This article is part of our continuing series "Ask a Casting Director."
It’s a cold, overcast and horrifically early February morning when I arrive at Telsey + Company, a New York casting office: not the kind of weather that usually portends positive vibes and good luck mojo for the dozen or so actors already milling about the waiting room at 8:15 a.m. Inside its sterile Midtown office the barometer is even more erratic. Telsey + Company founder Bernie Telsey has just returned from Los Angeles, where the company opened a West Coast branch, and before the first actor can be seen, there is about two hours of box-checking that needs to happen, with approximately 20 casting associates reaching for their coffee and granola, ready to throw out some ideas. I sit next to a young woman holding what looks like 20 sheets of an itemized spreadsheet, which she dutifully checks off, one by one.
“The touring cast of Annie needs a swing,” she might say, and then everyone jumps in, naming actors that might fit the bill.
“We need a newscaster to play themselves in the movie,” Mr. Telsey chimes in, adding the name of a popular cable news host-type. “But not actually him, because he turned us down.” More pitches.