The Savannah College of Art and Design’s (SCAD) Atlanta campus opened its new casting office in September to help students get unique, industry-ready opportunities in professional and student film, TV and digital shows.
Alpha Tyler is an acting professor and Casting Director for the new office at SCAD Atlanta. She describes casting as a human resource with producers and directors as their clients. The clients come to them to look for someone to fill a role in their next film or show. The office staff will recruit new talent and hold auditions and interviews and select the best possible candidates for the filmmaker.
“We also try to think outside the box because they may have one idea – which is wonderful – and we go with it, but our job is to give them a nice variety so that they are exposed to talent they may not have considered before,” Tyler said. “Whether that means changing gender or looking for a different ethnicity that they may not have considered.”
With casting being a not-so-glamorous facet of the filmmaking process, SCAD Atlanta now offers a Minor in Casting, which provides hands-on training that will prepare them to step into the world of professional casting. This new field of study is an opportunity for students who don’t intend on pursuing casting as a career but want to understand the ins and outs of what it takes to be booked on a project.
“[SCAD] is the only school that provides this minor,” said Andra Reeve-Rabb, Dean of the School of Film and Acting at SCAD. “We are training our students professionally to cast all those shows you all love binge-watching.”
When casting a role that does not have a physical description of what the character is supposed to look like, Tyler tries to cast people of color to reflect a better image of the world.
“Whether it’s someone who was within the LGBTQ+ community or someone who is otherable, we want to open it up to anyone right for the role and that’s what comes first if the particular actor is right for the role,” Tyler said.
Tyler is training interns throughout the casting process with tasks like creating headshots, resumes and holding auditions to help them become familiar with the actors in order to find the right parts for them.
“This is a great opportunity for them to be able to see how the process works and it demystifies the process and lowers their anxiety because they understand what it’s like to look at actors from the other side of the table and not feel isolated and worry about making mistakes while auditioning but to understand where those decisions come from,” Tyler said.
Located in the school’s new FORTY-FIVE complex, the office is making significant progress towards the end of its first quarter.
The complex is an addition to the Midtown campus’s major rollout of new resources, helping students prepare to work on the cutting-edge technology already used on sets immediately after graduation.
“The fact that we have an 11-acre backlot in Savannah, our second LED volume, the next logical step was to continue expanding our programs and studies in Atlanta,” Reeve-Rabb said.
“We have a massive acting program in Savannah, and yet the heart of everything as we know happens in Atlanta, Reeve-Rabb said. “So we thought, “What better time to open up a second acting program in Atlanta?””
“We’re the only university in Georgia that has every single aspect of filmmaking,” Reeve-Rabb said. “There’s not one thing we don’t teach from casting, acting, sound design, visual effects; everything is covered. Whatever it is, we have it.”
Reeve-Rabb also thinks the office is a great opportunity for all their students as they continue to think about what is new and next in creative spaces.
“We [at SCAD] are leading the way and continue to lead the way in what’s next and answer the call of what is happening in all aspects of the industry and making sure we are doing right by our students by putting out these incredibly talented and prepared professional, young artists,” Reeve-Rabb said.
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