Casting Society Urges Members Not To Audition Actors In Person During Pandemic

The Casting Society of America is urging its members not to audition actors in person during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Most productions have shut down, but producers are still looking for talent for future projects once the crisis has abated. “In an effort to responsibly communicate and follow global guidelines about social distancing, I cannot stress enough the importance of limiting your audition sessions to self-tape and online sessions only and the avoidance of in person sessions and meetings until further notice,” said CSA president Russell Boast in an email to his members today.

The CSA also said today that it will team with the SAG-AFTRA Foundation to hold a livestreamed panel for SAG-AFTRA members on Friday that will offer tips for remote, virtual casting in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Read more about that below.

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“We are living through unprecedented and uncertain times during which positive messaging and shared resources are paramount,” Boast added in his email to CSA members. “To those members whose livelihood has been affected by the recent production shutdowns, medical, financial, emotional and other assistance are generously available to members of the entertainment industry through The Actors Fund and the Motion Picture & Television Fund. If you are out of work and struggling, call now for support. If you are in a position to help others, please consider donating.”

“Over the last couple of days,” he wrote, “our Board of Directors and our New York and European Chapter Boards have been contributing to a Shared Resources Page for our members, which we hope will help.” Check out that page here.

“We are also organizing a series of virtual hangouts where CSA members, regardless of where they live, can connect with each other,” Boast wrote. The first round of meetings will be Monday, March 23.

“No one should feel alone,” he told his members. “If social distancing is isolating you and you need someone to talk to, vent with or need help, I will personally make myself available. It’s important that we all feel connected in some small way during this difficult time. Stay safe, stay sane, stay connected.”

Founded in 1982, the represents has nearly 1,000 casting directors and associates.

Talking about Friday’s livestreamed panel, Boast said: “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,” said CSA president Russell Boast. “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.”

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The panel, which will be moderated by Rochelle Rose, SAG-AFTRA Foundation’s national director of performers programs, will include CSA members Amanda Lenker Doyle (Zac and Mia), Carmen Cuba (Stranger Things), Kim Coleman, (BlacKkKlansman) and Jason Kennedy, (the NCIS franchise).

The livestream starts at 5:30 p.m. PT Friday; you can watch it below:

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