Harriet Greenspan is one the most well respected Casting Directors in the business. She is known for Childrens Programming on Nickelodeon, such as “Drake & Josh”, “Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide” , “Unfabulous”, “True Jackson VP”, and currently casting/ airing “Knight Squad”. She is also known for such films as the “Scooby Doo” Franchise, “Mean Girls 2”, and more.
Harriet is also an accomplished Author (Check out her latest book “Auditionology”), Public Speaker, and Acting Coach. She has discovered and nurtured the careers of some of the hottest young stars to date. Keke Palmer, Debby Ryan, Josh Peck, Drake Bell, Emma Roberts and more…
Joe Lorenzo recently had lunch with his longtime friend and colleague, Casting Director/ Author Harriet Greenspan, where she was gracious enough to answer some questions to navigate talent and parents on their journey in the Entertainment Industry.
Heres what she had to say:
My Current Occupation: Casting Director for 30 years
How I got Started: Worked in production a short time when the CD quit and the assistant CD took over and I assisted her. I loved casting because I felt I was involved in the process, behind the scenes and at the same time I also got to interact and read with the actors.
How Important Is it To Study, be in class and private coach for auditions: Training is the key to booking. Being in an acting class, maybe 2 weekly is very important. Learning by actually doing scene study or different scenes/characters weekly is keeping your craft fresh. And you learn from watching other actors as well. I believe in private coaching too. I feel once you have worked on your audition yourself and feel you are prepared, made your choices, it’s important to have a coach tweak your performance and perhaps give you a bit of direction. It’s like lighting the candles on a cake. The last stop before you go into that casting room.
What keeps me going: Loving what I do. The excitement of finding new talent on a daily basis. Helping the actor succeed. Watching the actor grow. Sharing in the success of actors that I might have given a first job to.
Rejection: Rejection sucks in any form. But if you are getting callbacks, you are doing something right. It’s a good sign. You will eventually book. Just know if you didn’t get the job and you had several callbacks for that role, they liked you. It just wasn’t your role. Your role is just around the corner. If you go into the audition prepared, and you know you did the best you can do, then walk away and go on to the next. An actors job is to audition. Keep auditioning.
Advice I was given: The casting director that I started out with always told me to cast like I was the producer. Like it was my passion project. So I always do. I put everything into every job I work on.
Advice for Actors starting Out: It’s a process. Sometimes and for some, it happens faster. And for others it takes longer. If you love what you are doing and you are getting good feedback, keep doing what you are doing and you will succeed. If you are in this business to be rich and famous, you don’t belong in this arena. But if you want to be a working actor, you are in this business for the right reasons.
Last Words of Wisdom: Always make sure to LISTEN and don’t stop TRAINING!
Harriets Guide for Actors and Parents Auditionology
, 2nd Edition (pictured below)