Sunday, May 31, 2009

How to handle Rude Casting Directors

I received last minute casting calls thru my sms just yesterday. One for AmBank and the other for Digi. I quickly decide to bring my class students in the Artiste Training Course along to these casting sessions, so they would get a chance in these exclusive invitations too! I really care for all of them, and I'm sure they will testify to all the hard work I planned in setting them right for a career in the artiste world. It seems like bad timing, because almost ALL my students are either sick or went back hometown. Only Wardee managed to make it.

So we went to the first one for AmBank at Damansara Jaya, and the person in charge of the casting was very nice and cordial (a skinny Malay chap who calls every guy "bro") During the short brief, I tried to squeeze Wardee into the casting session, but he wasn't able to converse in Mandarin. I still insist on him to try, because I know there must be some role he could take on. I waited and opened my ears for any opportunity, and suddenly there was! There is a role for a guy opening the door. Quickly I suggested to the nice Malay chap, and he agrees.

After that, we went over to TTDI for the Digi casting. Comes this round big-sized Indian fella with a mustache and round belly who opens the door while giving both of us a disapproval look. In my heart, I knew instantly this guy is going to be trouble. When I went into the casting room, he showed me what sort of actions to do (basically is to act scared). The funny thing is, he didn't show me any storyboard. (By right, in any TV commercial casting, a professional casting director will show you the storyboard first) So I'm left wondering what the story is about. I continue to do as he said, and after each take, he shouted (to my amazement, no professional casting session got one who raised his voice at the talents, if they do dear talents, tell him to lower down), and said "Kris, I know you're a good actor, and I've seen you acted before! But this is not the way I want!" and some other rude remarks I couldn't remember, because I was focusing on the points of how to better the scene(which he didn't give me any). Unfortunately, he still gave me the same instructions of where to move. When the casting was over, I walked out from the room, and saw a row of other waiting talents looking at me, fearing of what could happen to them next. I wish I could tell them not to worry, for it is exactly what the rude casting director wanted them to feel: fear. So how do aspiring artistes handle such rude casting director?

For once, STEP UP YOUR COURAGE. Rude casting directors usually don't know how to conduct a good casting session. Don't give in to fear when they raised their voice. Speak up and asked him again what you should do to better the performance.

Secondly, DO THE BEST YOU KNOW HOW. Your performance in the casting is recorded, so your best is still needed even though the environment you're in is not encouraging. Always remember: the casting director is NOT the one approving which talent is to be selected. It's the producer, client and film director. If he insists on acting like he's the boss, remember his face and name for "future reference".

Thirdly, SHOW YOUR EMOTIONS ONLY IN YOUR PERFORMANCE, and leave it there afterwards. After the recording is done, and the casting director is still angry and emotional about you, you can only look him(or her) in the eye and ask him in a professional manner how you can better your performance. Stay emotionless for now, because it's not recorded. Remember you're an artiste, and you're way higher than to lower yourself in their state of rudeness.

Again, NOT all casting directors are as rude as the one I encountered at TTDI. Some are really nice and professional about it. But that studio in which the rude casting took place, seems to have plenty of rude and weird people around (Wardee and I saw a guy conducting an aura and energy channelling session with a group of teens there), so dear talents who is going there, be prepared. If those of you reading and had been to the castings I mentioned, do share your comments here, so we all can learn.