Heidi Levitt with some advice on how to be an actor and the relationship between actors and casting directors.
Every actor strives to find the spark of truth in every action and every word spoken. The goal is to act without showing you are acting. This is a truly an extraordinary task. It is important for actors to realize that just as hard as they work to get the part, the casting director will have worked equally hard to find them. Every day and often into the night, too, we are seeking to fulfill the vision of the writers, directors, and producers by casting the actor who fits so seamlessly into the role, that it is almost impossible to imagine anyone else playing the part.
The journey of casting is a shared adventure between the seekers and the talent. I consider myself a terribly conscientious hunter and gatherer; I feel pangs of guilt knowing I may have skipped over a submission or email. I am all too often Googling late into the night,much to my husband’s chagrin! The Internet has given us an endless supply of talent to sift through and study.
Honestly, we must rely on all the curators of talent. How can we possibly know everyone? And though some actors may slip through the cracks, the best ones tend to stay in the game long enough to be discovered. If we missed them the first time in their equity waiver showcase or in that fleeting guest spot, the talented actor will do it again and again until that tastemaker, agent, manager or casting director, finds them and knows that attention must be paid.
I think actors who have built long careers are those who approach their career from a similar conscientious point of view: learning, researching and practicing their skills, arriving at auditions with pictures and resumes stapled, in hand. (I consider myself a 21st-century techie CD, but I still need tactile reminders.) Actors must prepare to find the extraordinary moment in the room with us.
At The Golden Globes in 2010, Meryl Streep stated it was not that she herself is extraordinary (Who are you kidding, Meryl?) but more importantly, that she is the vessel for extraordinary characters. Well, not every role will be a Meryl Streep-award-winning-kind-of-part and not every actor will have that opportunity, but just as every casting director must do the extra work to discover the best talent, actors must strive to be extraordinary in roles big and small, starting from the ground up, building a career that lasts.
Truly we all want the same things. Both the seekers of talent and the actors that fulfill themselves by giving life to a character. Sometimes, I may be a discoverer, sometimes a doula nurturing the process, sometimes a mother hen protecting it, but always like the actor, I am seeking the truth.
Rest assured, the casting directors are the first ones watching you celebrate as you walk the red carpet. Remember us as you celebrate the extraordinary. Chances are, we were there, behind the scenes at the very beginning.
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