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Shonda's Master Class

By: Jess Canty


So I love it when Brian's Monday post has an IMMEDIATE example in the things I am listening to every week - and yesterday was no exception.

I am currently working my way through

and would you look at that? She talked briefly about what criteria goes into her making the decision to hire actors.

I think it dovetails pretty nicely with Brian's post about influencing people - its pretty simple really. Be good at what you do - and be a good person. But Shonda, of course, says it much better than that so I transcribed it for you...

From Shonda...

"Aside from all of the usual, 'you want people who are talented, you want people who have something unique and bring something to the table'... For me I always want an actor that sparks something in my imagination. Obviously.

So when you’re casting a role, its never really about how someone looks specifically – I never ask for a type. Any kind of actor can come in for a specific role – it’s not about that.

It’s really about someone who sparks something in my imagination and makes me feel like I can write for them.

But. Then once you’ve found somebody there is what I like to call ‘the vetting process.’ For me, that’s really about finding THREE people in town, who can tell you that the actor is a good person.

And that’s because I have learned that you end up working with people for a really long time – and you want to work with people that you like.

And a creative process, I mean, its very intimate, interestingly enough. You spend a lot of time with people. You spend a lot of time, sort of, inside their head and they’re inside of yours. It’s a very special relationship when it works.

And you want it to work. And for the other actors on that set, you owe it to them. And to the crew, and to the writers – to have people there who are excited about being there. Who are fun to work with.

Because a lot of times the mood of the actors and the temperament of the actors determines the temperament of the set. So for me, its all about – we find these great actors and then I’m like, are they also great people?"

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