Tag Archives: friends

Thoughtful Thursdays #197 – Art

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Art can be many things, for example, like painting, writing, singing, cooking, fashion, music, etc. Creativity in the arts is subjective. The beauty or chaos of the creation belongs to the beholder.

There is a place in this world for everyone’s creations. There is someone or many someones that will resonate with what you create. Whether it’s a painting or an article or a cake, there will be those that love it.

Therefore, as creative creatures we must never give up in creating and sharing our creations with the world at large. Share your creations on a blog, on Facebook, your family, friends or neighbors. Share what you have, someone needs to see it, perhaps to brighten their day.

And if you get a negative remark on your creation, just brush it off. Remarks are from those who are either jealous, out of touch with the beauty in any creation, or just plain miserable. Don’t let that bring you down. Keep creating and keep showing.

The world needs your creativity.

 

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James Mottram, Casting Director

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James Mottram

James Mottram

 

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Welcome to the first of many fascinating, strange and wonderful interviews for purelysimplewords.com blog. The objective here is to share inspiring stories of how important it is to follow your dream.

 

 Meet Mr. James Mottram, he has been a Casting Director and Assistant Casting Director for such films as “Precious”, “NY Undercover” and “Suits”.

 

 Actually James and I are old friends who lost touch a very long time ago. Through the miracle of Face Book we were recently reunited and got caught up on the past twenty years. In this interview James will enlighten us on what casting is and his current role in the Casting business. He will also share what he has learned and will pass those lessons along to you.

 

 Casting has been around ever since humans have been doing theater and not much has changed. In the early stages of a theatre/movie production the cast is picked through auditions in front of a panel. The panel consists of a producer, director and choreographer (if necessary). Through the process of elimination finalists are chosen. It is not just the ability to read lines or dance or sing. The panel looks for chemistry between the actors. This is an important component to make any production successful.

 

 Thank you James for taking the time to chat with me at purelysimplewords.com (PSW) about your experience in Casting.

 

 PSW: How did you get started in the Casting Business?

 

 JM: Thank you for having me here. I started working a job at a telephone answering service that a lot of actors and casting directors used to get work. I started asking the actors when they checked in if they did extra work. If they said yes and were union I directed them to call certain casting directors. It worked out where a certain casting director liked my work in helping find appropriate actors. They eventually got a film and brought me in to cast all the extras.

 

 PSW: What made you move from NY to CA?

 

 JM: I had wanted to try my luck out here in California. Since I wasn’t getting any younger I decided to just go for it. My Mom had passed away and there was nothing keeping me in New York. I can still assist in casting extras in New York because I have a New York cell phone number and a computer.

 

 PSW: How long have you been doing this work?

 

 JM: I have been doing this work for twenty plus years.

 

 PSW: Whom do you deal with e.g. actors, directors and writers?

 

 JM: People who do extra work that are union and non-union. I mostly deal with actors and Assistant directors who give me the extras breakdown (what they need for any given day).

 

 PSW: What were the three most difficult things you have done or had to go through in your career?

 

 JM: The first is an unreasonable director who wants things to happen last minute and no matter how hard you try you can’t do it. For example, this one director who was also the star of the movie changed his mind at 11 PM one night and wanted to do a different scene for the next day. That would entail using 10-15 kids, which was going to be impossible since the call time as 7 AM, and the kids had to get permits in order to work. Since it was so late that was not going to happen. The second is unprofessional actors, who don’t show up on time and when they do get there they give you a look like I am here, deal with it. And the last thing, sometimes they just come to meet their future life partner.

 

 PSW: Have you had any jobs in CA?

 

 JM: My most recent job is where I cast background on a small project, which needed about 50 people for a 7 PM call going till 4 AM, and I was just hired for the job about 2 PM the same day. However I made it happen and got them all the people they needed and everyone was happy.

 

 PSW: Describe you ideal day?

 

 JM: My ideal day is when a director knows what he wants and the actors show up in wardrobe ready to work and all is good.

 

 PSW: If your life were a movie, who would play you?

 

 JM: Woody Harrelson

 

 PSW: If you could have one super power, what would it be?

 

 JM: Curing Cancer

 

 PSW: If you could spend a day with one person, living or dead, who would it be and why?

 

 JM: It would be my late boss Sylvia Fay. She taught me so much about the casting business and I feel there is so much more I could learn from her. I want to tell her thank you for the time to teach a no nothing kid all about the casting world and I will always remember her and thank her.

 

 PSW: What are your favorite movies?

 

 JM: I like scary movies and old movies like “Meet Me In St. Louis” starring Judy Garland.

 

 PSW: Would you recommend Casting as a career? Why/why not?

 

 JM: Sure I would. It is so rewarding and does your heart good being able to hire someone and give him or her work; it is not a 9-5 job. It’s more like 5 AM to 9 PM. sometimes seven days a week. So if you don’t want to work those kinds of hours don’t get into the casting business because your social life will go out the window.

 

PSW: What is the strangest thing that happened to you on the job?

 

 JM: I wouldn’t say it was strange but I worked on the movie “Precious” and cast a young girl to play a jump roper. Well they wound up firing one of the lead girls and upgrading the girl I hired from an extra to a principal actor. That made me very happy.

 

 PSW: What do you do for fun?

 

 JM: I watch tennis matches on TV, volunteer to walk dogs, listen to music and people watch.

 

 PSW: What do you do in your free time?

 

 JM: I love to go for walks and just stay home sometimes and read.

 

 PSW: Are you a morning person or night person?

 

 JM: Morning but when I can I love naps.

 

 PSW: What do’s and don’t do you advise for anyone wanting to be in casting or acting?

 

 JM: Be professional and don’t take rejection seriously if you want to get into acting, study the craft. Look into doing some theatre (you won’t make any money) but you will get experience and learn most casting directors. When a director receives actors’ headshots, resume and business card the first thing they look at is where they studied and the theatre they have done.

 

 PSW: What do you plan to do next?

 

 JM: More casting, it’s time consuming and not a 9-5 business. A lot of hard work but it’s so worth it giving people jobs.

 

  Thank you James for your generosity in sharing your knowledge of the Casting business. To contact James email him at j_mottram@aol.com.

 

 James is truly an interesting person and full of life. I hope he is an inspiration for you to stretch yourself and follow your dream just the way James did. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do It Yourself World

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This is a very DIY (Do It Yourself)world. That’s kind of scary. What do I mean by that. Living and working used to fit into nice, comfy, predictable molds. All you had to do is find where you fit in. A company, a role, a field of interest. But all that has changed. Like it or not life and working has become a DIY project. For example: in today’s world the jobs that provided security are few and difficult to get and are their criteria is ever changing. Life styles are changing so fast that almost anything is acceptable as a new way of co-habitation. Which leads us to find alternate ways of living and working.

But what happens when Doing It Yourself is not clear. There are thousands of books to read and thousands of people who will try to help with their view of any given situation. It’s human nature to find a place to fit in. How about fitting in with a DIY culture. It’s a different and unclear way of finding your way until you have reached a destination just for you.

If you have expressed, in your world, that you want to be an artist, or baker or writer or a doctor or anthropologist or business owner and the reaction you get is negative.

STOP expressing those interests to those who are not willing to support you. FIND those who will support you. MOVE towards what you really want to do. DON’T waste precious time looking for approval from those who have no idea or interest in who you are. That includes family, teachers, bosses, friends or anyone who is clueless about you. Do It Yourself means to Be Yourself Always.

It won’t be easy until you Do Your Own Life. Decide to have your own life and wish well to those who are not on the same path as you. You will end up being an inspiration to the naysayers. You will finally respect yourself and others will respect your for having the courage to create your own life. You will end up making your own kind of security and life style extraordinaire. And be truly happy.

Happy Doing It Yourself and Being Yourself.