Sunday Boling, CSA, and Meg Morman, CSA cast major hits, like Waitress, starring Keri Russell and Nathan Fillion. Hello, My Name is Doris, starring Sally Field and The Grudge 3 to name a few. I spoke with the women behind Morman Boling Casting to discover their take on the acting process.
Sunday and Meg believe that overcoming fear is bringing yourself to the work.
An audition can be 30 seconds, we love demystifying the process. We want to demystify auditioning and get actors to a place where they are not fearful of the audition process. Actors shouldn’t hold themselves back. Every project and role is an opportunity to do something different. We encourage actors to bring themselves to the work, be confident, and prepared. We want actors to do and be great. We’re in this together. We’re not your best friend. We’re the people who can hire you. We are collaborating.
Casting is live, strong, and online.
Pre-pandemic we were primarily an in-person audition office. We love meeting actors and directing the auditions for our projects. Now we have moved everything online. Our hope would be to still hold many auditions and callbacks live via Zoom, Skype, Google, etc. but we will have to consider the needs of each project and the amount of time we have. The number of projects actively casting have been cut by more than 50% during the pandemic.
Let go of your inhibitions and don’t be afraid to play.
Horror often requires incredible imagination and the ability to bring high levels of intensity and fear. In horror films, the stakes are always high and almost always at life or death status. We need actors to really let go, scream and yell if the script requires or cry because they think the monster is right behind them. Sometimes we need actors who are unafraid to use their bodies as well. For example, when casting Boogeyman 3 we had a scene where an actor gets swallowed by a trunk at the end of the scene. The best auditioners did not shy away from the moment and really went for some type of action with the trunk, which in our office was a chair.
For drama, we want actors who will grip us on screen.
With a drama, we are typically looking for grounded and natural performances. Dramas can vary from slice-of-life scripts to life-is-on-the-line scripts and often require an incredible range from the leads. The stakes are high in dramas, and often in more relatable circumstances. We are looking for a strong internal life, active listening, and an ability to live in uncomfortable silence at times. For all auditions, we are looking for actors we want to watch, who draw us in and leave us wanting to spend more time with the characters they have created.
Strive for the best and remember, even though we’re online, networking is key.
Strive to do great work at every audition and on every set even on the smallest of roles. Small roles can leave strong impacts and lead to a lifetime of work. CDs recommend talent to one another as do directors, producers, and fellow actors. Also, do not rely upon others to find you. Submit yourself to projects and build relationships within the business. Train! Acting is a practice and you must stay sharp. If you have shot something, have a play or a reading (online during COVID or live afterward) advertise and invite people. Let CD’s know when and where you can be seen.
On indie projects, it’s about the collaborative team. The actor is part of the whole.
A great indie film is a combination of a strong script, an incredible cast, creative direction cinematography, and smart production design. All of the elements of the film work together; nothing feels out-of-place. When thinking back on the film, you struggle to think of what you would change.
Sometimes Casting Directors have the pleasure of being an actor’s “first.”
We have had the pleasure of meeting several actors early on in their careers and watched them reach tremendous success. We cast Tessa Thompson for the first time in the 2009 film Mississippi Damned and then later in the film South Dakota. We cast Mikey Madison in her first leading role in the 2015 film Liza, Liza, Skies are Grey. We cast Natalia Dyer in her first leading role of I Believe in Unicorns. We cast Chris Pine in Small Town, Saturday Night after a very memorable audition where he brought his guitar and sang to us.
We play hard. Work hard. And give back.
We support a non-profit student organization called Film To Future run by our good friend Rachel Miller. The program started five years ago, we’ve been filling the casting need ever since. Film to Future is a chance for young high school filmmakers to learn the film process in a very different way. A lot of the students have gone onto major universities: USC, UCLA, Syracuse and University of Chicago. When they entered the program, many didn’t think college was an option. We love it.