Neely Gurman is a great casting director (and person!) to get to know. If you’re in LA, I highly recommended you take one of her workshops. She has great insight into the business and she always tries to call in former workshoppers for any of her projects.
She casts both union and non-union projects and and just wrapped a music video and a short film about the holocaust.
Keep an eye out for her breakdowns on Actors Access!
You’ve been working on your own now for a while, how do you like it?
Well, I love it.
How long have you been on your own?
Like 3 years.
How do you get your jobs?
A lot of hustling. You have to hustle, know a lot of people and do a lot of networking. It’s like living a nomadic lifestyle. Its almost like an actors life. Constant hustle and bustle.
You originally got your start at a talent agency then from there you moved to a casting internship at Universal Studios?
Yeah, I interned at Universal and then I worked my way up. I worked as an assistant, as an associate and then I kind of broke out on my own.
What’s your biggest do’s and dont’s?
Don’t come without a picture and resume.
I can’t believe people still do that.
Yeah. Don’t come and not have your resume stapled. Don’t get to close to the casting director, keep your distance. It’s distracting. Hm… oh, saying I just got the script yesterday. You know, someone who just got the script yesterday may nail it over someone who’s had it for a week. We know you just got the script yesterday. We gave you the audition. We know you just got it. Just prepare.
Say someone does one of those three, do you still consider them?
Well, obviously if they get to close then they’re new so they most likely wont get the job.
What do you think an actor should do when they first get to town?
They should take a class. They should take my class that that teaches the business side of it. The responsibility side of it. The proper steps. A lot of people don’t know. Be responsible and learn about the business.
You do workshops every couple months. Do you find people you people you normally wouldn’t have called in from these workshops?
Yes, I have hired, actually, a bunch of actors from my past workshops. But again, I don’t guarantee anybody a job. I just guarantee lots of good information about the business. The business side, not the acting side. How to help them get their own work, the proper steps to take to being a successful actor.
Do you mostly use Actors Access to get out your breakdowns?
Yeah, breakdowns and Actors Access. Once in a blue moon, LA Casting. Also, if people are on Actors Access and their going to submit themselves on a project, then make sure you check your C-Mail to make sure you didn’t get an audition. People confirm and they never show up.
That’s got to be annoying.
It is. Especially when I have a producers session, like this past video I worked on, people confirmed and they never showed up. So, I’m not going to want to call them back in.
Whats the best way to keep in touch with you?
You like them?
Yeah, it reminds me. But not once every week. Maybe once every couple months. I had an actor send me postcards all the time, once a week. I had to email her and tell her to stop!
I know who she is and I didn’t need to be reminded every minute. I think it’s a very big waste of postage.
Regarding contact information, agents say never put your personal information on your resume but casting directors always say you should. What do you think?
I absolutely think they should put their personal contact on there. Because a lot of times we will call actors after hours and we need to be able to get in touch with them. Their agents are closed and we have no way of getting in touch with them. So, definitely put it on there.
Do you watch reels?
Yeah, when I have time. I watch them online when I’m casting a project.
Anything else you’d like to add before we’re done?
One thing I want to say, actors… you don’t need to be off book for auditions. They think they need to be off book and its not about that. I think people get to stumbled up on trying to learn the lines instead of having the paper in their hands. You don’t need to memorize it. Its not a screen test. I think they need to focus on the sides and lines so they can get the material right.
And also, don’t start changing the lines. Especially if its comedy because the writers work so hard on the script and if actors start switching up the lines, then the jokes don’t work.