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Casting Called Out

I asked an AD to look over my resume, and make some suggestions. He pointed to two listings for “Casting PA,” both on game shows.

“Get rid of these”

“Why?”

“No one respects the casting department. They don’t do any work. It makes you look lazy.”

Wow.

The thing is, I knew he kinda had a point. I never got paid more for doing less than when I was a casting PA. Basically, I hung around with the contestants, and occasionally shuttled them to wherever they needed to go.

I worked on two different game shows, and in both cases, the casting associates regarded themselves as the cool kids. They didn’t know anybody outside their department, and they didn’t want to know anybody outside.

Another thing I noticed was, a lot of these folks were failed actors and actresses. I guess they spent so much time sitting across from casting directors that they thought, “Hell, I could do that.”

In my time as an office PA, I interacted with casting very little. Mostly, they just called when they needed something. They rarely came by to just hang out, like people from just about every other department. (Even camera!)

Needless to say, I have a pretty negative view of the casting department. But I also recognize that it’s a fairly limited one. Does anybody have any stories that might  change my mind?

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7 Responses

  1. Ha, ha, funny story. It is interesting that a job might make you appear lazy (or something else less favorable) in the CV, but some does, that’s a fact.

  2. A few weeks ago, you mentioned that you worked on a game show and you wondered what the director actually did. Turns out, they did basically nothing. That’s the nature of game shows.

    That’s why you were told to take it off. If you were a casting PA on “House” or “Lost”, you would have been encouraged to bring those credits to the forefront. I mean, do you really think that a feature film director, who worked his way up the latter, would put that game show on his directors reel? Not likely.

  3. So as an actor who interned in casting I can tell you that there is a large difference between game show casting and actual show casting. For a real show you have to find actors who fit into parts, coordinate their look if casting a family, make sure they fit into the feel of the show, and generally deal with production trying to fuck you over and cut costs. I worked for two shows, both of which had production off site. Generally, we would get a call once a day asking for us to cut what we were paying the actors after things had already been approved by production. On multiple occasions we were told to book actors only to be told later that “oops, we meant the other guy, sorry.” Imagine if you will that you wanted a great job. Someone calls you and tells you that you’ve got it. Now imagine getting called the next day and being told, “sorry, the boss didn’t mean you, our bad.” So generally, I would say casting is there to make the show look good, make sure there is great talent, and be the whipping boy for production because they will never admit they are wrong.

  4. I read scripts for the episodes, broke down the episode by characters and would write a description of what was needed for the character. Would then help the casting director go through the breakdown with the producers at a concept meeting to determine whether or not this description was on target with what they wanted or if they had any ideas for who they wanted to cast (specifically big celebrities for bigger roles) we would then pull the people we wanted to audition and set up appointments for their auditions. I sat in on all the casting sessions video taping them for our records, and even got to read with some of the actors during their auditions, which was really cool. After the producer/director/casting director decided who they wanted to cast I got to help make phone calls to the agents and negotiate contracts and prices to distro to production so that they could begin the rest of the process. Thats just the basics of what i did on a daily basis… tons more would come up but you learn a lot about production and TV and the look of a show and what people need and want and act. I am surprised to hear they even have casting directors for game shows… it seems sort of strange. I dont think its fair for you to hate on the casting department. Whenever you see a movie or a TV and you see some one who is PERFECT in their role… that is the result of a good casting director being able to find and bring that talent to the right role.

  5. OK. I dont think this is fair. Casting PA for a GAME SHOW?? Like really the amount of actual casting on that and the type of people you get… well there isn’t much of a craft or skill involved there it seems. I was an intern in a casting office for a major network TV show in hollywood… I wont say which one… but they worked me to the core! Every one loved and respected the casting department because they truly shaped the look of the show and I really learned SOOOOOO much!! I mean without casting it would just be the producer’s talentless kids on every TV show!!! RESPECT THE CASTING!

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