Kindness in Casting

Thanks for reading the first official “Bacon Blog”!  I’m not going to lie, it’s a lot of pressure to be the first Bacon Blogger for Slate Casting!! 

Before I go into my blog, I just want to say on behalf of Julie, Aaron and myself that we hope you will continue to check in on the Bacon Blog. We will have a new blog each week surrounding casting, the entertainment industry, funny stories, tips and tricks and a chance for you to get to know us a little more outside of the audition room :)

Okay, on to my first blog entry… (now I certainly do not consider myself a writer, so bear with me :) )

I went back and forth over what my first blog post should be about, I thought a lot about Slate:  what Slate means to me, why we started Slate, what casting is like in Boston and New England, what makes us different, who I am, etc.  Everything I thought about brought me back to one word - Kindness.   It’s a word that has become such a focal point of my life, both personally and professionally.   My mantra when Julie and I decided to open Slate came from the 2015 Cinderella Movie: “Have courage and be kind”.  It was the exact phrase that I would say to myself each and every day, hoping that I could continue to embody that mantra each day as Slate Casting moved forward and as I grew as a person.

The entertainment industry in general is not always an industry that exemplifies kindness.  Sure, we see celebrities doing amazing charitable things, and yes, that is such a great way to give back, but we rarely see people exemplifying kindness on a daily basis.  Whether it be in casting, production, networking, or collaborating- often the main goal is to get the job done, and get it done well before moving on to the next.  The industry is full of people who are motivated by money, power, glamour, notoriety, a chance at fame, and sometimes by fear.  Others seem to be stuck in patterns and habits, the “this is just what I do” mentality.  I think throughout my career in the entertainment industry before opening Slate, I was motivated by many of these.  It was not until I reached a breaking point that I realized something needed to change.

 In early 2014, I had become hardened by the entertainment industry.  I knew that I loved casting- I loved the creative aspect, I loved meeting and getting to know new people all the time, I loved watching people grow in their acting careers, I loved working with young kids and teens to bring out their sense of confidence, and I loved the potential my role in this industry had to make a positive impact in people’s lives.  Yet, I felt hardened and would cry because I did not feel I was being true to myself.  I felt like I was not cultivating kindness in my position like I could I be.  It took my husband pursuing his dream and creating an amazing community of kindness to really wake me up from my “going through the motions” phase of my casting career. 

Though I thought I had left casting, it wasn’t long before I found myself being drawn back in. I started freelancing and taking on projects here and there, and I came alive again!  I worked on myself each and every day and made a commitment to cultivate kindness, regardless of the work situation.  When I started doing that, I realized that I could have an impact.  I could maybe give a smile or a sigh of relief to even the most stressed of clients.  I could make the actors feel more at ease in the audition room.  I could build stronger relationships within the industry.  Doesn’t seem like anything huge- but it felt huge.  It felt right.  My client list started to build, my relationships with the actors became more real, as opposed to all business, and I was happier and feeling more fulfilled. 

In this freelance time, I was able to develop quite a few industry relationships and I found others who were embracing kindness.  I had the pleasure of working with Kristie Raymond of Viewfinder Productions and Emma Nelson of Emma Nelson Casting in Los Angeles- two women who were further examples of everything I knew casting could be.  They were brilliant, hardworking women who did not operate under all of those previously mentioned motivations.  They came from a positive place.  They were cultivating kindness and getting wonderful response from it.  It was with the extra inspiration from these two lovely ladies that I decided that maybe I could turn this into something more and really make a place for myself in this industry.

Cue Julie Arvedon Knowlton- one of the kindest people I have ever met.  Julie had always been a good friend of mine and I knew she was the perfect partner to start a new casting endeavor in Boston.  From the get-go, we had the same mentality- create a place where we would give both our clients and the actors a positive experience from start to finish.  We would “have courage and be kind” with each and every job and maybe we would make a small difference in this hardened industry.

Slate Casting was born from a place of positivity.  It took a lot of courage to officially take the step to make it a reality, but from there we have stood by our initial mantra and feel as though we have succeeded so far.  Bringing on Aaron Kahl was the icing on the cake.  Aaron has been one of my best friends since I started in this industry, and by joining Slate, he completed the family.  Slate Casting is now whole and we are all focused on making a “positive” impact on casting and the entertainment industry in Boston.  We are all in this together, from the clients to the casting directors to the talent- so if we all come from a place of helping each other reach success and being kind throughout the process, we will all make a positive change.

If you have auditioned for us before, you know that we ask you to “step on the bacon,” and if you’ve yet to audition with us, you’ll soon get to step on the bacon duct tape as well J.  Random right?  No, standing on the bacon came from this whole mantra.  When we say that, everyone smiles or laughs- without fail.  It immediately creates a positive environment.  And with that… I encourage you to always “have courage and be kind” because you never know what dreams will be realized and how you might positively impact another’s life.

 Happy Blogging!

 Xo
Ashley