Back before the digital days, when Donna Grossman Casting needed to find real people, Donna and her team pounded the pavement, combed the beaches, canvased the public parks, and loitered outside of busy office buildings, restaurants and department stores looking for that next interesting face and story to tell. Donna and the crew would put on their DGC baseball caps, grab their clipboards and Polaroid cameras and wander the winding streets of this concrete jungle. This was real people casting at its best. They expanded to different territories according to the needs of each project. From small towns in New Jersey for a local bank, to Boston, Massachusetts for a cell phone company and all the way down to Savannah Georgia for Miller Beer; there were no limits where Donna and her team would travel.
Casting for real people takes patience, organization and a team work approach. The baseball caps and clipboards have not been hung up, but now Donna can mix the old with the new. Thanks to social media like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and so much more, Donna and her team can now expand their search for real people nationwide. Posting strategic messages on social media geared toward the casting targets, they filter and organize submissions by people’s likes, lives, hobbies, passions, struggles and achievements, to name a few. DGC can now give people from around our diverse country, the chance to come forward to us. Instead of just approaching them on the crowded and sometimes jaded streets of New York City, we encourage them to come to us via our secure and private e-mail server where they feel protected and safe.
Within the first week of posting projects, one can Google a key phrase and Donna’s posts will come up; they go viral. It’s this sharing of the casting messages that makes this formula work for DGC and its clients.
EVERYONE HAS A STORY TO TELL…
On an average, for each real people casting project, hundreds of emails are received. These emails contain pictures, stories, and reasons people would like to be considered. Each and every one of these emails is reviewed carefully by Donna and her team, as they select the individuals who will best suit the campaign. And as unusual as it might seem, even the people who are not selected receive a response to their email with thanks for submitting their story; everyone deserves a response, and we know we are representatives of our clients’ brand on most projects. We always keep this in mind.
Donna’s casting sessions for people who are not a part of the acting community are done in a comfortable, private and intimate setting. People who are not accustomed to being on camera need to feel a sense of trust and comfort in order to tell their story to a stranger. This is where Donna shines. Donna has been a people person all her life. With her background in the arts, as well as a degree to teach, Donna not only knows the right questions to ask, but takes the time to listen, and respond. She and her team provide the perfect environment for people to let their guard down and open their hearts.
The above tabs will show you some of our recent Real People projects and the unique individuals we were able to find.
AWE: Alive We're Empowered needed people who have survived adversity in their life. The outreach for this project resulted in hundreds of emails from survivors who wanted to tell their story. After sorting through all our submissions, we invited over 75 people to come to our studio for their audition. We listened to heartfelt stories of life, of pitfalls and of triumphing in the face of adversity. 6 Survivors were booked. Their stories resulted in an integrated media shoot: Photos, digital video teasers and an in depth video short.
My Name is Kennedy: The JFK Library and Museum commissioned a project to show how the country is still inspired by the legacy of President John F. Kennedy. As part of the project, we cast REAL PEOPLE who are named in honor of our late president with the name of Kennedy. The goal was to cast 2 young people who could articulate the meaning of having the namesake of Kennedy.
Stand Up to Bullying: Bullying is a factor of life and GLAAD with its Spirit day yearly celebration, created an ant-bullying campaign. The casting was targeted towards young teens who know firsthand what bullying is. We looked for everyday teens that understood bullying, felt it, experienced it and wanted to share their stories.
Johnson & Johnson's Mylicon: Casting babies is always considered a Real People project. But in this case we needed to cast not just the baby, but the baby's mother or father. Our goal was to showcase the authentic, unmistakable connection a baby has with their real father or mother.