Top Menu

The Casting Couch

In a recent post in my Facebook Group, GWYW, a member asked,

“Met a wonderful couple last week to discuss their wedding. I made a great connection and had fun during their interview. I came referred by two people that she hired (other vendors). I received an email from the wedding couple of them stating that I didn’t fit their vision and that they went with another DJ. I’ve never been the one to ask WHY they went with another company…just feel it’s too personal. I’m sure the reason was due to my price….it usually is.

What would you have done?”

It immediately made me think of a Hollywood star from the golden era, Katharine Hepburn.

It took more than two years and over 30 screen tests to cast “Scarlett” for the 1939 blockbuster, Gone With The Wind. 1,400 actresses were interviewed and 400 were given auditions. Every big name actress of the time was offered an audition — Bette Davis, Tallulah Bankhead, Susan Hayward, Carole Lombard, and of course, Katharine Hepburn to name just a few. Each of these actors was the best that cinema had known. And some were Academy Award-winning actors!

All could act. All were in demand. All were accomplished. But none of them got the role.

Only one got the part. Vivien Leigh was cast as “Scarlett O’Hara.” She was perfect.

Each time you meet with a potential client, you are auditioning. They are casting. Every time. They are watching how you move, speak, interact, look, and respond. You are being considered for a very important part of their “production.” Really — a starring role. Are you charming? Are you funny? Are you thoughtful? And most importantly, do you fit the part? Do you fit their vision?

As the producer/director of their event, they have an idea of how you’ll fit in their ‘show’. They are looking for something very specific (or should be) and, no matter how good or accomplished you are, you might not fit their vision for the key role they’re casting. It’s no reflection on your ability, popularity, talent, or price any more than it was for Katherine Hepburn. It can be as simple as, “you don’t look the part.” It could be, “you don’t sound like our Master of Ceremonies.” Or it could be, “you’re too funny,” or “too serious.”

There could be many, many reasons why you’re not exactly what they have in mind, including price. Because every production has a budget. But every producer also knows that to get “Clark Gable” for the role of “Rhett Butler,” it’s going to cost a lot. So the bottom line is, if you’re perfect for the role for which you’re auditioning, the producer will adjust the budget to get you.

All those lights and flowers and decorations and other finery mean nothing without the star-power provided by good casting. Without it, the show will most certainly close early and be forgotten.

After 1,400 possible “Scarlett O’Haras,” no one else would do except Vivien Leigh. No one else could do what she did for that role. No one else had the subtlety, nuance, complexity, energy, timing, or attitude necessary for that role. The producer couldn’t see anyone else in that role, and once that happens, you get the part. And your price is paid. Because at that point, the role with you in it becomes more important than the price. And that’s because the success of the show depends entirely on proper casting and dwarfs the relatively small price paid for the part, considering how much the entire production costs. All those lights and flowers and decorations and other finery mean nothing without the star-power provided by good casting. Without it, the “show” will most certainly close early and be forgotten.

But with great casting — the right casting, the ‘show’ becomes legendary. The characters become celebrated icons. The production costs are made worthwhile. That’s as true for Hollywood blockbuster as it is for someone’s once-in-a-lifetime event, like a wedding reception or landmark birthday party.

Gone With The Wind won 10 out of the 13 Oscar nominations it received — including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress (Vivien Leigh) and Best Supporting Actress (Hattie McDaniel).

Each of the actors were cast with a discriminating eye to fit the roles and the vision that the producer/director had in mind for the entire production and its success. If, after your “audition,” you don’t fit in the client’s vision, you won’t get the part. But if you do, they’ll do whatever they have to do to cast you in the starring role in their ‘show’.

But if you don’t get cast this time, don’t worry. There’s a good chance you’ll be perfect for the next part. Next!

And… You can quote me on that.

©2014 Mark K. Ferrell

, , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply