Understanding the Dreaded Allback

by Casting Director Justin Radley, CCDA

            It’s 4:45 on a Friday afternoon, and we’re still waiting for callback selects from the agency.  It’s a little frustrating, since our last day of casting was two days ago, and the callback is supposed to start at 9:00AM tomorrow (Saturday) morning.  I know the agency creative team is flying into town today, so I’ll resist the urge to send another email nagging the producer for their picks.  The director gave us his picks this morning.  He had a decent number of choices, about 5 or 6 for each role, and more importantly, he was really happy with the overall casting.  It’s a good sign the callback tomorrow will be short enough that I might make it to my son’s baseball game Saturday afternoon.  Fingers crossed.

Read More

Make It Your Own... But Not Too Much

by Casting Director Justin Radley, CCDA

          “Didn’t you read my treatment?”

          “They hardly even used the script!”

          “Why was everyone so over-the-top?”

          “You did get the latest script I sent, didn’t you?”

          It was an ambush.  The director and producer had me on speakerphone so they could take turns firing verbal blows at me.  Very efficient. 

          Now I don’t want to give the impression that getting yelled at by clients is a regular occurrence for me.  The majority of directors and creative individuals with whom I’ve had the pleasure to work and collaborate in the roughly 15 years I have been casting have been courteous and professional.  I can think of only two occasions in that time when a client was so fired up that voices were raised.  This is one of those times.     

          Apparently the director and producer had decided to watch the casting session with the agency creative team, which is unusual for first calls but not unheard of, and the director was embarrassed that the casting session didn’t play out the way the creative team had envisioned the concept of the spot.  Not even close.  Swing and a miss.  Big time.  Of this, they were making me painfully aware.

           As the verbal lashing continued, I reached for my morning coffee and sort of zoned out, trying to recall what could’ve caused things to go so horribly, horribly wrong.  The director’s first of the many queries in his line of…  uh…  querying echoed in my head, Didn’t you read my treatment?  …my treatment…  my…  treat…  ment…  Hmmm…  I think I’m onto something.

Read More

You've Just Won the Lotto

by Casting Director Justin Radley, CCDA

A recent Variety article by Jenelle Riley details the fortuitous path fledgling actor Jeffry Griffin took to land on screen with Ryan Gosling in a number of scenes of the hit movie The Big Short.  I love hearing success stories like this.  It proves that if an actor positions himself in the right place at the right time, that ethereal dream of booking a role in a major motion picture with a star-studded cast is attainable – as long as the actor is prepared.  According to the article, a PA on the film plucked Griffin “at random” from a pool of about a hundred extras to play Gosling’s assistant.  Although I’m skeptical the decision was as random as it may have appeared to Griffin at the time -- actors rarely realize how much thought goes into casting -- Griffin proved he could rise to the challenge and went on to have a great experience shooting a scene with Gosling.

While congratulations are certainly in order for Griffin, there was one part of Griffin’s success story that bugged me.  It was this:

…he got a call two weeks later from Charlotte Gale in the casting department.  She asked what he was doing the next day and he replied he was shooting a Louisiana Lotto commercial…  “She said, ‘Cancel it.  You’ve just won the Lotto.’”

Read More