A Day in the Life of a Casting Assistant
Posted on: Sep 22, 2022
The industry may be in flux at the moment, but that shouldn’t stop you from continuing to work on your career, which includes beefing up on your industry knowledge. Learning about other jobs falls into that category, and Casting Networks is here to help with this installment of our A Day in the Life series. Sadie Sieroty is a part of Betty Mae Casting and has casting assistant credits under her name like Deputy and the new Quibi series Most Dangerous Game. She shared with Casting Networks what a typical day in her life looks like, as well as her take on if actors treat casting assistants differently than casting directors.
Sadie Sieroty. Image via IMDb.com
What does an average day look like for you?
“Well, before everything happened with social distancing, I would get to the office around 9:30 a.m. every morning. Each day usually starts with answering emails and calls. I’ll check the calendar to see what projects are going on for our office that day.
“If there’s a session happening, I always make sure we have our schedule typed up so that whoever is in the room can know exactly what’s going on. I check that the sides are printed and highlighted and that everything’s set up as it should be.
“If I’m assisting with the session, I may be taping or sometimes reading with the actors. Our company uses handheld cameras, so the camera is in our hands, rather than on a tripod. That way, we can easily follow an actor if they want to sit or stand or move around. And then sometimes I’ll be the one giving the notes and making sure that we get the best performance out of the actor.
“If I’m not assisting with the session, though, there are a number of things I could be doing. It changes from day to day and project to project. But in general, I’ll be answering phones, updating our lists, making sure things are organized or watching any self tapes we’ve received. My responsibilities can vary from day to day and project to project, so there is no day that’s exactly the same.”
How has your daily routine as a casting assistant changed with the social distancing measures?
“With everything going on right now, we’re all working from home, so my current daily routine is a little atypical. I still check in at 9:30 a.m. and make sure I’m doing similar things to what I’d be doing at the office. But there’s no face-to-face interaction, no getting to ask an associate a question right then and there. It’s very different and has been difficult because everyone at Betty Mae is very collaborative and helps each other. We’re trying to maintain some sense of normalcy, though. Everyone uses Microsoft Teams, so we’re all just chatting away from our homes.”
Have you found that actors treat casting assistants differently than casting directors?
“You know, I’ve been talked down to sometimes, where someone probably wouldn’t say the same thing if it was a casting director. But as far as actors, specifically, sometimes they’ll come in and just be a little more forward and friendly than they might be with a casting director.
“There have been times when the audition sides included a male scene partner so the actor directed their lines to the male person in the room instead of to me. And that was after I’d already explained that I would be reading with them for the scene. That can affect my evaluation because I can make the note that they didn’t follow the instructions I gave or recognize the authority I had to give them.
“But most actors really are nice, and if somebody is particularly great to work with, I’ll pass along that note, as well. So it works both ways!”
Sieroty said during her interview that something she brings to her job as a casting assistant is her understanding of actors because she also works in front of the camera. She shared an insight gleaned from assisting with casting sessions that may help them on their next auditions.
“There’s no magic formula for how to book a role,” Sieroty asserted. “You just do the best job you can… and you’re either what they’re looking for or you’re not.”
The casting assistant’s overall perspective offers important wisdom for industry members, regardless of the titles they carry. That is, treat people with respect and do the best you can.
Ready to jump into the world of casting? Check out the latest casting jobs available near you on Staff Me Up now.
This interview has been edited and condensed. Originally published on Casting Networks in 2020. Written by Cat Elliott.