Summer 2021

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F or today's working actors, cultivating and maintaining professional relationships is as important as it's ever been, none more so than the ones with casting directors. At times, it may feel like this dynamic is one-sided, but the truth is casting directors greatly value their relationships with actors. Not only will they advocate for performers, but also some remain invested in a performer's career well beyond the duration of an initial project. "When we meet someone and see something in them, we more actively follow that actor's career to see what they're doing and where they're getting hired," said former Casting Society of America Co-President Russell Boast. "There are actors who I've been trying to hire, literally, for 25 years." As in any other field of work, main- taining these relationships requires constant effort. The best way to build a rapport with casting directors is to have great auditions under your belt — after all, casting directors are sought out by directors and producers for their unique connection to talent, and building a positive reputation through auditioning can be a career-changer. The first thing to remember is that every audition requires preparation. As an actor, it's easy to focus solely on rehearsing your lines — and taking time to rehearse is important. But take some time to also do a little research. Review the director's past films or, if auditioning for a television series, be sure to watch several episodes to understand the show's tone. Casting directors will be doing this as well, and Angela Peri, CSA, and Lisa Lobel, CSA, of Boston Casting in Massachusetts note that this research helps them better understand a project. "All directors have a style, and when we're working with [someone new], we'll watch two or three of their movies beforehand," said Peri. She advises actors to, "Really do your in-depth analysis, because the deeper you go, the better the performance." For those working in larger markets, it's a good idea to research the casting director. That may mean looking back at your past work to see if you've previously On YOUR SIDE Nurturing Your Professional Relationship with Casting Directors auditioned for a casting director, or even finding articles and interviews about them. Taking these extra steps can prevent you from committing certain faux pas and lets you know more about what casting — and, ultimately, the director — is looking for. Said former CSA Co-President Rich Mento, "Social media is a really good way that actors can get to know casting directors. There are a lot of us doing podcasts and interviews now, and there's so many things I learned from listening to my colleagues, [and] actors can really make use of what's out there." Auditions are the best way casting directors get to know you. But to make the most of your professional relationship with casting directors, it's important that you also take time to get to know them as well. No two auditions are alike, and every type of role — television, film and commercial — requires a different 54 SAG-AFTRA | Summer 2021 |

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