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Inside Job

Casting Directors Brandi Brice and Dana Gergely Enjoy Working as a Team

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Casting Directors Brandi Brice and Dana Gergely Enjoy Working as a Team
Brandi Brice and Dana Gergely have been friends ever since they met while assisting casting director Barbara Fiorentino. Then in 2007, while they were working as associates in different offices, Disney Channel hired Brice to cast its new series "The Suite Life on Deck." Feeling she wanted a partner, she contacted Gergely, and the pair established Brice/Gergely Casting that year. "The producers of 'Suite Life' really gave us our shot as casting directors," Brice says. "I think it just takes somebody to believe that you can do it. They gave us a chance, and I think that we've proved we can do this job. We've been working together ever since."

Although other casting partnerships may split duties, Brice and Gergely enjoy sitting in on casting sessions together and discussing ideas as a team. "We have similar tastes," Gergely says. "We don't always agree, but it's good we have each other to bounce ideas off of. Also, we tend to balance each other out."

"So many times we'll say, 'Thank God we have each other,' because casting can be fast-paced and get overwhelming at times," Brice says. "It's nice to be part of a team."

On Tape

The duo, who won a 2011 Artios Award for casting "The Suite Life on Deck," are currently casting Disney's "A.N.T. Farm" in addition to pilots. When working on a pilot, Brice and Gergely scour the country for talent, releasing a breakdown countrywide and accepting tapes. "Disney is a network that likes to find and develop new talent," Gergely says. "We don't limit our search to L.A. and New York. We love to find that little somebody that comes from the middle of nowhere. Any time an agent or manager wants to send a video, we give them an email address if we don't already have a system set up for them. And it works out. We watch them all."

"It's a lot harder to audition on tape than it is in the room," Brice says. "Your reader might not have the timing right, and then your energy's off. But you do have as fair a shot as anyone else. It's a great feeling when we see a little spark and find that needle in a haystack. We've found many a series regular that way."

For the Parents

"If your kids don't want to be doing this, it's going to show in the audition room," Brice says. "For the most part, the kids we encounter love acting and their heart is in it and they're so excited, but if they want to be somewhere else, it's a waste of your time. Let them be somewhere else."

Brice and Gergely think parents should take a lighthearted approach to auditioning, so children don't feel pressure and stress. They advise teaching children that auditioning is fun. "Then hopefully [your kids] will leave and put it out of their mind," Brice says. "Teach them that if they get a callback, that's a bonus."

"I would not tell any parent to put all their eggs in one basket when it comes to this business," Gergely says. "Your kid could be very talented, but there's not that much room out there. There are so many reasons why an actor does or doesn't get the job. Don't take it too personally if your kid doesn't get this one. We always keep talented actors in mind for other roles if they are not right for the specific one we are casting now."

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