“Focus, don’t stretch yourself too thin, and be realistic about the roles you are right for” – Casting Director Jen Rudin
It’s a question on every actor wants to know the answer to: what goes through the mind of a casting director? Casting director Jen Rudin recently sat down with Business 2 Community to discuss several topics, including how new media like YouTube factors into her casting process. Rudin is a longtime casting director who previously worked with Disney and is also the author of Confessions of a Casting Director.
Rudin explains that she seeks talent in all different kinds of media these days. She says, “Online content is growing, so I pay attention to that. We’ve seen a lot of talent come out of YouTube. I will see shows at UCB [Upright Citizens Brigade] and the PIT, I see a lot of theater, and I watch a lot of T.V. I’m always looking for talent. The agent is the seller and we are the buyer. I constantly meet people.”
However, Rudin certainly doesn’t find talent in just any YouTube video she comes across — content is still extremely important. She notes, “Technology is great, however, it doesn’t substitute for talent. When it comes to decisions, talent is always bigger. Anyone can post a video on YouTube and not have talent. There’s no longevity in that… I pay attention to it if it has a good story with compelling characters. Compelling characters are what I’m looking for. I can usually tell within a couple of minutes whether it’s worth my time or not.”
Rudin also had advice for when an actor should feel like signing with an agent is a necessity. She points out, “It’s the million-dollar question. I have a whole chapter about getting an agent. You get an agent once you start to have a little buzz. Actors can meet agents through networking at One On One, Actors Connection, etc. Sometimes you have to pay to network in this industry, but there are some success stories that come out of it. When you meet with an agent or manager, it’s important to be professional, and not come across as desperate. I suggest making a Google Doc and list all of the CD’s you’ve worked with and who know you. Don’t be a passive actor.”
Quality over quantity is another important aspect. Rudin recommends that actors concentrate on roles they would be best suited for, not just any role that comes along. She says, “You have to be realistic. Actors think they should be auditioning for everything all the time. Focus, don’t stretch yourself too thin, and be realistic about the roles you are right for. Manage expectations, keep it real. You must know your strengths and what characters you can play.“