.Julie Asriyan, Laura Bray and Jenna Ciralli were appalled by the way casting calls portrayed women. So they pulled together some of the offending material and asked women to read them on camera. The result went viral, bringing much much needed awareness to another facet of sexism in the industry. We asked Julie, Laura and Jenna about the inspiration and process behind their internet hit:
.1. How did the project evolve?
It began with the three of us meeting as graduates of an Acting Conservatory in NYC. We found that we all shared a common ground in how we see the arts and how we wish to contribute to it. In our quest to find and create work, we became all too familiar with reading character breakdowns posted on casting call notices via the numerous casting websites (some legitimate and reputable, others, not so much). Throughout this journey, we would often share with each other particularly ridiculous, hysterical and appalling casting call notices.
.The character breakdowns on the casting call sites varied in their wrongs – discriminatory, stereotypical, sexist, ageist, racist…but all undeniably flawed and limited in the way they sought to reflect a female character.
Discovering the blog Casting Call Woe (which hilariously showcases some of the best of the worst of castings found in the ether) we felt this was a great inspiration and launching pad to help us to showcase our responses in an original and entertaining format and to also to begin a conversation on this very topic.
.2. Do you have a personal relationship to the world you’re commenting on here?
With Julie & Jenna being actors and Laura now a writer, we are continuously immersed in this world, see these casting calls on a regular basis and we are passionate about finding a way to change the narrative that many female roles fall into.
.3. There’s so much buck-passing in this business when the question of representation is raised. How much of a role do you think casting plays in female objectification?
.It's an entirely symbiotic relationship when it comes to creating artistic projects and the responsibility falls on everyone; the writer, the director and the actor, to be conscientious and progressive when they seek to portray female characters and female roles. We fully recognize how dependent they are on each other and "Casting Call | The Project" is the vehicle we thought would be the most effective way to communicate the issue.
.4. The range of women and the authentic expressions on their faces was a powerful part of the video. Can you talk about the women in the video and how they responded to the material?
.We reached out to many women in our artistic community that we very much respected and who are both very diverse in both their work and as people.
.They were incredibly eager to participate in the project and it was amazing how comfortable all those women were in the room. We gave them the freedom to respond to the castings in any way they wished and this greatly influenced the experience. The energy that we felt that day was electric and we felt like something bigger than us was occurring as these women felt heard and seen through out the process. That electricity manifested into this piece. The conversations that happened within the room, off-camera, created such a sense of empathy and unity that the women were willing to share their own personal experiences on camera that we have additional footage of. They range from hilarity to heart-break to outrage.