L.A. Casting Director visits NMSU


Mitchell Allred

Casting Director Mark Paladini visited NMSU this week.

Los Angeles casting director, Mark Paladini, will be visiting The ASNMSU Center for The Arts this week. 

Paladini is close with Wil Kilroy, head of the theatre arts department at New Mexico State University. Kilroy reached out to him so that the theatre students at NMSU could interact with a professional in the business and work with him firsthand. 

Paladini has cast movies and TV shows like The Mask, Babylon 5 and Beverly Hills, 90210. 

Paladini talked about a combination of things in his workshops. Such include creative collaboration between production and actors, presenting one’s head-shots and resume and how a casting director must be willing to collaborate with others to be successful. 

“I would put on one hat and take off the other one,” Paladini said about running workshops. 

Paladini has also worked as a director, a producer and an actor himself. He also has two movies that he has casted in the works. One is called The Bet, and the other titled Getting To Know You, which is still in the editorial stage. 

“A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that a casting director’s job is to cast the role. It’s not. Our job is to find choices, viable choices,” Paladini said. 

This means that they must collaborate and negotiate with several other members of the production crew, most importantly the director, as to who gets a role and who doesn’t. 

Sometimes the person a casting director would want in a role just does not portray the character as needed. That means actors can audition for a piece, not get cast, but very easily get cast in something else because a casting director saw their initial audition and liked them for another role. 

“Sometimes I’ll bring someone in and say, ‘You know what…You’re not right for this, but I’m casting this other TV show and I’d like to bring you in for that,’” Paladini said. 

Casting can also be a very precise and circumstantial job, Paladini noted, having to cast a person that has very specific features for a role is always a possibility. There may also be a chance where you have character requirements that you don’t have to be as precise about, he said. 

“When I was working on Babylon 5, it was set in outer space…And part of the fun of doing futuristic casting is…we had a lot of leeway,” Paladini said.  

A common misunderstanding is that casting directors aren’t pro-actor. Casting directors really do want to find that diamond in the rough and give somebody their breakthrough role. They want to see actors succeed, not turn them away, Paladini added.  

A public workshop was held on Wednesday afternoon, as well as a workshop where actors can get feedback on monologues and readings in the Rehearsal Studio of the Center for The Arts that evening. There will be an additional open forum September 22 from 9 a.m.-10:15 a.m. also in the Rehearsal Studio. 

Sessions are free and open to all. For more information, call 575-646-6000. 

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