5 REASONS CASTING DIRECTORS SHOULD BE HAPPY TO SEE WORKSHOPS GO
Anne DeAcetis
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Harris Reed (or whatever your name is);

Exactly what part of the entertainment business do you occupy? Your analysis of the state of the casting profession is ill-informed and insulting. “Casting workers”? Besides condescending, what exactly is that? We’re called casting directors.

Some facts, if you care:

~Casting directors have considerably more impact on the final cast than you suggest. In fact, most casts — even star studded ensembles — are created through a collaborative effort between director, producer and casting director. We are not clerks. We are artists. Maybe the reason you don’t work in this town is because you show so little respect for the true job developers in Hollywood.

Marion Dougherty, for the record, was not simply “allowed more input on a significant role.” She was responsible for starting the careers of Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Jean Stapleton, William Shatner, Joan Crawford, Christopher Walken, Gene Hackman,Martin Sheen , and Robert Duvall. To characterize her as some sort of secretary for her male directors is wrong and just plain sexist.

~The workshop phenomenon has existed for nearly 30 years, not 10. It has been a sorry scar on our industry for all those years. Not a “tool” as you suggest, but a shameful system of bribery that is finally being addressed here and across the media spectrum for what it is: a racket and nothing more.

~Their existence has never guaranteed work, or even a genuine relationship with casting; in fact, workshops encourage exactly the opposite. For you to bemoan their demise shows us all how little you know about the manner in which actors are hired.

~As Anne so aptly puts it in her article, “Everything that is accomplished with workshops can be accomplished without them.” There doesn’t need to be an alternative to “paid access”. Workshops just need to go away. To make workshops the presumptive way to connect with casting directors is lazy and misguided and bears a cost in which the investment far outweighs any reward.

Can you please point me to the statistics that support your assertion that Asian actors benefit more from workshops than other ethnicities. I’m curious where those employment statistics are.

You say “There’s no substitute for actors and casting directors meeting in person.” This is the one point upon which we agree. But when there’s money exchanged, the relationship is false and becomes a business transaction rather than a the connection between two artists. Paying a casting director to develop a genuine relationship is like going to a brothel to find a wife. Could happen.

But probably not.

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