Casting Directors have been around officially since the late 60s-early 70s. There’s a superb film – CASTING BY – that covers those early years very well (when American Broadway actors would be found for films instead of the other way around, as it is today). It’s been said we have the “keys to the kingdom,” and you have to get our approval before you can truly begin to “achieve your dreams.”
I’ve been a CD for 24 years now. Jeff Greenberg (Frasier, Modern Family) gave me my big break and helped me achieve my dreams. I’ve been in the inner sanctum known as Network TV (before Cable as we know it) and I’ve struggled to make ends meet working in New Media. I truly have seen it all . . . and I’m here to tell you, we are human.
1) We Love Actors. Period. We grew up watching non-stop TV, film, and some of us, like me, theater as well. We were not the most popular kids. We never dreamed we’d have a job as cool as this one . . . because we are star struck and love actors. Actors have given us a gift – we can get lost in their emotions and experiences when they perform. You help us by feeling and doing things we can’t. Crying or laughing in the dark, as part of an audience, is one of favorite things.
2) We Are Not Acting Teachers. Although some of us do teach and coach actors, when we are a casting director In The Room or watching self-tapes/demos, we have to find the best actors and, especially for TV, we have to find them friggin’ fast. If we had all the time, energy, and stamina in the world, we could spend at least 20 minutes on each actor who comes in, redirecting and such, making them a better performer, but we don’t, so we go with our gut. For those of us who’ve been doing this a long time, our gut is damn good at sniffing out bs and moving on – also good at spotting true talent.
3) We Are Not Your Adversaries. Don’t be intimidated by us. We want to connect with you, yes even when we might seem distracted and not look up as much as you would like. We have a lot on our minds. The whole project rests on our already weary shoulders. Sometimes we can hide that pressure and stress from you, sometimes we can’t. But we always want you to be The One. Please be together and brilliant. That’s all we ask.
4) We Have Lives. If we would watch every demo that comes our way or attend everything we’re invited to, we’d never eat, do laundry, take care of kids or see our friends, mates, or families. We wouldn’t take good care of ourselves (which, alas, is what happened to me.) Slow down with the postcards (which we don’t keep), links, newsletters, invitations. Just do the work, and if you’re great, we’ll find you.
Thanks for listening.