On Casting Frontier’s 20th episode of The Curve, Burgandi and Govind interview the prolific casting director Michael Stonewall Beaudry from Blok M Casting. Beaudry’s casting work can be seen in many award-winning music videos such as Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” which earned a Grammy for Best Music Video of the Year; Twenty One Pilots’ “Heathens;” Panic! At the Disco’s “Say Amen (Saturday Night);” The Hamilton Mixtape song “Immigrants, We Get the Job Done;” and Led Zeppelin’s 40th Anniversary rerelease of “Physical Graffiti.” 

Growing up, Beaudry’s family frequently moved from continent to continent. In fact, to date, he’s traveled to over 50 countries. He believes his worldly experiences paved the way to a career in casting as he learned about various cultures and people across the globe. “I love people,” he says. “I like watching people.”

Beaudry shares his casting insights with Burgandi and Govind, emphasizing the importance of commitment, making connections, and distinguishing yourself as a professional.

Don’t become an actor

When asked what advice he has for actors, Beaudry replied, “The best advice I would have is that it’s really hard, and don’t do it. Really, because there’s nobody who’s made it in our business who hasn’t been told not to do it. And if I tell them not to do it, and they’ve already been told that and they’re still doing it, there’s no harm to it. And they need to understand that nobody makes it overnight. It’s no different from going to law school or medical school.”

Build Relationships

The challenge for actors to build supportive relationships with others who share similar creative interests and who can collaborate on projects can be daunting. Beaudry insists, “It’s hard, and it’s also vague, and it’s mysterious. You come out here, and everyone knows you get your headshots. You start going to acting class—that’s fine. You do that. But it’s tough because it’s about relationships. How do you build those relationships? Where do you go?” Performers must throw caution to the wind and put themselves out there—for years. “If you’re not willing to put in the time and enjoy the process,” he says, “then you shouldn’t do it because the process is the job.”

Redefine Success

Beaudry believes actors should redefine what success looks like; it’s not just about booking jobs. He explains, “A really successful commercial actor might go out fifty times a month, and if they’re lucky, they book one job. So there’s 98-percent failing. [But] they’re not 98-percent failing; they’re massively successful because all 50 of those jobs were auditions. And most of those, they were competing against two, three, four thousand people. We could only call in 50. And so even if they get an audition and not a callback, that’s a win.”

Be a Pro

With all the amazing talents that come his way, Beaudry finds one characteristic that is consistently lacking. “There’s tons of talented people; there’s not that many professional ones,” he reveals. This realization, however, can be tremendously valuable to actors who are serious about their careers. By focusing on their professionalism, actors can immediately stand out amongst the competition. As Beaudry explains:

“You get an audition, you come in, you treat that as the job. That is the shoot. You come in, you sign in, you don’t annoy us, you listen—you listen, you listen—when we give you direction. You don’t interrupt. You listen. And then when it’s over, you leave and forget about it … but don’t forget about it to the degree that you realize the shoot dates are the 23rd and the 24th and you suddenly make plans to leave on the 22nd. You can’t do that because you’re going to be presented to clients, and if they like you, we’re going to call up the clients and your reps, and we’re going to try to book you, and you’re not [there], we’re going to look like idiots. And that’s a bad look for us—and trust me, it’s a worse look for you. Be a pro. Be a problem solver. Be professional. I can’t stress it enough.”

Casting Frontier’s YouTube series The Curve is hosted by Burgandi Phoenix and Govind Kumar. Stay ahead of the curve by learning more valuable tips and stories from an assortment of industry insiders each week.

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