Breakdown Services has been working with casting directors since it opened its doors 40 years ago. When founder Gary Marsh attended the most recent CSA Artios Awards and heard an announcement about a new collaborative program at Syracuse University’s Tepper Semester in the Department of Drama at the College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) that would help train people to become casting directors, it appeared to be the perfect partnership.
The program, designed in collaboration with the Casting Society of America, was developed for casting students, including key professional components and core courses with fellow Tepper students. Marsh set up a generous five-year scholarship program for the Tepper Semester program in the drama department of the University, specifically to support students training in the casting director field.
“Breakdown Services is proud to support the Tepper Program,” says Marsh. “We hope through this scholarship that we can play a part in introducing more students to the casting process and the invaluable role casting directors play in the entertainment industry.”
“We are delighted that Mr. Marsh, founder and president of Breakdown Services, recognized our collaboration with the CSA, its importance to the field and decided to contribute in such a meaningful way,” says Ralph Zito, chair of the department of drama. “His support of the casting program partnership and apprenticeship provides an opportunity for students enrolled in Syracuse University’s Tepper Semester program who may not otherwise have had the access, to position themselves for a career in this industry.”
Program Director Lisa Nicholas was delighted to receive the generous contribution, but thought it could benefit a more diverse student population. “When Gary, myself and casting director, Rosalie Joseph, sat down for a meeting on this we all thought it would be especially helpful to dedicate a portion of the scholarship to students of diversity.” The scholarship now funds a wide range of young people interested in the casting profession.
The first recipient of Breakdown Services’ scholarship was Ebony Hardin. A student of Carnegie Mellon University, Hardin has been receiving special assignments like an educational internship at Tara Rubin casting, master classes with New York City casting directors, attending numerous shows and plays, all in addition to a private training session at Breakdown Services’ office in New York.
The casting director training program and apprenticeship that premiered in the spring of this year is a joint effort to maintain a high standard of professionalism and artistic integrity within the field. There is no formal degree for casting directors; the semester-long program will provide students the hands-on training they need to be prepared for the profession.
Breakdown Services (www.breakdownexpress.com) was established in 1971, creating the process that is used around the world to cast feature films, television shows, commercials, theater and other projects that require actors. Since its inception it has developed many other services for the industry, including the Virtual Channel Network (www.virtualchannelnetwork.com) that uses the power of the Internet to transmit original content developed specifically for members of the entertainment community. Actors use Breakdowns' Showfax service to obtain audition material at (www.showfax.com), as well as Actors Access (www.actorsaccess.com) that allows for actors to update their pictures, resume and demo reels to submit for specific roles posted at the request of casting directors, CastingAbout (www.castingabout.com), an up-to-date source for real-time casting and production information in Los Angeles and New York and Talentproplus, a database application that organizes and automates the daily tasks of talent representative businesses. Headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif., Breakdown Services operates through a global network of services in the U.S., England, Canada and Australia.
For more information, contact Jenna Pass, Breakdown Services, (310) 276-9166 ext. 413, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Lisa Nicholas, Tepper Semester director, at (212) 239-1113.