Casting Spotlight: Jonathan Tanzman, Independent Casting Director


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How did you become a casting professional? What's the backstory here?

I got a BFA in Theater from Columbia College Chicago. I knew back then I wanted to do casting, so after I graduated, I moved back to Los Angeles, where I am originally from, got an internship, and I have been doing it ever since!

What are the most favorite and least favorite parts of your job?

My favorite parts of the job are talking to all types of people, researching different topics depending on the shows I am working on, learning about new actors, and finding new talent to put on shows. The least favorite part of the job is telling someone they didn't get the job. I always say it wasn’t meant to be and never take anything personally, but it's still tough to tell someone they didn't book it if they ask.

Which casting calls or roles were the biggest challenge for you and why?

Right NOW, I am actually working on a very challenging unscripted series with Triple Threat Casting. I am looking for reunited couples nationwide that have been divorced, gotten back together, and are considering possibly getting married again! They get to go on an all-expense paid vacation as well as get PAID. If you know anyone or this fits you, please submit it to

How do you spend your free time?

If I get any free time, I love to catch up on all things reality TV, binge-watch Netflix, hang with friends, play kickball, and see theater!

What would you suggest to aspiring talent who apply to your casting calls?

Great question. DON'T apply for just everything. I see people apply 'just to apply', and that just wastes both your and our time. Make sure that what you apply for is something that really interests you and fits what you're looking to do.

What are the typical mistakes they make?

Make sure to submit a photo that actually LOOKS like you at the current moment. So if you have brown hair, make sure the picture you submit is with brown hair. If you have a mustache and have no desire ever to shave it, don't submit for a role that asks someone to be clean-shaven! This happens a lot. Just make sure to represent yourself with true authenticity.

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How can they improve their chances of getting cast?

I would say do the research and make sure the role or show they are applying for really fits you. Don't apply just for ANYTHING. Really read the breakdown of the show, and if it fits you, then apply.

How do you usually find talent for your projects?

I find talent in all types of ways- from casting websites such as All Casting, to social media, to youtube, to news articles, to going out in the world and scouting people. With covid, that obviously took a backseat, so social media/casting websites were more relevant than ever.

What would you suggest to other people who are seeking talent? What are the typical mistakes people make when searching for talent?

This is definitely a hard question for me to answer, as I am sure I've made mistakes in searching for talent as well. Just speaking for myself, I am always trying to get better at my job one way or another. I always try to look at every submission, read every email, and answer any talent's questions if they message me on Instagram, Facebook, etc. When it gets busy, that's hard to do 'right away', but eventually, I'll always get back to you.

**What are the differences in searching for child talent as opposed to adults? What's more

challenging and why?**

Omg, they BOTH are challenging haha! It really just depends on the show. I would say child talent can be a bit more challenging, just making sure it's the KIDS that want to be there, you know, doing auditions, being on camera, stage, etc., and that it's something they REALLY want to do and be there. I never would want to see children audition or be on television if it really wasn't something they were passionate about.

How do you notice the difference between aspiring talent who can “make it” and those who can't?

Wow, these are great questions. I think every single person that is an "aspiring talent" has the chance to "make it." It just depends on how passionate and driven you are in the craft and how badly you want to "make it." It knows what you want, and what you put into it is what you will get out of it. Whether you want to do scripted or unscripted, Whether it's the acting classes, submitting for the RIGHT roles or shows, to attending plays, networking, figuring out your brand, reading up on what is going on in the industry, and being knowledgeable of everything happening in the business, and really pinpointing what you want out of this industry. If you can do all that, you have a chance to "Make it."

Are you divorced and dating your ex? Is your love story defying the odds? A major cable network and an Emmy award-winning production company are looking for you!

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