BWW Reviews: Jen Rudin's CONFESSIONS OF A CASTING DIRECTOR Explains What You Need to Get the Part
No one ever said getting a job was easy. That's especially true among actors. There are few jobs in which so many work so hard for so much work waiting tables and running messages instead of what they've trained to do. One problem is that despite all of the time performers spend in learning and honing their crafts, there's much less emphasis on the equally vital skill of getting casting directors to recognize their worth.
Jen Rudin aims to level the playing field with CONFESSIONS OF A CASTING DIRECTOR (itbooks, a division of HarperCollins). Rudin should know. A former performer herself, she's gone on to establish a successful business as a casting director, for theatre, television, and films. She's formerly a casting director for Walt Disney, which means that you've almost certainly seen the fruits of her labors at the New Amsterdam or in a cinema.
CONFESSIONS isn't the sort of tell-all one might expect by the title, which could conjure up lurid images of the infamous "casting couch" - rather, it's an expose of something else entirely... the nuts and bolts of getting a job as a performer. From how to write an acting resume or pose a head shot, to how to land and survive auditions, it covers areas that people either think they know but don't, and ones they may never have considered at all - like the best uses of social media and personal websites and the disasters that can befall actors who misuse their Facebook. There's copious advice for parents of talented children, from how not to be a Mama Rose to what to do about your family's living arrangements should your child land a Broadway part or a film role. There's even vital advice about what to consider before moving from New York (or your home town) to LA for actors whose careers take them to California.
CONFESSIONS is laden with relevant anecdotes from actors and family members who have been there, as well as with sample documents, photos, and even a glossary of industry terms and a collection of resources. Need an apartment in New York? Need a dance instructor? Yes, it's there. Need to know where to buy scripts, or what to take for your first time auditioning at Equity? That's there too. Need to know how to stay psyched for an audition when the person who just left the audition room is trying to psych you out? Rudin's got you covered. Need to know what to do if you get offered a part on a web show? Covered. There's even some in-depth coverage of how to try to make it in reality television, that growing segment of television work.
Between misinformation and the total lack of knowledge some performers have starting out, there are a great many illusions about how to land work, or how to steer your child into a part. Rudin does a first-rate job of dispelling the misconceptions about what's involved with the auditioning process and the full casting process, including lifting the veil on just what it is that casting directors are thinking when they're at work. Demystifying the process is crucial for all performers, even those seeking their first part in community theatre - speaking of which, can a community theatre actor get a professional part? Rudin shows you how to navigate the great leap.
From knowing whether or not to take props to knowing if you need a Coogan account, Rudin explains everything from reading the audition announcement through landing the part, and what to do once you've landed it. It's a valuable contemporary resource for all performers seeking work - unless you're too big to audition and the directors have started calling you, this is a book that a performer needs in their arsenal. Valuable not just for aspiring actors and stage parents, it's useful for those who have been working for some time but feel the need to make some changes in their approach to seeking parts, or who want to see what else there is to know when looking.
CONFESSIONS is now available.