Spotlight on a Star: Spencer Morgan

Actor Discusses His Experience and the Benefits of Interning at a Casting Office

Actor Spencer Morgan
Actor Spencer Morgan.

I believe that embracing individuality, working hard and sharing kindness are key elements that help to create success in the entertainment industry.  Actor Spencer Morgan exemplifies what it means to be a successful actor (and a successful individual overall)!  In addition to being one of the kindest individuals I have met in L.A., he is extremely hard-working, and he has constantly been willing to share his advice in order to help others create their own successes.

Spencer has been sharing his advice about acting and entertainment with me for quite some time, and he has graciously agreed to share more advice here on acting.about.com.  For this interview, Spencer discusses his experiences and the importance of networking as actors.  He specifically explains how interning at a casting office is a great way to network and to learn!   

Spencer Morgan’s Background  

Spencer has had an interest in the performing arts since his childhood.  He explains how he originally became interested in acting and entertainment:   

When I was a kid, I would borrow my parent’s video camera, and my brother would record me doing skits.  I would also write these crazy stories and my teacher would ask me to act them out in front of the whole class.  So I started doing theatre and told my parents I wanted to become an actor.  I think I was about 12 or 13 years old, so I knew really early on what I wanted to do when I grew up.  This huge passion for expressing myself and the support from my family created strong motivation!”

Interning in a Casting Office

Motivation is very powerful, and staying motivated and excited about your work is important throughout your acting career.  A wonderful way to remain excited as an actor is of course by learning as much as possible, including learning about and seeing the “other side” of the industry firsthand!

Working and interning in casting and “on the other side of the camera” will help you to gain knowledge that can be useful to your acting career.  Spencer Morgan has worked as in intern at a casting office, and he explains how working in a casting office influenced his career as an actor in a positive way. He said: “Getting into casting really changed things for me.  I started to see casting directors for who they are:  people who are rooting for you.  It's really common as an actor to see casting directors as people who are just sitting behind a desk and judging you.  But once I started to get to know them and be in the room, my thoughts [about casting directors judging] instantly went out the window.  That was when I started to book work, because I was able to be fearless and have more fun.”  

As Spencer points out, casting directors are rooting for actors!  While the audition process can be a cause of anxiety for many, remembering that a casting director is on your side will undoubtedly ease nerves and help to make the experience much more enjoyable!  I asked Spencer if he recommends that actors spend time interning in casting, and I also asked if he would share his thoughts about how doing so is helpful in terms of networking.

 He said:

Absolutely I think every actor should [intern in a casting office]!  You may even find out you have a second passion.  My experience is that 100 percent - interning in casting will help you network. Especially at a casting studio like where I work [CAZT studios] where they have multiple casting directors (and even producers and writers) in and out every day.  You just have to be proactive.  That means sometimes picking up a shift, because it means possibly striking up a discussion with a casting director that you want to get to know.  I started to learn who was who, who was casting what, and so on.  After building relationships, I started getting called in A LOT and really started to book work.  It helps my agent a lot too, because once she knows who I'm building relationships with, she knows who to pitch me to.”

Spencer mentions that actors “have to be proactive,” which is a fantastic point.  As an actor, you are your own boss of your career, and it is important to do as much as possible and utilize every opportunity in order to network and get yourself out there.

How to Intern for a Casting Director

So, my actor friend, if you’re interested in interning at a casting office, how do you get yourself into one?

Personally, when I began seeking a casting office at which to intern, I researched casting offices that were casting the productions that I was interested in being a part of, such as shows for the “Disney” network, as well as casting offices who primarily cast commercials.  I also looked for information about casting directors whom I had previously met.  Information about casting offices, including addresses, are often listed online.  Several resources to check out are the Internet Movie Data Base (PRO), Backstage, and the “show sheet” if you’re a member of SAG/AFTRA.  

Once you find an office that you’re interested in interning for, contact the office and express your interest in being a casting intern.  Reaching out via email, phone or a hardcopy letter is usually acceptable.

Spencer adds the following helpful advice for anyone who is interested in interning in casting:  

Make a resume tailored for casting.  If you have no experience, do what I did and find your “special skills” from other jobs that apply to casting.  Learn how to use “Breakdown Express” (they offer a free manual that is easy to learn) and “Cast About” (another tool that casting directors use).  I would suggest calling the office beforehand and asking if it's a good time to come by and drop off or email your resume.”

It is important to note that you likely will not be paid for an internship, and some casting offices only accept interns in exchange for school credit.  Some casting offices do not accept interns at all.  If a casting office does accept applications for an internship, be sure to ask about their policies.

 

There is Only One of You

From my experiences as an intern in several casting offices, I’ve been able to witness a very important quality that many casting directors are looking for:  Casting directors don’t want actors to be whom they think casting wants them to be.  They want you to be you!  (Your individuality sets you apart from every other actor!)

On this subject, Spencer shares his insight regarding embracing individuality as an actor: “It's the most important thing in acting and in life to be authentic and show people your amazing qualities! You have to stand out as an actor, and the only way to do that is by being yourself - because there is only one of you.  Once you find out who you are, and embrace that, you start to give other people permission to do the same.”

Spencer is an individual who fully recognizes the importance of being who you are in this business.  He goes on to explain how he has continuously found success in entertainment:  

I keep people close who uplift me and push me to do better.  I know that once I complete one job, that – yes - I should celebrate and reward myself, but to then focus on the next step.  I think it's also important to have a ‘mentor’ in any industry who understands what stage you are at and who can guide you in the right direction.”

Finally, Spencer offers a simple yet inspirational message to anyone considering following his or her dream and pursuing a career in entertainment.  He said, “Make the jump!  Learn as much as you can and be constantly inspired.”

Keep Up with Spencer Morgan!

Spencer is a very busy guy!  I asked him where we can keep up with his journey as an actor.  He replied:

“I'll be guest starring on the new MTV series "Greatest Party Story Ever" which premieres January 14th, and in a major independent film later this year!  You can follow me on Twitter (@spencerwithans) or on my website: http://www.spencemorgan.wordpress.com.”

Thank you Spencer for all of your advice, and thank you for being such a positive member of the entertainment community!