yourself the following questions;
- Is this showcasing my achievements?
- Is this selling me effectively?
- How would a potential recruiter view me?
- Is there anything that isn’t adding value to my CV?
- Are all my skills being highlighted?
Once you’ve completed analysing your CV and body of work you should be able to identify several areas that you want to highlight or bring to the attention of a recruiter. The goal of this exercise is to show potential recruiters that there are more colours in your paintbox than the ones they normally associate you with.
I recently had a recruiter contact me about a roll out contract on the basis that I have performed this several times before, during the discussion the recruiter commented “I see that you also done 1st – 3rd line support” to which I immediately responded with my “elevator speech” and made a point of making the recruiter aware that I am looking for opportunities to demonstrate my skills and broaden my knowledge and experience through diverse assignments, which could in turn earn them potentially more commission if they were to pitch my services at a higher level.