The Actors Directory



No announcement yet.
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • The Actors Directory

    In yesterday's post I talked about discovering actors through Zoom readings. And of course there's also imdb. That's a great database for anyone in movies and television, even if it's not always accurate. For a long time it had me as the dialogue coach for THE NEW FLIPPER. ("No no, Flipper, say it this way: "Eeep eep EEP eep.-)

    But when I used to do those one-day play festivals at the Ruskin Theatre (back when there was theatre), I would be assigned a topic and two actors and have to write a ten-minute play in three hours. If I didn't know the actors I could hop on imdb and in many cases view their demo reels. It was a godsend.

    However, if you're about to cast a pilot or indie feature and you bring on a casting director, it's nice to have prototypes of actors to give them a better sense from the outset of just what you're looking for. And that's hard to do with imdb because there are a gazillion actors listed, more than half-a-gazillion of them dead.

    They're also not categorized by age, or type, or even gender.

    Which brings me to the way we used to tackle this problem "old school.-

    There were books that came out every year called the Actors' Directory. There were two of them, as I recall. Both were the size of large city phone books and featured working actors along with their representation. One book for men, one for women.

    Each book was broken down into categories. Young actresses were "Ingénues.- I think there was a section for children (although there may have been a separate book - we rarely had parts for children). So we'd leaf through the book and make lists.

    There were any number of actresses who could have played in ARSENIC AND OLD LACE that still posted their ingénues pictures. But pretty much everybody was in there. Paul Newman next to a bit player.

    I'm sure casting agents used to leaf through the same books, although the great casting agents went out and discovered new talent not yet in the directory.

    It was a helpful guide and I don't even know if it exists anymore. I'm sure a lot of actors were hired as a result of being in that book. "Hey, Marge, call William Morris. I think we've found our star. This kid Flipper has a great look.-