Netflix Seeking Fresh Faces for “The Half of It” Feature Film

Netflix Seeking Fresh Faces for “The Half of It” Feature Film

McCarthy/Abellera Casting is conducting a nationwide talent search for three lead roles in the upcoming feature film The Half of ItThis film follows Ellie Chiu, a smart, lonely teen that is commissioned by the high school running-back to write love letters to the object of his (and her) affection.

The Half of It was featured on the 2018 Black List, and is scheduled to start production in April 2019. Alice Wu is not only the writer for the feature, but the director and a producer as well. Anthony Bregman (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Foxcatcher), Mary Jane Skalski (The Station Agent, The Visitor), and Blair Breard (Wanted, The Drop) are also producing.

Who Are the Commercial Booking Decision-Makers?

Who Are the Commercial Booking Decision-Makers?

As an actor, the casting director is the one obvious person on the front line whose attention you’re striving to get. The casting director is regarded as the gatekeeper, responsible for selecting the right people out of perhaps thousands who auditioned for the role. 

Understanding how the system works can give you the confidence to help you book your next job.

So . . . Who Are the Decision Makers

There can be as many as eight people making the booking decisions. This team is made up of the ad agency writer, art director, producer, creative supervisor, creative director and account executive. And on the production company side, there is the director hired to direct the commercial spot. After all their input, the final OK comes from the client.

The First Call

The casting director speaks to the producer and/or director to gain an understanding of each character. Then it’s on them to direct the actors accordingly, ensuring an accurate evaluation of which actors bring the right skill set for a given role.

The auditions are uploaded and emailed at the end of the day to the ad agency and the director at the production company. The people most concerned with your look and performance are the art director, writer and producer. After all, the writer and art director came up with the concept and have a definite vision for the spot in mind. The producer is on hand to facilitate the fulfillment of their vision, working out the budget, scheduling, and the coordination of every production element involved.

The director, whose job is to realize and enhance the artistry and messaging of the spot, is viewing the auditions too. The director has to understand keenly what the ad agency wants and not stray too far from the concept. Hence, it becomes a delicate dance between the director and ad agency writer and art director, balancing creativity and concept.

Next, the above parties make a list of which actors they’d like to see called back and send that list over to the casting director.

The Callback Audition

The director, art director, and writer will likely be present in the callback room. The producer from both the production company and ad agency is usually present as well.

The callback isn’t generally the time for in-depth communication or forming a rapport with the decision-makers. You’re here simply say your hellos, take your direction, give your performance, and probably be given several adjustments. After you leave, there’ll be a brief discussion among team members about whether they want to move ahead with you or not.

The Decision Process

At the end of the callbacks, each audition is reviewed and discussed. If you’re part of an ensemble, an additional element of the decision lies in how well you’ll fit into and add to the chemistry of the group.

The first choices are made in addition to backups. The choices are then sent back to the ad agency where the creative supervisor (the person overseeing the art director and writer), creative director (the person overseeing the ad agency’s creative branding), and the account supervisor (the liason between the ad agency and the client) consider the casting choices. This is when the final choices are made about which talent will be presented to the client.

The next and final step is for the selected talent to be presented to the client at a production meeting for their final approval.

Understanding the many variables that go on behind the scenes of your booking a commercial should help assure you of the value of that tried-and-true bit of advice: The best you can do is give a good performance then let go and let the process takes its course.

Terry Berland is an award-winning casting director for commercials, voiceover, film, television and theatre.  Her casting awards include Clio, The Houston International Film Festival, Art Director’s Club, Addy, and the International Film and Television Festival. Her former Head Of Casting staff position for Madison Avenue giant BBDO/NY has contributed to her deep understanding and involvement in the advertising industry. She is known throughout the country for her talent development, and is the author of the how-to industry book,”Breaking Into Commercials.”
For more information about Terry Berland Commercial Acting workshops click here.
To sign up for the Berland Casting newsletter or to communicate any subject you would like covered, click here.
Reproduction or usage of this article on other websites must be credited to Terry Berland, Casting Director.


What Nonunion Actors Should Know About Union Strikes

What Nonunion Actors Should Know About Union Strikes

Whether in a student film or on a fringe stage, nonunion work is an essential stepping stone in the American entertainment landscape. However, no matter if you have your union card or not, many actors are influenced by the actions and activism of unions.

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ACTING UP – Episode #5: Andrea Savage & Shea Whigham

ACTING UP – Episode #5: Andrea Savage & Shea Whigham

Welcome to the fifth installment of ACTING UP, a weekly Casting Networks feature designed to call attention to standout roles and performances in television/streaming and film. The series spotlights work in projects that have recently been released as well as work in projects being released that same week. The column also covers how those actors and actresses got to where you see them now. Read up and watch these performances as your weekly in-home acting class.

Fourth up: Andrea Savage, whose comedy “I’m Sorry” launched its second season over at truTV on Wednesday, and Shea Whigham from the Golden Globe Award-winning Adam McKay feature “Vice.”

Andrea Savage

THE PERFORMER: Andrea Savage

THE SERIES: “I’m Sorry” on truTV

THE PERFORMANCE: Savage, who hails from the world of stand-up and improv comedy (The Groundlings), brings a Larry David-esque energy to her role as a comedy writer, wife (to Tom Everett Scott), mother (to a six-year-old) and daughter (to Kathy Baker) in a show that’s like “Modern Family” on steroids. She co-created it (with Will Ferrell and Adam McKay) and makes herself the butt of pretty much every joke.

Indeed, “I’m Sorry” is one awkward scenario after another, putting Savage’s neurosis front and center. She’s broad, she’s brassy, but at the same time she’s oddly appealing (as well as easy on the eyes). In the opening installment of Season Two, she wonders aloud how much she’d be able to charge were she a prostitute and wrestles with her kindergarten daughter’s questions about menstruation and pubic hair.

When her mother accidentally flashes some breast in front of her husband, Andrea asks, “Do you see a family resemblance in the nipples?” As her daughter stubbornly maintains that her father doesn’t have pubic hair, she finally blurts, “I’m not gonna argue with you about this. Daddy has pubic hair!”

Also, apropos of nothing, she reasons, “Parenting can lick my butt.” She’s divertingly raunchy, but she’s such a force of nature you can’t help but root for her.

THE CAREER: Prior to “I’m Sorry,” Savage was best known as Laura Montez, the Acting President of the United States after winning a disputed 2016 election on the HBO comedy “Veep” (a seven-episode arc in 2017). She also portrayed Helen Basch during a season-long arc on Showtime’s “Episodes” as the lesbian head of the network.

Prior to both of those, she had a regular role on the Comedy Central mockumentary “Dog Bites Man” (2006) as well as a small part in the Will Ferrell-John C. Reilly comedy feature “Step Brothers.” That’s not to mention her pair of Hulu reality parodies “The Hotwives of Orlando” (2014) and “The Hotwives of Las Vegas” (2015) and a role in the comedy feature “Sleeping with Other People.”

Shea Whigham


THE FILM: “Vice”

THE PERFORMANCE: Whigham only appears in “Vice” for maybe two minutes, but he’s so good it stands out as a showstopping moment.

It happens early in the film, after Dick Cheney’s mother-in-law, Edna, turns up drowned in a lake. She couldn’t swim, so it’s more than a little bit suspicious. The prime suspect is her husband, Wayne, who’d reportedly been in a bitter argument with his wife an hour before.

Whigham portrays Wayne in a scene of subtle acting power. He has just been playing with his two young granddaughters when Cheney approaches.

Wayne (to Christian Bale’s Cheney): “Hey, Dick. You catching any fish?”

Cheney burns a hole through him with his intense glare.

Wayne: “How’s it going in D.C.?”

Cheney: “Don’t ever go near my daughters or my wife again.”

After a tense beat, Cheney walks away.

Wayne (yelling): “Big shot! Big shot in D.C., Dick!”

Watching the exchange on screen literally takes your breath away. That’s how good Whigham is.

THE CAREER: Having just turned 50 last Saturday, Whigham is something of a late acting bloomer. His big break came when he appeared opposite Colin Farrell in the 2000 Joel Schumacher military drama “Tigerland.”

But it was in 2010 that his career really began to kick into gear. Whigham landed a regular role as Eli Thompson on the HBO series “Boardwalk Empire,” followed by cameos in the David O. Russell films “Silver Linings Playbook” (2012) and “American Hustle” (2013). Then came a season on FX’s “Fargo” in 2017 and, last year, eight episodes on the acclaimed Julia Roberts drama “Homecoming” for Amazon.

And later this year, he’ll be in the Todd Phillips-directed “Joker” (due in October) with Joaquin Phoenix and Robert De Niro. Currently, Whigham is filming “Modern Love,” an Amazon comedy anthology based on the popular New York Times column and co-starring Anne Hathaway, Tina Fey, Catherine Keener, John Slattery, Dev Patel and Andy Garcia.

Casting in LA This Week!

Casting in LA This Week!

Every day great roles are added to the Casting Billboard. Below are highlighted projects from this week!


Continuous Wave

Rate: $1,000 flat rate | Female/Male, All Ethnicities | Music

ROLES  Co-Star   GENDER/AGE/ETHNICITIES  Female & Male / 21-35 / All Ethnicities

DESCRIPTION   Emily Mast will be activating a lounge at the Frieze Art Fair at Paramount Studios in LA by casting five young a cappella singers to perform every day of the fair.


Breakfast of Champions

Rate:  $800 day flat 8 hours | Male, All Ethnicities | Commercial

ROLES  Principal  GENDER/AGE/ETHNICITIES  Male  / 18-24 / All Ethnicities

DESCRIPTION   Project is a :15 second social asset for a video game company promoting their newest motorcycle game. Final video will feature a motocross athlete seated at a table or counter eating a bowl of cereal but in this case, the secret we will reveal is that the ‘cereal’ you are eating is actually ‘dirt’.

Production design / food stylist will be providing edible prop dirt that will be non-offensive in taste (crushed up chocolate chip cookies is a good example).

ULTA Beaty / PopSugar

Rate:  $500 (2 days) | Female All Ethnicities | Feature Film

ROLES  Principal  GENDER/AGE/ETHNICITIES  Female  / 18-49 / All Ethnicities

DESCRIPTION  Are you a beauty enthusiast who wants to appear in a video featuring Ulta Beauty products? We’re looking for “real women” with video experience who want to talk about their beauty routine and how their routine may have changed based on a compliment they received.


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