The casting directors who came out to celebrate theirs at the 38th annual Artios Awards on Thursday had a message for actors who fear self-tapping means sending their work into the abyss: They TO DO take the time to see your audition at home.
Casting Society president Destiny Lilly told Deadline that she recognizes that some actors likely think these self-recordings that were made during the pandemic ended up in a massive, unopened stack of Manila files. And that couldn’t be further from the truth, she said.
“Actors are the cornerstone of what we do. We couldn’t do what we do without actors,” Lilly said ahead of tonight’s awards show at the Beverly Hilton. “Of course I listen to actors when they want to say something and of course what they say is valid. I miss the connection of being in the room with people. That feeling of being with everyone and to have an actor come in and you think “that’s the person” I miss! During the pandemic, it wasn’t possible for us to do that. Now, as an industry, we’re slowly coming out of that, we’re all reassessing how we can approach casting, how to make it safe and as fair as possible, and to make sure the actors are able to do their best.
We watch your tapes,” Lilly continued. “The most important thing to know is that the actors work out casting issues. We try to find people. We look for you. We go through the tapes. One of the benefits of having tapes is that it allows us to watch more than we would if we only had 10 people in the room.Our goal is to see how we can make this process work for everyone.
Casting Society board member Steven Tyler O’Connor understands actors are missing out on in-person auditions, but no one has the luxury of offices anymore because of the pandemic. Most casting directors, like O’Connor, work from home.
“Until we can come back and have studios and offices to audition actors, what am I supposed to do, bring in actors and audition in my backyard?” he said. “We want to be back in the room. I love actors. I love seeing them in the room. I’m dying to come back into the room as much as them. But we have certain constraints on our side.
But he also thinks that being in the room doesn’t necessarily mean it’s always best for an actor. “I think this notion that being in person is an advantage…I don’t think that’s true. if the role is yours, the role is yours. It’s going to translate to tape,” O’Connor said.
Casting Society board member Wendy Kurtzman worries that the current self-cassette controversy is unnecessarily dividing the community into factions. “It’s not going to be constructive to let people sit squarely on one side and squarely on the other,” she said. “We’re in this together. You think we’re gatekeepers. Remember, we answer to producers and directors. We have a chain of command.
“The most important thing for me is to calm down [the situation]”, Kurtzman said. “The actors are frustrated, they want to see. And by the way, we want to see them. We like to be in the room with them. the cast can do to help mitigate that. But remember, we’re in the middle of the swing. You have the actors on one side and the producers, networks, and studios on the other. We’re in the middle . We try to guide people to get them hired. It’s our job. We want them, we need them, we love them. We’re all in this. I don’t know how all of a sudden this became an us against them.
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