Welcome to the Diary of a Casting Director or Letters from Dice.
Who are you and what do you do?
I’ve been asked many many a time how i got started in this industry, so I thought for my inaugural post i would address some of the personal questions, and then move on to more professional answers.
I grew up on the South Shore in Scituate MA. My best friend in 6th grade was into theater and forced me to try out for the Jr High School play. I fell in love. First with acting and being on stage, and later on with the technical behind the scenes aspects, and finally directing. I was lucky enough in those early formative junior high school years to also take part in the High School Drama Club, which at that time was being helmed by local Boston extraordinaire, Bates Wilder. Before taking part in the 1994 SHS Drama Club production of “The Pajama Game” theater had just been fun. Under Bates’ guidance and direction it became a thing i was passionate about learning everything i could about. I delved into the world as much as i could, community theater, all the high school productions, i was always working on a show. It wasn’t until i was thinking about applying to colleges that it occurred to me that some people work professionally in theater, and that there were options OUTSIDE of being an actor! Our Stage Manager, who was a few years ahead of me, had gone to Emerson College and was pursing a degree in Production Management i think. A light went on in my head. THIS is where i was going to go. I applied to several schools with theater programs, and was accepted and chose to attend Emerson in his footsteps.
My four years at Emerson were probably some of the most educational years of my life. I had the opportunity to meet so many talented professionals who also were working as professors, and decided to pursue Theater Education as my major. I wanted to instill in high school students the same love and passion that had been given to me for theater and art. Those were the classes that i think shaped how i view the world now and formed the foundation upon which i interact with the world. I learned so much about LIFE in those education classes with Bethany Nelson and Bob Colby. My senior year i taught one single class as a part of MY classes, and thought to myself, THIS IS WHAT HELL IS. But, senior, what was i going to do? It’s not like i could change majors and start over, i had a month maybe weeks left of school at that point before doing a semester of student teaching. I abdoned the teaching portion, and minored in dance to fill my remaining credits. I was working a couple part time jobs after graduation, just sort of living my life and waiting to see what happened.
Cue Fate. Just before the end of summer, Maura Tighe was talking to her kids’ babysitter, my best friend from 6th grade, the same one that had forced me along this theatrical journey, and mentioned that her current Casting Assistant was moving to New York. My best friend (god bless you, Rob Rota), mentioned to her that I had just graduated from Emerson (where Maura had also gone) and that i knew all our friends and acquaintances contact info off the top of my head and have since we met. A few days later i received a phone call from Maura Tighe. She reiterated their phone call, mentioned that she vaguely knew of me and that i didn’t seem like an idiot, and would i like to try working in casting for 3 months and see if it was a good fit for both me and for her office. I came into Boston to meet with her and the other woman who worked there at the time before starting just to meet and talk a few logistics, she had already hired me. I was so excited. My first REAL job AND it was in the “industry”.
My first day at Maura Tighe Casting was September 8th 2004. We reached the end of my trial period around the end of 2004, and by the time 2005 rolled around, i was a full time Casting Assistant. I worked for Maura until she sold the company to Christine in 2009, and stayed on under Christine at Christine Wyse Casting. When Christine told me in 2017 that she was ready to move on and leave the entertainment industry and pursue other avenues, i knew it was time for me to step up and take the reins of this crazy casting train.
Since day one with Maura, i have known that THIS was where and what the universe had always intended for me. I love working in casting and can not honestly imagine myself being happy doing literally anything else. I love that it’s creative and every day is different. I love that it’s an office type job, i love that there is technology involved, and i love that I get to work with actors constantly without being tied to a show that lasts months. It’s like getting the best aspects of all of it.