Industry Pro: Casting Director Jami Rudofsky

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As you will read below, casting director Jami Rudofsky’s path to the entertainment industry started with a desire to be an actress. But after realizing while still in school that the life of an actress was not something she wanted for herself, she quickly transitioned into casting and never looked back. Her love of actors and her passion for finding the right fit for the role is evident to everyone who works with her, and readers of YII will be wise to find an entertainment career that is an equally good fit for them.

Current position:  Casting Director/Owner Rudofsky-Levy Casting. Just finished a pilot for ABC called “The Law” starring Cedric The Entertainer and, also, finished a web series called “The Lake” for the CW on-line, directed by Jason Priestley

College & degree:  BFA from UCLA Drama Department

Internship:  During my Junior year at UCLA, I interned with a casting director named Vicky Rosenberg.  Right after I graduated college, I interned for Amy Lippens and Mary Goldberg on a feature film. I learned a lot about how finicky the business is when the movie was shut down after six weeks of working on it.

First job in the entertainment industry:  My first paid job was as a casting assistant on Zalman Kings “Red Show Diaries.” Needless to say, the casting sessions were very interesting.

Big break:  After leaving a very cushy job as the casting associate on “The Practice,” I decided to try and get a casting director gig. I partnered with Mara Casey and our 3rd meeting was for a show on The WB (what is now the CW.)  We met with the producers and, frankly, I didn’t think we had a chance.  But lucky for us, Amy Sherman-Palladino and Gavin Pollone saw that we were two young, hungry gals who would work very hard if given the opportunity. We got the job and became the casting directors on “Gilmore Girls,” which ran for seven seasons.

Eureka moment:  During my sophomore year at UCLA, I realized that acting was not going to be the path for me. I hated auditioning, I didn’t have a lot of self esteem, and I knew I would never be successful as an actress. It was then that I decided to try and get an internship in casting because it seemed like a job where I could use my acting skills and, as it turns out, I was right!

Career path:  My career path has been very interesting. I was very successful very quickly and had good luck with being at the right place at the right time. After “Gilmore Girls” ended, I had to learn how to be proactive again, to sell myself and network, which is something I never really had to work hard on. It has been humbling.

Describe a typical work day in your current position:  A typical work day always starts with a cup of coffee.  Depending on what I am working on, days differ. On episodic television, my day would consist of going through submissions for roles that we are casting. Then we will make choices about which actors we want to bring in for the roles and setting up a casting session. Perhaps having a 2-hour casting session and uploading the auditions on-line so that all the producers and director can view our choices. Once choices have been made, it is up to us to negotiate the deals with the actor’s agent. Oh, and I manage to get an afternoon coffee in as well!

Worst job (or day) in entertainment industry: The day I got fired from a pilot and thought it was all my fault, when in reality we ended up just being the scapegoats.

Best job (or day) in entertainment industry: I have to say, getting to work with Cedric The Entertainer was a highlight. Especially because I worked extremely hard to get that job. I had everyone I know call him to recommend me for the job and when we finally met he said, “Oh, you’re the one that’s been stalking me!”

Best thing about your current job: I love my job and always have. I love finding new talent and watching them find their wings and go on to become successful.

Worst thing about your current job: The instability. I have had to learn to constantly put myself out there and stay connected to people in hopes of finding a job that will last. These days it’s extremely difficult.

Brush with greatness: I have been fortunate to work with extremely successful, brilliant writer/producers. Being able to work with geniuses such as David Kelley and Amy Sherman-Palladino was the ultimate. They have amazing visions and they do not compromise it for anything.

Secret of your success/advice to the newbie: I have learned that you cannot only rely on your skills.  You must constantly put yourself out there and network and ask for favors when necessary. I have also learned that you must have a tough skin in order to survive in this business. And most importantly, always believe in yourself!

Next move:I am casting a new musical called “Broads” which I am very excited about. I am also working on a couple independent features, but my main goal is to get a pilot or two, which will hopefully get picked up to series. And everyday I try to do one thing that is proactive for my career. 

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About JennyYM

Jenny Yerrick Martin is a veteran entertainment hiring executive with 20+ years in film, television, and music. She created yourindustryinsider.com to give students, recent grads and others a true picture of the layout of the industry, and how to break in, transition to a new area, or achieve more success on their current path.

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  • Jennifer Palais

    November 11, 2009 at 8:38 am

    Very inspiring – thank you for your candor! What is the best advice you have for actors?

    • YII

      November 20, 2009 at 3:59 pm

      Hi, Jennifer- We will be providing more career information for actors coming up soon. Stay tuned… YII

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