Husband and wife team and show business veterans Linda Lowy and Jeff Perry is practically the first couple of ABC’s hit TV show, Scandal. Lowy is the show’s casting director while Perry plays the ravenous political adviser, Cyrus Beene. The two came to the SCAD Museum of Art’s theater May 3 to discuss acting, casting and what it takes to make it in Hollywood.
After an acapella welcome performed by four SCAD students (ending in an appropriate and harmonious, “please cast me!”), Lowy and Perry took to the stage. Lowy started by discussing the relationship between an actor and a casting director. She said that many actors see this in the light of, “us against them,” but really actors, casting directors, agents and managers are all in it together. “You’re looking for the best role for you and we’re looking for the best actor for our role,” Lowry said.
Lowy, whose other credits include casting “Grey’s Anatomy” and “How to Get Away with Murder,” explained that, in order for this mutually beneficial relationship to work, actors really have to, “be themselves” during auditions. “When this process goes right,” Lowy said, “the celebration is huge and the payoff is huge for everyone.”
First-year film and television student Kenya Andrew said after the lecture that this piece of advice stood out to her. “You hear stuff like that all the time, but it means a lot more coming from an actual casting director,” said Andrew.
At this point, Jeff Perry jumped into the conversation to say that learning to be “more himself” during his acting process truly helped his performances. “I went from thinking there was only one to, you know, say a line or do a scene, which is really conclusive and self-conscious and leads to a lot of wasted energy,” said Perry. “I started to let go of all of that, which really connects you to the character.”
Lowy added that going into a casting office with this mindset requires a thick skin. She said, “When you put yourself out there, it can feel like a casting director is saying, ‘you aren’t good enough’ when we’re actually saying, ‘you aren’t right for this role.’” Perry agreed and reasserted that sticking to yourself and your personal vision will land you the best role in the end.
Lyric Jenkins, a first year performing arts major, said, “I really liked that she said you have to have a thick skin…I can be sensitive sometimes, but I can’t with acting. It’s my thing, it’s what I want to do so I can’t let anyone can tell me no.”
The lecture closed with Lowy and Perry agreeing that, “the safest thing to do is take risks.”