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Casting Directors and Actors Team Up to Talk Virtual and Remote Casting (Update)

Finally, a way to audition from the comfort of your very own home.

Russell Boast Casting Society of America

Russell Boast, President of Casting Society of America

Michael Buckner/Shutterstock

[Editor’s Note: The Casting Society of America and SAG-AFTRA announced that Friday’s virtual event has been postponed. Organizers say the event was postponed because SAG-AFTRA Foundation staffers would’ve needed to be in their offices to operate the event.]

The future is now, if the Casting Society of America and SAG-AFTRA have anything to say about it.

The organizations have banded together to create a live-streamed, moderated panel specifically aimed at members of SAG-AFTRA, offering helpful hints and advice for those individuals interested in participating in remote and virtual casting. The event should be in demand, given these types of auditions are likely to see an uptick due to the current public health crisis.

“At a time when the majority of our industry is working remotely in response to COVID-19 health concerns, CSA and the SAG-AFTRA Foundation are working together to offer guidelines and tips for virtual auditions, with the goal of helping casting directors and actors be productive and have the ability to keep working while maintaining the recommended social distancing,” the president of CSA, Russell Boast said in a statement released Wednesday.

“Our shared priority is the health and safety of our members, and we strongly recommend that all auditions take place online or via self-tape and discourage in-person auditions of any kind, until further notice,” he said.

It’s a bold move for the groups and a signal that Hollywood has no illusions about business returning to usual any time soon. The purpose of the session, featuring several industry experts, is to offer insight to actors looking to work with casting directors and aiming to self-tape or audition online via teleconferencing, at least until government and health officials lift sanctions regarding public gatherings and social distancing.

The 60-minute session will be divided into two parts, moderated by Rochelle Rose, the national director of performers programs, Los Angeles, SAG-AFTRA Foundation. The first segment will entail a conversation facilitated by Rose between several industry experts, including Kim Coleman, CSA (“BlacKKKlansman,” “Harriet”), Carmen Cuba, CSA (“Stranger Things,” “The Martian”), Amanda Lenker Doyle, CSA (“Zac and Mia,” “Wayne”), and Jason Kennedy, CSA (“NCIS,” “NCIS: Los Angeles,” “NCIS: New Orleans”). Following that conversation, the floor will open for questions from the virtual participants watching online.

The panel will be livestreamed on Friday, March 20 at 5:30 PM PT.

This is just one of the ways that CSA is trying to advocate for its members, with Boast sending an email to individuals within the organization Wednesday morning encouraging them to take social distancing seriously and avoiding in-person casting sessions and meetings until the situation resolves.

Boast also directed members who are struggling with the recent production shutdowns to reach out to The Actors Fund and the Motion Picture Relief Fund for assistance, in addition to announcing a series of virtual hangouts for members to connect and socialize, beginning Monday, March 23.

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