Cosme & Scott Casting

jay cosme

What draws you to the profession of working in the arts?

I have been a part of the Industry since I was 7 years old, starting out as a child actor on stage. I think for me it’s the fact that no day is the same… Whether that is a new Script coming in, or a last minute casting request from a Director! There really is no way to predict how the week will go and for me that beats any 9-5 office job!

 How did you become a casting director?
 I started out Casting my own short films using mostly friends to fill the parts before (by chance I should add) I attended a networking event and met with a representative of a large company and after much persuading on my part, I landed my first commercial casting job! Thankfully the rise of Social Media has given actors, writers and people like myself a platform to connect with Indie (and established) directors, producers and other professionals. Thanks to Social Media, networking nights, screenings and other such events, I have connected with some really talented story tellers and creatives.
 Lots of actors are members of Spotlight but often don’t feel they get allot from the service in regards to having access to the same auditions as others, as a casting director do you feel their is a heirachy when companies/producers send out information regarding jobs?
I think that as a Casting Director you have to put your faith in the Agents, we have to trust that an Agent is fully aware of their Client’s skills and abilities and that the Agent has put their own reputation on the line by representing said client! Many Actors unfortunately do not understand contracts, buyouts, agreements etc and as a Casting Director you really do not have the time to explain these things. That’s not to say I don’t consider un-represented Actors but ultimately from a professional point of view, an Actor with an Agent tells me that this Agent has faith in the Client and that I am auditioning a professional. Unfortunately many actors without an Agent are at risk of not always being taken seriously which is a shame but something that I do understand.
 When someone sends you their details, what tips would you give?

The advice is to send me a nice headshot (or 2) and a CV, plus details of any shows/performances you are taking part in… I always try my best to attend but if I can’t then I do send along my Assistant.


As a casting director what do you look for when an actor comes into a room?

Personally, my favourite people are the ones who (despite the rubbish train journey or traffic) come in with a smile on their face, cheerful, have learned their lines and are ready! I can’t stand it when an Actor says ‘I haven’t learned the lines as I only got the Script yesterday’. If you was on a soap, you would be learning 10x more dialogue in 24 hours on a daily basis. Not acceptable.

 What advise do you give for actors headshots?
For years the Industry standard has been black&white but it appears that colour ‘American’ style shots are becoming the norm. Personally I like to see colour and black&white! I also like to see a neutral expression with minimal make up, maybe 1 or 2 with a smile.

Do you think in the industry people look at actors who train at drama school and university differently?

I think some do… However for me, I don’t think an Actors ability is necessarily determined by Drama School, some of the best actors had no formal training. Drama school is great to learn and practice but ultimately, if you fit my brief then I am going to call you in… With or without drama school training.

 You are an official supporter of Actor awareness, what do you feel as an casting director that you can do to improve the current playing field in the industry?
 We believe that Actors should be treated fairly like all other freelance workers and should receive fair pay! To often we see casting calls for actors that offer no pay, no expenses and more, unfortunately the more eager actors out there will go for these parts and see it as training or experience… Whilst I appreciate their passion, it’s still wrong.
As Casting Directors we do not cast for no pay jobs or expenses only as we do not agree with the idea of working 10-12 hour days with no pay.

 How do you feel working class actors are represented? What do you think needs to change?

I think it’s a very sad situation… Coming from a working class background myself, I know only to well how expensive Drama school is and the stigma that seems to be attached to working class actors! Some of the best talent lays hidden amongst working class actors. I believe and we are doing everything we can to change this through our own street castings in deprived areas of London and other places.

I urge Agents to open their eyes and look further afield to these sorts of places, your next big star could be sitting there undiscovered!

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