What is a “Go See”?

Throughout talent agencies worldwide, the term is so commonly heard that it has transcended slang to become its own accepted vocabulary, even as silly and simple as it may sound at first. But what exactly is a “go-see”, and what happens at one of them? The specifics can vary by type of industry and client, but at it’s essence, a go-see is a pre-arranged audition where a talent agency or client meets face to face with the model or actor to get a sense for their talents and what they have to offer. Usually, it’s a first time meeting, and the client is seeing many different people at one time, in a fast paced and efficient manner.

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The type of client can vary by project and industry, but is generally the company or individual seeking to hire the model/actor. In the world of modeling, an example of a client would be the magazine Teen Vogue, or a photographer who worked for them. Or, another example could be a young actor asked to attend a go-see for an upcoming television show for NBC. In that case, the client would likely be NBC, or a casting director working in tandem with them.

The individuals meeting with the talent at a go-see and are almost always the same people who are making the casting decisions. Sometimes there will be several different people at a go-see, and they can commonly consist of any of these roles, or a combination of them: Talent Agent, Casting Agent, Booking Agent, Director, Choreographer, Photographer, and so on, and assistants that are supporting any of these types of roles. When a model or actor attends a go-see, they should expect to see anywhere from one to five or six people at one time. These people are the ones tasked with finding the right model or actor for the job.

A go-see is not a casual appointment, and requires preparation and should be treated respectfully. Most go-see’s don’t require extensive specialized knowledge or intense hours of preparation. They more commonly function as a way to see a young model/actor’s innate talent. Oftentimes, a client will know exactly what they are looking for, and may be categorizing people into types of roles for a specific production or project. Other times, they may not know what they are looking for and may be seeking to develop a catalog of talent for future projects yet to be created. If a talent agency was hosting a go-see for the musical Annie for example, they could be evaluating how each actor reads aloud, while also noting their physical height, and seeing if they might fit into the role of an “orphan” or even the role of Annie herself.

At many go-see’s, it’s not unusual for the client to take photographs or film the meeting. Clients may keep this footage on file, as they want to build a pool of available talent they can choose from for both the immediate project as well as future opportunities as well. It also allows them to get a feel for what it’s like to work with the model/actor, and see how they appear on film, perhaps even with a particular product, or speaking a specific line.

It’s of great importance to bring a portfolio, a zed card (also known as a comp card,) and a resume to every go-see. You should bring several extra copies of your comp card and resume with the intention to leave them with the client at the conclusion of the go-see. If you don’t know what a portfolio or a comp card is, that may be the best place to begin your preparation. While young children may not have a portfolio yet, they should still always bring a headshot and several photos that give an accurate representation of the child. Parents bringing young children should have up to date measurements and be ready to complete forms requesting the child’s height, waist, shirt, pant, and shoe sizes.

A comp card, or zed card, is a specific type of business card that includes the model or actor’s headshot on the front, and several images on the back, along with his/her measurements and contact information. Many agencies require a comp card before they will proceed to book potential talent, so be sure to research the most common types of comp card for your industry, and follow its standards to the strictest detail. Although creating a comp card from scratch can seem like a daunting task, there are actually many resources available, and companies that will assist you with its creation, just as with regular business cards.

Make sure when submitting measurements, sizes, ages, and other factual characteristics at a go-see, you always reflect the true and most accurate information. Oftentimes, this can be for clothing and costumes, and you don’t want to make a bad first impression on the casting agent by fudging the details. Just like in a job interview, any perceived deception almost always takes an applicant out of the running immediately, and many times, one go-see can fuel several different types of projects or productions, each with their own needs and requirements.

Generally, when attending a go-see of any kind, the model/actor should dress in a simple, clean manner, appropriate to the product, line, or type of clothing most associated with the client. Unless you are given specific instructions, something that is cute, would fit in at a nice restaurant or theater, and allows for movement, would be the best type of outfit to wear. Simple, or no make-up is often recommended for young models and actors. If the client is seeking a glamourous look, they will often request it. They more often wish to get a sense for how a model actor actually looks, without the adornment of make up or fancy clothing, as their ultimate vision may differ from what yours is.

This leads us to the most frustrating and also most exciting element of a go-see. It’s very common for the model or actor to be completely unaware of what the client is looking for when they seek to fill a role, or to be kept in the dark as to what a casting team feels is the most valuable characteristic for the job. Sometimes the casting agency may be canvassing local talent for future modeling gigs or productions. In some cases, clients can even tailor their final product to the available talent. As a result, there’s really only so much preparation one can do for a go-see, when they don’t give a lot of details.

This means it’s almost always best practice to be yourself! Make sure that you are true to your essence at every point in the process. Casting agents would much prefer an honest and meaningful representation, especially when being matched and considered with jobs utilizing your own unique and special talents. As a rule of thumb, make sure you have fun, smile, and behave as one would at a job interview, after all, each go-see is a step closer to the career of your dreams!