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Indie Producer Blog

August 2008

JanGlaser Written by JanGlaser
Aug. 12, 2008 | 11:26 AM

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How Technology Has Changed Casting

How Technology Has Changed Casting
by Jan Glaser, CSA

Forty movies a year:  that was the yearly average amount of films I cast between 1994 and 1999 while working for Roger Corman.  We managed to be very productive without all the technology. 

And before that, I did television:  “In the Heat of the Night”, “Hart to Hart”, “Starsky and Hutch.”  And before that, I did soap operas like “Capitol.”  All this without e-mail, pdf scripts, internet photos.  It’s more efficient now, but I miss the good old days. 

When I started out, I became good friends with the agents, the managers and their assistants.  We met after work for dinner, the theater or comedy clubs.  And I’ve kept those friendships to this day. 

My past few assistants do not have those relationships.  They never meet the people on the other end of the phone.  I blame e-mail.  It is way too impersonal.  However, I do get answers from the agents on an actor’s availability or interest much faster that I would by phone.  Things move faster.  More gets done. 

In those days, I would view an actor’s scenes in a screening room with a projectionist and mark the best scenes by “paper”.  I loved getting out of the office and sitting in the dark screening room.  That changed when demo reels were delivered on video cassettes.  More efficient but not as much fun.  And now we have DVDs which take up less space.

Today, I get my scripts in pdf form, attached to e-mail.  No more waiting for the messenger to arrive.  As my grandparents told me about the quaint Western Union man who delivered telegrams, and probably their grandparents told them about the delivery of messages by the skillful clicking of Morse Code, now I think back to those sweet days when the messenger delivered a hot script, still warm, and bound beautifully.  It was like a gift from Tiffany. 

Auditions were a group experience, with laughter, winks, nods and shrugs.  The producer and director were there in the room and we all had opinions.  Nowadays, the director and producers are there less often.  They might be on location so I record the auditions and send them a DVD. 

Now actors have a webpage with their photos posted.  But I still like the feel of an 8 x 10 glossy.  Holding that shiny headshot in my hand gets my focus much better than surfing the net.  It’s a tangible feeling.  So if any of you actors want to score extra points with me,  bring a picture and resume.   

I’ve been forced kicking and screaming into this brave new word.  But alas, I had to cave in to efficiency.  The business will not stand still to please my nostalgia.  I wonder where the future of casting will be.  What?  No actors. 

Jan Glaser, CSA

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