Since my last post, I have found that time is an issue for casting directors and actors. There has to be respect on both sides. Whether Beth Melsky Casting sessions are union or non-union, they are scheduled the same way. We do not do cattle calls. We follow the spec and script and then schedule accordingly.
We hate having actors wait too long. We cannot always control callbacks because we are dealing with a director and client but I do the best to anticipate what might happen.
As far as my first calls, I really want quality sessions that run smoothly. This is why my office is so strict about time changes or even losses.
There is a real reason why we cannot accommodate all time changes. I hate getting agent submissions with actors that I am excited to see, but to find out that they are not available because they have not booked out or updated their schedules with their agent. We are trying to make every session perfect. We need the right type at a specific time for many reasons.
I can be doing five characters in a day with small windows for each one. Letting actors walk in whenever they want makes for a sloppy casting session and makes it harder for the people watching to get a sense of what they have. That can lead to more casting or too many callbacks. Some auditions require multiple actors of different types to make a scene work. We need to re-create the storyboard or script as closely as possible when setting up a session. I try and anticipate how long an audition will take and leave enough time for the casting director to do a great job and give all actors a fair chance. If actors are running late or just cancel, it throws off the whole session. I have had actors waiting way beyond their time because of this. They get as frustrated as we do.
Again, there are two sides to everything. First calls out of Beth Melsky Casting are very important. Our directors and clients look very closely at casting sessions. They trust us to do a great job and to get them to callbacks. This is like putting together a puzzle. When one piece does not fit, or needs a time change, or didn’t book out, I have to keep re-doing the puzzle.
I think the point I am trying to make here is that it is not the casting director against the agent or actor. The business has changed so much for all of us. In this fast paced business, a lot of effort and attention to detail are required and, in order to keep working, we have to make these changes. Casting directors, agents, and actors have to work together to make this process go smoothly and keep the quality.
My office might have a reputation for being difficult and I just want everyone to know that it is because we want to put out great casting sessions that will keep the process going.
A quality casting session in New York on a job shooting in New York will make those clients cast the next job in New York.
I’m not sure the casting process has ever been explained clearly to actors so it is hard to understand our actions. I would like if agents and their assistants understood the way casting sessions worked. I have made the offer for them to spend a day in my office to learn, but nobody seemed to care enough. I think certain things could be explained to all actors in a way that they would be happy to make more of an effort. We are working together to not only keep a very unclear business going, but to show respect for everyone who is trying to get a job done right.