Reflections on the Making of “Casting By”

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Kate Lacey - Acting Coach NYC - Acting Coach in NYCThere were so many incredible moments and experiences in producing CASTING BY that its hard to just pick one.

I would say what touched me most in the process of making this film was how emotional some of the acting legends we sat with got when speaking about Marion Dougherty. Somewhere along the way Tom (Donahue, Director) and I realized that this is essentially the first time that many of these stars have sat down to discuss a time when they struggled and no one believed in them…to revisit a time before they were a star, since that time. Usually when these big actors do interviews it is for projects they are currently involved with and the questions they are asked are generally related to that – “Why did you sign on to do this film?” or “What was it like working with this co-star or Director” etc…but rarely if ever, do they get asked the question – “What was it like when you were struggling and couldn’t catch a break and this woman came into your life who believed in you and fought for you and helped you on your way to stardom?”  It took them back to that time and we were able to tap into real and honest emotions of the appreciation they had towards her that maybe they didn’t even remember or know they had. It was nice to remember that even these huge legends struggled at one point in their lives.

Everyone goes through tough times in their careers, no matter what profession you work in, and to have that person who recognizes your talent and encourages you along the way and reminds you to believe in yourself and what you are capable of means everything.  Al Pacino said it best in his interview when he said “There wasn’t a thing out there that Marion wasn’t trying to put me in. And others too…if she liked you, she was behind you and what’s better than that? In this kind of world, in this business, knowing that – its one of my favorite words, which is encouragement. And she was full of it and full of it with a spirit and honesty and a kind a purity to it. She helped us a lot, really. So I owe a lot to her.”

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When I worked in casting nothing was more upsetting to me than an actor coming in who was so nervous that it affected their performance and I knew that they would leave the audition being upset with themselves because of it.  I knew the nerves stemmed from a fear or an intimidation and I always wanted to say to them – “Don’t be nervous!  We are your biggest fan!  We want you to do your best!”.

In making this film it was very important to us that actors who watched it felt that they no longer needed to fear Casting Directors but to be excited and happy to go in for them.  To see them as their ally. As an actress having the experience of working in casting helped me more than any class I could ever take.  It taught me to relax and just bring my best representation of who this character is suited to me and know that either that fit will work or it won’t.  It’s nothing personal.  I also know that even if I am not right, if I do my best the casting director will remember me and bring me back for other things. They will become my ally. We wanted the film to send the same message.

Sitting with those big stars who spoke about Marion as if she were a mother like figure or a friend reminded me that actors should never give up when they are feeling down because you never know which audition you will walk into and meet your Marion Dougherty.

Kate Lacey
Producer of Casting BY
Head of the Professional Business Program
Maggie Flanigan Studio, NYC

Check out ‘Casting By’  opening November 1st- in NYC at Cinema Village and Lincoln Plaza.

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