Green Shirt Studio

Q&A with Casting Agent Jane Brody

Q&A with Casting Agent Jane Brody

In the next few weeks, we at Green Shirt are excited to be offering three amazing workshops with Jane Brody, a former acting teacher and long-time casting agent who has cast films such as Fargo, Groundhog Day, Miller’s Crossing, and Dillinger, as well as countless other films, TV shows and commercials.

On Nov. 29, Brody will be presenting a two-hour workshop called “Casting Truths,” where she’ll answer questions about how to get an agent, what casting directors are looking for and more.

Then on Dec. 8, she’ll be offering a full-day workshop called “Making Your Career Work,” where she’ll help give you some direction to getting where you want to go in your career in the next five years.

And finally, on Dec. 15, Brody will present a second all-day workshop entitled “Nailing Those Small TV Roles” on tips and tricks for landing parts in the TV dramas that are currently being shot in Chicago.

Brody started her career as an actor, working on stage in Minneapolis, Chicago and Los Angeles, before becoming an acting teacher, director and casting agent. She has since served as the head of undergraduate acting at Louisiana State University and as an associate professor of acting at DePaul’s Theatre School and founded her own acting school, Acting Studio Chicago. She is also the author of two books on acting: The Actor’s Business Plan: A Career Guide for the Acting Life, and Acting, Archetype, and Neuroscience: Superscenes for Rehearsal and Performance.

Throughout her long career as an acting teacher, Brody has been privileged to coach many actors who have gone on to have impressive careers, including two-time Oscar nominee Michael Shannon (The Shape of Water), Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family), T.R. Knight (Genius), Alexander Koch (Under the Dome) and more.

Recently we caught up with Brody to ask her to share some of her best tips for actors who are looking to make it in TV and film.

Green Shirt: Many actors who are taking classes at Green Shirt Studio are just starting to audition and get cast in plays in Chicago. How do you know if you are ready to get an agent?

Brody: When you realize that you may be a financial asset to an agent, you are probably ready to get one.

Green Shirt: If you are lucky enough to get cast in one of the Chicago TV dramas, what is one piece of advice you’d give someone when they get on set?

Brody: First, quiet on the set! Then, in no particular order, follow directions, ask questions if you don’t know where to go or what to do, be respectful of everyone, do not expect the director to direct you as you might on stage, do your homework, learn your lines, don’t complain or join groups of complainers. It would be good to learn who does what on a set to avoid stupid mistakes.

Green Shirt: How much do your looks matter when getting cast for on-camera work?

Brody: This question seems to imply that “looks” are beauty. While beauty is always good for leading roles for romantic situations, looking like a strict judge, a prizefighter, a beleaguered parent, a graduate student, a massage therapist, a priest, or whatever, will help actors to get jobs. Of course, many actors rebel against this because they don’t want to be “character actors,” but it is an important truth of American casting that unless you are so gorgeous that people stop in their tracks when they see you, you are a “character actor.”

Green Shirt: You’ve worked with Michael Shannon, Eric Stonestreet, T.R. Knight and others. What qualities did those actors possess that made them successful?

Brody: Love of the art form, desire to act regardless of where or when, courage, humility, perseverance, skill, politeness, and daring.

To get more acting and career tips from Brody, make sure to sign up for one of her upcoming workshops!