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    From: J. Michael Straczynski <>
 Subject: The Casting Process
      To: CIS  
    Date: 7/31/1997 6:56:00 PM  

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Rebecca Eschliman <> asks:
> Since the you are undoubtedly being besieged by "you should cast
> <insert name of choice> for your new character," could you shed
> light on the casting process, whether it be for a regular or a
> guest shot? You've said that you (as execprod) wait for someone to
> come in and knock you socks off (or something to that effect),
> but is there a sort of cabal of casting directors (now there's a
> term of venery for you <g>) who get together from time to time
> and trade promising people ("Whoziwhatsis wasn't right for the
> show we're casting, but he/she might be dynamite for your
> show...")? Do casting directors actively seek out actors they've
> seen do guest shots on other shows, or do they wait for the more
> savvy actors' agents to do their thing?

Our casting director, Fern Champion (and I can't tell you the
amount of humor we have with that name), like all casting directors,
makes the rounds of theaters and movies and TV shows to see who's hot.
So she has her own list. On top of that, once a role comes out in a
script, it goes out to actor's agents in what's called a "breakdown," a
two- or three-paragraph description of the character: age, sex,
attitude, the part itself, guest or recur or regular...all that. The
various agents then send the info on to their clients who seem to fit
the bill. Then if the actor is interested, the agents sends "sides,"
meaning pages from the script in which the character appears.

If the actor likes the sides, and the character, the agent then
contacts the casting director and tries to get their client into the
audition. There's some prescreening...if we see the resume ahead of
time, and actor X doesn't have the training or experience, we move
on...but in the end, we get anywhere from 5-9 people in for an
audition. If we like one of those, we cast that person. If we're
caught on two, we do a callback with those two and decide. (We = the
CD, me, John, Doug and the director.)


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