Actors… And Why We Need Them

A few weeks ago, I shared one of our recent commercials with my mother. She loved the spot, but one of her first comments was “who was the guy playing the bird man?” I told her it was an actor who we love named Harry. She agreed he was good, but wasn’t sure why we spent money on an actor when one of us could have played the role. I went on to explain that we are crew. We’re business owners. We’re directors, DPs, editors, and sound mixers. We play lots of roles… but we’re not actors. And truthfully, I don’t think my mom’s question was an abnormal one.

“Mom, can I be a game show host?”

In fact, when I was a kid, maybe 6 or 8 years old, I remember being asked that ever-so-common question that adults love to ask kids: “So what do you want to be when you grow up?” The answer that I always kept in my back pocket was “a game show host.” I watched Marc Summers hosting Double Dare and thought “wow, that looks like a lot of fun!” Even at a young age, though, I knew that such a specific job would be hard to find and even harder to land. My backup job, I thought, would be an actor… because it, too, looked fun, and it would be easy to do. After all, you just have to do is learn some lines, pretend to be someone else, and learn to cry on cue, right?

It wasn’t until I began working in production in the early 2000s that I begun to understand the importance of casting and hiring professional actors. It goes far beyond memorizing the lines and delivering the right facial expressions. It’s being flexible, versatile. It’s instinctually feeling out a situation and adapting your style or delivery accordingly. It’s about nuance that only comes from training and practice.

Thankfully, there’s a surplus of talent in New England. We’ll bring the right actor in from anywhere, but we’re frequently working with incredible talent from New York, Boston, Portland, and even right here in Portsmouth. We have relationships with all of the local talent agencies, but (if I may make a plug), our first call is always to our “secret weapon,” John Campanello of Between Gigs Casting who has fantastic instincts based on the roles or demographics we share with him, and he will setup anything from a full casting call with hundreds of auditions and callbacks, to sending us a dozen head shots or filmed auditions by e-mail in just a few days’ time.

Your actors can make or break a film, TV commercial, or even Instagram video… so for Anchor Line, it’s imperative that, through the process of casting, we take great care to select the right talent for the project.

Enjoy a look behind the scenes of a recent campaign with Cannon Mountain and Drive Brand Studio, where you get a peek into the casting process and hear from John himself!