Welcome to the first of a new series of articles on Backstage wherein we profile and interview some of the amazing people behind the casting directors: the unsung heroes of casting.
Cori-Anne Greenhouse was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, on the east side of the big island. She went to Colorado State for college and majored in fashion merchandising.
“When you’re from a small town on a rock in the middle of the ocean, you’re isolated, and the idea of being in the entertainment industry… No part of me thought this was even a job, let alone an option,”she says. “And then all of a sudden, it’s your life. And you’re like, ‘Oh my God. Maybe I wasn’t really prepared for this.’ ”
I love Cori, and so should you. Not only is she one of the people to whom I owe my entire career in casting, she’s also one of the best known and respected commercial casting professionals in Los Angeles.
Below are some of my favorite moments from our talk.
Shaan: What’s the difference between commercial and theatrical casting?
Cori-Anne: With theatrical, you get to really see somebody’s chops. It’s one of the reasons I really love watching movies and television a lot—because I get to see a different side of the actors that I bring in.
We bring in all these actors to do 30 seconds of, like, “Ha, ha, funny. Come buy some cheeseburgers.” But when I see you on “Criminal Minds” and you’re off being a crazy, psycho serial killer, I fucking love that shit because I’m like, “Oh my God, I never saw that coming,”because you’re the guy that sells cheeseburgers.
Shaan: Why don’t commercial CDs run their own auditions?
Cori-Anne: Oh my God, so many reasons. We’re usually in the back prepping other jobs, writing your Taft-Hartleys, booking another job, negotiating with the clients, or taking pitches from agents. There’s a plethora of reasons why we’re not out there.
The thing that a lot of people don’t realize too, though, is that there’s a TV in my office and I’m still watching you. Just because I’m not in the room physically doesn’t mean I’m not watching what’s going on in the room.
Shaan: So, what do you look for in a session director?
Cori-Anne: That they’re able to read the treatment and get a sense of whatever the casting director got from the director, and [that they’re] able to translate that and make it happen inside of that room. It’s really an extension of the director himself or of the creative directors, because it’s you doing the work that they envisioned.
Shaan: What kinds of directors do you love to work with?
Cori-Anne: I love directors that keep an open mind to things, that say, “You know what? We really wanted this guy to have long hair and tattoos, but actually the guy with the short hair with the dark circles under his eyes was the better choice. He was a better actor, and that’s the one we should go with.”
Shaan: How would you encourage actors to view the industry?
Cori-Anne: I think not enough people treat this like a community, and that we should be helping each other out. I’m here to get you work. I’m here to make you better at what you do.
Shaan: The difference between somebody giving up and somebody sticking through it and succeeding could just be a friend who was there for them.
Cori-Anne: Yep, or just hearing, like, one little thing that changed everything.
Shaan: What do you enjoy about your job?
Cori-Anne: One of the best parts of your job is calling and saying, “I have a booking.” That joy and excitement that the agent has on the other end is awesome. Hearing how, “Oh my God, he needed this so bad. He hasn’t booked in six months,” and you're just like, “I'm glad I was the one that did it.”
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