“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth”
(Marco Aurelio – Emperor of Rome 161 -180 A.D)
Marco Aurelio was right or at least that is certainly my opinion! Nothing has really changed in the last two thousand years but the way media is reporting current affairs and the way politicians across the globe seem to be trying to push us towards believing in absolutes. Opinions are often being disguised as facts. This seems to be spilling over into many areas and our ways of discussing even fairly personal issues seem to be suffering as a result.
Being a casting director is about being able to see things from other people’s perspective. One of the many pleasurable parts of working as a casting director is reading scripts and entering into new universes. I love analysing the requirements of each role. Each director has his or her own particular vision and each production has its own special needs. Understanding these and putting forward suggestions of actors is always a complicated puzzle and it is very satisfying when a project is finally cast and each role has an actor attached.
I love having my opinion valued but I also need to be flexible and open enough to know when to let go if the director or producer doesn’t see an actor the same way as I do. And I also have to make sure that I have truly understood their perspective. Sometimes I might think an actor is perfect for a role and the director and/or producer totally disagree or vice-versa; this doesn’t make the actor better or worse. It is just a matter of perspective.
One of the skills which I believe needs to be developed in order to be able to see things from other people’s perspective is active listening. It is so easy to just want to argue your point without truly listening to the other person’s opinion. This is a very important part of working in any team and extremely important for actors. Actors can sometimes stop listening due to nerves or insecurities and their castings and performances suffer.
The world would be a boring place if we all had the same opinions but in my opinion it is important to remember that our own personal opinions are based on perspectives rather than facts.
And this is of course all just my personal opinion based on my perspective as a casting director!!