Friday, August 14, 2009

Casting: Not Referring to Aspersions

This was going to go on the Monday reading list, but it's so extensive I'm giving it its own post.  Earlier this week, casting director Daryl Eisenberg started sending out comments about the people auditioning for her over Twitter.  It's caused an uproar in NYC theater circles, but it's an issue we should all be aware of.

Here's a sample of what she was sending out:
if you are going to sing about getting on your knees, might as well do it and crawl towards us...right?
If we wanted to hear it a different way, don't worry, we'll ask.
If you think this sounds like something a kid would do, well, Eisenberg is all of 24.  The Talkin' Broadway Forum is discussing the merits of youth in someone holding such an important position. 

The New York Times ArtsBeat Blog and both picked up the story.  The latter article includes an interview with Eisenberg

Paul Russell at AnswersforActors lets her have both barrells:
" have violated the trust of those who came before you. Artists who bared their talents in exchange for an offer of work; a chance to earn monies for food and rent. An audition is when the actor is often at their most vulnerable emotional state."
After being called in to meet with AEA about the gross abuse of her position, she did apologize - via Twitter:
After a productive meeting with AEA this afternoon, I’m happy to report that we have agreed to both put this behind us.
By mutual agreement, future tweets will not be coming from the audition room regarding the actors auditioning.
I apologize to the actors and professionals who put themselves on the line every time they audition...
...and will continually strive to make the audition room an inspiring, nurturing place for creativity and talent.
I look forward to working with AEA and its members on future projects, and hope to see you all in the audition room soon.
Her initial response to criticism was less diplomatic:
There is NO rule/guideline against Twitter/Facebook/MySpace/Friendster. Freedom of speech. Ever heard of it?
The producer of the show she was casting has announced another round of auditions, specifically inviting back anyone from the first round.  Of course, her contract stipulates that she must also be there.  Fortunately, this time she will not be running the auditions: a responsible grown-up will be doing that.

1 comment:

  1. Another example of idiocy. First, someone needs to let her know that "freedom of speech" only means the government can't censor her. AEA and her boss? Not only can but should.
    Second, her inane remarks only make it that much more difficult for young people in this business. There are people under 30 who can do that job and do it professionally; I can name four off the top of my head. But after this, more professional theatres will be reluctant to hire young talent in the casting and production areas.