Abuse in Casting

badauditionAn interesting question was raised by a fellow director recently. Apparently, he has received rather nasty comments from actors who were not offered a part in a Community Theatre production. I would like to point out that I use Community Theatre in order to differentiate the scenario from paid/professional theatre, not to denigrate the community.

My personal experiences having cast for both Community and Professional theatre has, on the whole, been usually acceptable. There has been the odd occasion where an audtionee has gotten a little bent about not getting a role. I have even lost a friendship over such a casting decision.

While I have yet to get the racist, sexist, type slurs that some other directors I know have had, dealing with an aggressively defensive applicant is not fun. The process is not unlike a job application, of which I also supervised as a manager in a Government capacity.

The main difference between a job interview and a casting for theatre/film, is that a job interview is all about skill and personality. Actors will also be judged on looks, and charisma. Not only should you have the required skill, you will also be completing with people who may look more the part than you do.

So in the casting process, when you are presented with a number of strong set of candidates, you have little choice but to get picky about what you want. After all, there can only be one for each role. I agonise over choices like this because I hate letting people down, but this is going to be a given, and someone is going to get let down.

So to have someone turn around and slander you for your choice is a slap in the face. In a way, it reveals something about the person you may have not learnt before, how they handle rejection. This may say more about the person than allowing them to perform in person.

So, to all the casting directors, I have a suggestion. As a final test for your chosen cast members, you should reject them first and see how they respond. If they are humble, thankful, or general mature about it, then flip it one them and say “Congratulations. That was the final test. When can you start?”

For those that reject your rejection, well, you know where they can go; a list that then gets shared with agents and casting directors alike.

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