Our May seminar speaker was the fantastic Michael Sanford. Michael and his wonderful team have worked with many top commercial, television, and film directors, as well as production companies and advertising agencies. Several of these clients have been nominated or have won the Oscar, Emmy, DGA, and various other awards while collaborating with Sanford Casting. In 2006, Michael broadened the company’s vision to include casting projects in the Spanish Language market. In 2010, he launched a feature-length and short film division whose recent credits include A Pebble of Love, A Reason, California Solo, The Artist, I Melt with You, Mosquita y Mari, The Sleepy Man, and Dustland. He shared the 2012 CSA Artios Award with his mentor and fellow casting director Heidi Levitt for their collaboration on The Artist. Additionally, Michael received the 2013 Seymour Heller Award for Commercial Casting Director of the year, which is given by the Talent Managers Association. He is also currently serving on the Diversity Committee with the Casting Society of America.
Here are just a few tips that came out of the seminar.
Casting director Lisa Pantone joined us for our March 2017 seminar, where she shared a lot of great information with us. Let’s review some of the things she had to say.
1. Be Present During Auditions
One of the biggest mistakes actors make is rushing through an audition. They fly through the copy, just trying to get through it and get out of the room. You were called in for a reason. Be present. Be connected to the material. Experience the reality of the scene and allow yourself to be in the moment.
Casting director Katie Taylor joined us for our February 2017 seminar, where she shared a lot of great information with us. Let’s see some of the things she had to say.
1. If You’re Getting Avails, You’re Doing It Right
Success can be hard to measure when you’re an actor, especially if you don’t seem to be booking anything. Getting avail after avail without getting that coveted booking can be frustrating as an actor, but just remember that if you are getting an avails, you are succeeding! It may not seem like it after getting released from your 3rd avail in a row, but if you are getting to that point, it means you are doing something right. So just keep doing what you’re doing, and those bookings will not be far behind.
Casting director Mel O’Neil of Mel and Liz Casting joined us for our January 2017 seminar, where she gave us lots of helpful hints and useful information. Let’s check out some of her wisdom below!
1. Getting an Audition Is Like Winning the Lottery
Sometimes, actors tend to be nonchalant about having an audition. But the fact of the matter is that of the potentially thousands of talent that were submitted to a given role, if you are one of the lucky few to get an audition, you have essentially won the lottery. Don’t take that for granted! Show up ready to go, and be grateful for the opportunity!
Casting director Jeff Gerrard was kind enough to join us for our pre-holiday seminar on December 17th. Considering the fact that LA starts to look like a ghost town as the holidays approach, we were very grateful to get him.
1. Social Media: The New Normal?
He wasn’t terribly happy to give the answer and no one in the audience was happy to hear the answer, but the fact is that yes, in some cases your social media presence is taken into account when casting. It’s just the reality of the changing age, so get savvy with those profiles, people. However, don’t just start following a bunch of people, so that they’ll follow you back. This drives me nuts. If you follow 10,000 people, then no, I am not following you back.
The wonderful casting directors Maya Adrabi and Lindsay Bronson joined us for our November seminar to share some of their wisdom and experience with us. Let’s see what they had to say.
1. Make sure all of the dates work for you.
If you have an audition, then a callback, then an avail, and then you get booked for the job, and then you tell your agent that you have a trip to Europe that week, you’re doing things backwards. When you get an audition, make sure you check all of the dates and make sure that they work for your schedule. If the dates don’t work, tell your agent (or if you submitted yourself, tell casting) and things might still work out for you. But things will certainly not work out for you and your professional relationships if you hold that information until you get booked for a job.
The personable and, as confirmed by one of our Twitter followers, funny casting director Tim Harrington joined us for our August seminar to impart some more wisdom for our talented users. Let’s cut to the chase and get to that wisdom.
1. What do you regret not doing in the past? Okay, now do those things.
It’s easy to sit and wonder “what if” all the live-long day, but it’s not at all productive. Sit down and take stock of all the things you regret doing not doing, then make a plan of action to do those things going forward. This sounds really simple, but it kind of blew my mind. Maybe because I’m dumb? Who’s to say.
It was terrific to have casting director Gabrielle Schary come in for our June seminar, as she shared with us some great tips to succeed in the commercial casting world. From questions you might get asked at an audition, to current trends in the industry, take a look at the Top 5 Takeaways from our seminar with Gabrielle Schary.
1. Be prepared to answer questions about yourself.
Gabrielle (and many other casting directors) like to ask actors questions about themselves, to get a better idea of their personality. Oftentimes, you will not get a lot of copy in an audition, so you might be asked questions such as, “What was your best day ever?” or “What scares you the most?” Just relax, and be ready to talk about the real YOU.
The charming and funny casting director Danielle Eskinazi joined us in May to talk about everything from casting decisions to what you should do with your hair to social media to what you should do with your hair to age type to what you should do with your hair, PLUS . . . what you should do with your hair. Seriously, this month’s seminar had question after question about hair, from what ended up being an inexplicably high number of people, the answers to which can’t even be included here, because they were specifically about their hair. Anyway, here are some great takeaways that aren’t about hair!
1. Casting decisions are mysterious and unknowable.
Don’t bother wondering why you do or don’t get cast. Client decisions are mysterious and inscrutable. If you drive home wondering if you should have done this or that, or when you don’t get a callback wonder if it was your outfit or scene partner, or when you don’t book it after being on avail start to wonder if you should change your entire face and body and identity and state and occupation – don’t. Casting sort of lives and dies on people’s gut feelings and are probably a mystery to the decision makers themselves. And you should find that comforting, instead of feeling like you’re basing your whole life on a piece of driftwood that’s sitting in a soggy marsh of instability, the ultimate fate of which is determined by an inscrutable god. Ha ha ha ha – acting is fun!