As anyone who has ever sat in on a casting audition will attest, the very first thing that happens when an actor leaves the room is that everyone still in the room starts gossiping about the person. This is a practice that has been going on ever since the invention of the casting couch and, quite frankly, is not the least bit controversial. What is controversial, however, is when a casting director sends out her disapproval over a bad line read or an unfortunate bout of nose picking via Twitter. This is what happened last week to Broadway casting agent Daryl Eisenberg, who was live-tweeting her opinions both positive and negative, while also being totally anonymous of actors while she was conducting a casting session for Gay Bride of Frankenstein. Not surprisingly, when the Actors' Equity Association got wind of these developments, they were none too happy.
According to the New York Times, posters on BroadwayWorld.com immediately noticed Eisenberg's critical tweets ("If we wanted to hear it a different way, don't worry, we'll ask") and took to the forums on that site to discuss the unprecedented behavior. When word got back to Eisenberg that she was being vivisected on the site, her initial response would probably be most accurately labeled as defensive ("Freedom of speech. Ever heard of it?"). However, she quickly found herself backing down once she caught an earful from the Actors' Equity Association. By way of tweet, she explained that:
After a productive meeting with AEA this afternoon, I’m happy to report that we have agreed to both put this behind us. By mutual agreement, future tweets will not be coming from the audition room regarding the actors auditioning. I apologize to the actors and professionals who put themselves on the line every time they audition and will continually strive to make the audition room an inspiring, nurturing place for creativity and talent. I look forward to working with AEA and its members on future projects, and hope to see you all in the audition room soon.
A casting director backing down from a fight? This has got to be a first! This would've never happened at Walken/Jaffe, this much is certain. We can only hope that other casting directors learn from this lesson. No, we don't mean never to tweet about hilariously bad actor auditions. We just mean not to do it with an account that ties back to your company!