The Casting Society of America will host two virtual events this weekend for actors who are veterans of the armed forces. “Business of the Business,” an acting training event, will be held on Saturday, followed by an online open call on Sunday. Both are part of the CSA’s Commitment to Equity in Entertainment in Casting Initiative, a series of conversations, training events, and opportunities designed to change how actors in historically underrepresented communities are afforded access to job opportunities.
“The military veterans initiative continues our commitment to connect our casting director members with underrepresented artists, including Native American and Indigenous actors, trans and non-binary actors, performers with disabilities, seniors and Middle Eastern, North African & South Asian actors,” said CSA president Russell Boast. “These important events help casting directors to discover new talent and to better cast authentically with the ultimate goal of creating lasting change throughout the industry.”
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The “Business of the Business” and actor training event on Saturday will prepare actors for the following day’s open call, providing them with an opportunity to perform a prepared scene of their choice in front of a panel of professional casting directors. More than 30 casting directors will be taking part in the events.
Both events are for union and nonunion professionally trained actors and those actively pursuing professional careers as performers. Actors who are military veterans and casting professionals (casting directors, associates and assistants), talent agents, and talent managers are invited.
Register here for Saturday’s session, which starts at 1 pm:
Register here for Sunday’s open call, which runs from noon to 5 pm:
“As a casting director of the NCIS franchise, we have been incredibly fortunate to work with numerous service members over the years,” said CSA member Jason Kennedy, who will be taking part in the events. “I hope to help expand the same opportunities across the television and film spectrum. We are thankful for the service of our military veterans and we are honored to be working with them as they pursue their dreams in entertainment. Our veterans bring a unique set of life experiences and skills to the craft by enriching characters with authenticity, perspective, and understanding. I believe it is our duty as entertainment professionals to recognize the often overlooked community of military veterans and enact the kind of change that will increase awareness, visibility, and opportunities for these dedicated men and women.”
“It is an honor to get to know the veteran acting community and to share my knowledge of the entertainment industry,” said casting director Rosalie Joseph, who will also take part in the events. “Hearing the stories of many veterans and their experiences of spending years in service while civilian actors were getting their start has impacted me. By creating and holding the Veterans initiative, our goals are to fill the gap in training by creating opportunities, teaching successful business practices, and offering tools to sharpen their audition techniques. We are very appreciative of our Veterans and owe them so much. We will be a better industry by making their talents, special skills, experiences and insights more visible in the media and beyond.”
“For years, military veterans have found themselves portrayed on television and film in an often unflattering and sometimes exploitative light,” said actor Jennifer Marshall, a Navy veteran and advocate for the veteran community. “Ensuring that veterans have an equal shot at accurate and fair representation on screen is a winning proposition for everyone. Being involved in the telling of our own stories brings authenticity and heart to the project. CSA has been instrumental in ensuring underrepresented actors are included in the storytelling process, and our community is excited to see the effect this initiative will have on future projects and the industry as a whole.”
“As U.S. military veterans, we are the silent minority,” said actor and former U.S. Marine James Taku Leung. “The most important measure of the population in the country, the United States Census, which we just took in 2020, doesn’t even have a question to identify us. We signed a contract to defend this country with our life, but we are overlooked and misunderstood by society. Many of us are even afraid to mention we are veterans on our resumes or at auditions. It is time we educate America through representation. We are grateful that CSA is giving us the opportunity to be heard and recognized as an integral and authentic part of the acting community and of the United States of America.”
“Our nation’s military branches produce highly skilled, disciplined, and talented professionals,” said talent agent Tiauna Jackson, who is president of the Buffalo Soldiers of America, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers –- the African Americans who served in the Army’s 10th Cavalry Regiment after the Civil War. “When it comes to the performing arts, veterans are committed and dedicated to mastering the nuances of the craft. They show up prepared and bring authenticity to roles, mainly due to untraditional life experiences. I’m delighted that the CSA is consciously making time to shepherd our nation’s heroes as they navigate their entertainment careers.”