“You only have to see one person to play the role, so if I miss that one tape, I’m devastated” – Casting Director David Rapaport
Founder of Rapaport/Baldasare Casting, Casting director David Rapaport, has cast television series like Gossip Girl, Arrow, The Flash, Riverdale, and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, recently spoke to Entertainment Weekly about the process of casting his programs. It was filled with a wealth of information for actors to learn about the process, some of which will probably dispel what actors assume about sending in self-taped auditions (e.g., “They’ll never watch them!”)
Rapaport reveals that even though they receive hundreds of submissions for even small parts and only have 3 to 8 days to cast an episode (with 8 to 10 weeks to cast a pilot), they watch every submission because they’re afraid of missing the perfect fit. He says, “You only have to see one person to play the role, so if I miss that one tape, I’m devastated.”
What also comes out of watching all those submissions is finding talent that may not be right for a particular part, but are worth keeping in mind for future opportunities. He explains, “If you’re in the business long enough, it does start to feel like a small pool. You start to get your favorite actors that you keep bringing in.” For example, if Rapaport brings in 20 actors to read, he might invite up to 12 of these “favorite actors” to audition. In other words, talent does get multiple shots at success when Rapaport sees potential.
One example of second chances is none other than KJ Apa, who plays Archie on Riverdale. Rapaport admits, “I passed on him the first time he came in. He didn’t seem prepared.” However, Apa was invited back for another audition when they couldn’t find the right person for the part. Rapaport admits, “He came back in and his read blew me away. Sometimes people have bad days and you miss something.”