Interview with Jym Benzing – In this interview, Jym Benzing, casting director and owner of his casting company Jym Benzing Castings tells us what a day as a casting director is like, what they look for in a casting and how to improve your casting skills. He also talks about the latest changes in the industry and his own experience to reach the place he has now in the fashion industry. Take your time and find out more about casting with Jym Benzing.
Jym Benzing Job: Casting Director
MAO: Can you explain to us a little about a casting director?
JYM: As a casting director I find talent primarily for advertising in the beauty and fashion industry. Usually brands or advertising agencies reach out to me to secure talent for a specific project/ shoot. The talent needed may include models, actors/ actresses, influencers, “real” people or celebrities. It is my job to pull the best possible talent for the client.
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Personality, Flexibility, Attitude: Perfect Model For A Casting
MAO: What do you expect from a model in a casting room?
JYM: Personality, flexibility, cooperativeness, a sense of play, experience, professionalism, personal style and overall good attitude are huge deciding factors for me.
MAO: Something to take a step back?
JYM: If I see a model who looks the same in every picture is a red flag for me. I am afraid that is all we will get from that model on set. We don’t want to spend the money on a model who can only provide a handful of similar looks . I like it when I see a model with a wide variety of expressions and movement style, a fun personality and a repertoire of poses.
If You Are In a Casting, You Deserve To Be There
MAO: Is there anything you would uke to say to the models who attend your castings?
JYM: Models should know if they are being called in, they deserve to be there. They are invited because I want them to book the job. That is my job: to get the right person for the shoot. If you are there, you are there for a reason. Don’t let insecurities get to you. You have a right to that job just as everyone else does!
MAO: How do you treat the models in those preassure situations?
JYM: If I see a model who is just not taking direction correctly I will jump in and take the time to work with him/ her to ensure I get the best performance from them. It is not my personality to make someone feel bad about themselves or to scold them. As I mentioned, I want them there! I need the talent just as much as they need me. No one is better than the other.
The Most Important Of A Model: The Castings
MAO: I see, you’ll do your best to get the model to do a good casting, but what if she can’t get it right?
JYM: If a model can’t handle that, will the model be able to stand alone on set, in front of a seamless with all the clients and crew staring and whispering notes to one another? Modeling is performing. It’s acting! If a model can’t do a requested task in the casting, we assume the model can’t do it if confirmed for the job. Auditioning is part of the business and a learning process for a model /actor.
How To Improve In Your Casting By Jym
MAO: How can those models improve?
JYM: Rejection is part of the business and you will only book a small percentage of the jobs you audition for. But it’s a number’s game. As long as a model comes into the casting with the right mindset, his or her positivity will be contagious. Models need to feel good just being themselves – because there is no other “you.”
Model Alliance: Fighting For A Change
MAO: What is the main change that you have seen in the industry?
JYM: Overall the main difference would be inclusion and protection. We see more diversity in ethnicity, age and in body size. We see social media stars being cast over models or models who are more than models. And we all need to adapt to the new way things are being done. The industry is ever changing.
MAO: A lot of changes. Is there anything that still waiting for a change?
JYM: What we still need to see more of model protection. The industry is still unregulated, there is no union. Models are individual contractors. There are those out there fighting for a change here in the US. Most notable is the Model Alliance, who promotes fair treatment, equality, sustainable practices and better industry standars.
Jym Benzing: More Than A Casting Director
MAO: What inspired you to choose your profession?
JYM: I have to say I didn’t choose the profession, but rather, it chose me. I have been a working actor since I was six years old. I worked on stage and danced on tour around the world, performed on TV and in film, studied theatre in a conservator and at university I studied theatre, acting and directing.
MAO: You’ve been involved in fashion all your life!
JYM: For as long as I can remember I loved glamour! My Mom modeled for a bit and her excitement for fashion and beauty rubbed off me at a very young age. My Dad was a huge fan of rock-and-roll and comedy which had a huge effect on me too. At a very young age, I was attending concerts, the theatre and fashion shows. So, I am a product of both of my parent’s joys.
How To Enter In The Industry: Jym’s Experience
MAO: What happened in your life to make it change so much?
JYM: One day at a commercial audition, the casting director asked me to stay after and read with the other contenders for the role. That night she didn’t offer me the commercial but rather a position as a freelance casting assistant. Which I jumped on! It was all very fascinating. Even though I was just an assistant, I was working for a powerhouse casting agency. I learned so much about the business side of the industry, not to mention getting to know and work with all the players.
From Assistant To A Owner: Jym Benzing
MAO: And you finally landed in L’Oreal.
JYM: Right, eventually I landed a job as the in-house casting director at L’Oreal. A role that never existed before. I worked at L’Oreal for 10 years! It was there that I cut my teeth, learned the inside and outs of the beauty world – and made connections that would change and benefit my life forever.
MAO: Your great experience helps you in your nexts proffesional proyects. What made you take the desition to left L’oreal?
JYM: During my last year at L’Oreal, I also became a casting consultant for Gap Inc, working on Banana Republic and Old Navy. I had my foot in many doors and it was time to take advantage: This is when I started my own business! As I was in the process of moving clients over to my new business I accepted a job as Booking Director at Conde Nast. Today, I work solely for myself.
MAO. Thank you so much Jym for this time with Model Agency One, you have taught us a lot about castings!