In his interview with Bonnie Gillespie (Back Stage West, 3/21/02), Casting Society of America president Gary Zuckerbrod made several assertions that demand response.
First of all, Zuckerbrod complains that state attorneys who recently issued a cease-and-desist order to casting director workshops "never bothered to [speak to] or have not responded to other casting directors who have a different point of view" about CD workshops. Well, the CSA's official position on casting director workshops is "no comment" (BSW, 2/24/02), and Zuckerbrod has previously insisted that the CSA will not examine the issue internally (BSW, 3/21/02). Since the CSA has publicly stated that it has nothing to say about the matter, isn't it logical that state attorneys would have no interest in contacting that organization prior to making their ruling? It is CSA leadership, not state labor authorities, who are being willfully negligent in the responsibility to establish and maintain acceptable standards for professional conduct by casting directors.
Second, Zuckerbrod goes on to say that CSA member Billy DaMota enjoys an inferior standing within the casting industry. The truth is that because of DaMota's commitment to eliminating the CD workshop system, quite a few casting directors and their staff hold Billy in substantial disregard. And why not? Closing down the workshops will cut casting people off from a ready, though tainted, source of easy money.
It is a shame that the Casting Society of America long ago abandoned one of the principal purposes for its existence: to be the guardian of ethical standards for its members. Because of this, the state of California has had to step in to restore legality to the casting culture. The workshop system is so pervasive and so corrupt that ethically grounded CDs are forced to choose between having "high standing" among their peers or high standards of professional behavior. Billy DaMota has made his choice. For that he should be applauded, not denigrated.