Here is a little bit about me and what it’s like being a casting director now versus when I started. It is important for actors to understand how drastically the business has changed. It might help in learning new things that we all have to do to try to keep the business going…for all of us.
I used to love being a casting director. I still love casting. I love casting the same way actors love acting. Now the business is so out of whack and lost; only about 20% of each workday for me is actually about “casting.” The rest is business. Casting is an art. It is very rewarding and exciting for me, even after 30 years, to book a job. That means I did my job.
Unfortunately, the jobs that require my casting eye and expertise are few and far between. So much of it has become navigating the business with expertise on rules, rates, and respect. My expertise is needed by a lot of new producers and companies that need knowledge to get them the best talent for the best rate and keep the casting process done with quality. Budgets for casting have decreased, money for actors has decreased, and money for production has decreased, but they still need my company’s expertise to put out a casting session as if every job was like a big paying union network job. I spend everyday trying to navigate all of this and be fair.
Right now is the best time for new actors to have more agent choices and more opportunity to audition with a greater chance to be seen and book. There is a lot of advice I can give you on how to do this and I will do that in my next blog post. This one is about how the casting director job has changed and how it affects some actors in a positive way and others in a negative way.
A great example of how the biz has changed is that 25 years ago, there was no non-union work. All commercials were SAG and clients were happy with 10-15 strong choices. They would pick three actors for callbacks; the actors’ chance of booking was incredible. John Goodman was the cream of the crop back then. He booked almost every commercial he auditioned for. Actors that booked lots of network commercials back then went onto success. Now we have to see 100 per part…really narrows down the chances.
Then, the first strike happened. We got through it and things went back to normal. Then the second strike hit, along with the Internet and nothing went back to normal. This is when the casting director’s job started to change. To stay in business, we had to change with it.
There are so many blanks to fill and if you show interest in the story, I will be happy to keep writing it. The invention of the Internet and then streaming content has changed the commercial business forever. I think I have an idea of where it’s going but we have to have faith that, at least for commercials, the only way to sell a product is to advertise.
The advertising business just needs to figure out how to get ads seen. There’s so much to learn and think about for all of us. I do not plan on ever closing my doors. I will change as I have to and hopefully be able to keep employing actors along with me. I have a lot more history to talk about as well as ideas moving forward and things we can do to help.