Tuesday, April 25, 2006

More on Casting Directors

Thanks to Anonymous and OhioProf for their comments on my last post. I'm inspired to throw a few reactionary tidbits together here.

First, about Casting Directors...

I hate saying it, but yeah — sometimes I do wonder whether they really know what's "good." The problem to a certain extent, I think, is that casting is indeed rather parochial — it's easy to think that the talent you call in, and the results you get from the particular way in which you run your auditions, are representative of the larger talent pool (or the best that can be wrung from the talent pool) if you constantly draw your actors from one place and/or you don't provide an environment where the talent can surprise the end-client. And I would even dispute that some casting directors really know what their clients want. If they did, I'm not sure they would do so much directing during auditions. Unless the client is a real dick, the norm by far is to provide a variety of reads within the parameters of the casting specs. Directors, for instance, want to know that an actor's not a "Single-Note Sally" — that they'll be able to go in different directions if need be — so why some CDs practically give line readings to actors is beyond me (especially in a town known for its pool of improvisers). Of course, I can't fault CDs for wanting to follow what's worked best for them in the past, but if, for instance, you only ever pull your talent from edgy, provocative theatres, then you shouldn't be surprised if your client wonders why few people on your casting tape don't seem to have a great deal of comic timing (not to mention camera technique).

Oh and secondly, thanks for the encouragement to go into writing, but the fact is that I decided a while back not to be one of those actors who tries to be a "hyphenate" — a la actor-director, actor-writer, etc. No disrespect towards Sam Shephard, William H. Macy, et alia who can do it (and do it well), but I have enough distractions in my life, and what I really need to do is focus my creative energies more so I can excel in one area, rather than dissipate those energies by dabbling in lots of different things. 'Sides, I generally think one should have a passion for what one does, and while I enjoy writing, my real passion lies in front of the footlights, so thence I go.

4 comments:

chicago goof said...

The casting process in this town is so foreign to me, that I have gotten to the point where I don't really give a damn anymore who thinks I'm good and who doesn't. It's pretty incestuous actually, and if we really knew to what extent we would probably quit. So I think basically you just have to go with your instincts and if they like it fine if they don't who cares

Evan said...

Goof, I applaud your indifference. Seriously! That's the basic attitude which serves actors best in auditions, I think: Do your absolute best, and if they don't like it it's their loss.

chicago goof said...

To carry it one step further, Evan, your absolute best turns out to be YOU..The more you can put all the bullshit aside and let YOURSELF emerge in an audition, the more authentic, real, and unique you are going to be..thus increasing your chances of being cast. I believe the ultimate audition is one where the actor blows every preconceived notion of "what they want" out of the water because he/she presented such a unique, fresh and interesting take on whatever it is they are casting. It requires an actor to be completely fearless, but I believe there is no other choice..Not only that, but as an actor if you try to put your finger on the pulse of the casting process, you will drive yourself absolutely insane..

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