I have 2 passions in life. One is horseback riding and the other is casting. The most rewarding part of horseback riding for me is tackling a very difficult technique in English riding that will make me an even better rider. This weekend I was finally able to get the horse I ride “on the bit.” It’s very hard and the horse won’t just do it. You must know exactly how to ask him to do it. Once I accomplished this, it felt amazing. There were no extra added stresses or obstacles. Just this simple act of what I needed to do. It felt so rewarding.
My point, while it’s taken me a while to get to it, is the comparison between how I approached this difficult riding technique and how I approach casting. So many factors affect the process of casting. I would love to be able to do my casting job like how I approach a challenge while riding.
This is how the casting process SHOULD work: I should get a job, put out the breakdown, set up the casting session with the actors that were submitted by agents and that I feel are right, do the auditions, and have the client/director like the session and pick actors for a callback.
Here’s the big reward: book an actor or actors on the job. Every booking we do is still very rewarding to us. It’s still exciting and it means we did our job well.
This is what ruins the experience for us: The process to get to the job I was hired to do, “casting,” is so frustrating and way too time consuming. We have one day to prep and then we cast the next day. Picking the right actors is hard but can be very rewarding. The biggest problem here is that if I schedule 40 actors, 10 won’t be available, whether for the audition or the shoot, and another 10 will ask for time changes. Multiply that by three, because I’m prepping three jobs at once, and I can’t get a session together that I’m really happy with. I have to have a crazy amount of staff to try and manage this. I end up making way too many compromises and very often don’t feel great about the session. We have to see way too many people per role but I still want it right.
My point is that it would be so nice, like getting my horse on the bit, if we could just do the job exactly the way it should be done: prep, cast, callback, and book actors. I’m begging for every effort to be made to allow Beth Melsky Casting to do the job we were hired to do. I know there will always be issues but if we all step it up, maybe it will get easier. I’m asking for everyone’s help in cutting out so much bullshit.
Keep following my blog for an upcoming post with Billy Hopkins, an incredible legit casting director. We would all love to hear the challenges that part of the business is dealing with.