How casting director Mary Clay Boland found her dream job description in an internship book

Website design By BotEap.comMary Clay Boland was the casting director for While the world turns. During his successful career he has worked in casting for theater, film and television; and she has received two Emmy® Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Casting for a Drama Series. Here she answers the question, How did you get that job?

Website design By BotEap.comMary Clay Boland:When I was in college, I majored in theater and communications (focusing on critical analysis of television). And while doing theater, my main focus was directing.

Website design By BotEap.comAnd so, I would pick my own stuff when directing plays, little plays for the theater department and stuff. And I really enjoyed that process; auditioning people and also making adjustments with the actors and working with the actors.

Website design By BotEap.comHowever, I had no idea that casting director was actually a job at that point in my life. Then I graduated from university and worked in advertising for a year. And it didn’t fit very well. I didn’t love it

Website design By BotEap.comSo, I walked into my mother’s office. She was a college counselor in Louisville, KY (University of Bellarmine), and she had a practice book. And I checked and found out that there are casting internships. And they described what a casting director does: he goes to the theater, he watches everything, he auditions people, he has generals. [NOTE: “generals” refers to general auditions. That’s a type of audition done by a theatre, studio, TV show, casting director, etc., when trying to get a feel for the available talent pool. “General” meaning they aren’t casting for a particular role, yet.] And I was like, “OMG, that sounds like so much fun.”

Website design By BotEap.comI applied for six theater internships across the country, I got three of them, one of them was in New York at Circle Rep Theatre. I chose Circle Rep, I moved there and it was an internship for a year.

Website design By BotEap.comIt was really fun, actually, because the artistic director of the theater (Austin Pendleton), we got there for the first time and everybody (the interns) was going around saying what they were going to be interning for and what they were actually doing.

Website design By BotEap.comAlmost all of them were actors or writers and were interning in other departments; and actually I was the casting intern and I said I wanted to be a casting director.

Website design By BotEap.comSusan Dansby:That is wonderful.

Website design By BotEap.comMary Clay Boland:Yeah, and Austin Pendleton said, “What? Nobody wants to be a casting director. You just fall for it.” And I was like, “Well, no, that’s what I want to do.” So, I had my mind set on that, and that was almost 15 and a half years ago. And I stayed in the casting ever since.

Website design By BotEap.comSusan Dansby:I really want to know what that first year was like.

Website design By BotEap.comMary Clay Boland:I pampered myself a lot because I didn’t realize that wasn’t the norm. But because Circle Repertory Theater had such an amazing reputation; and its members, its acting and writing teams, were incredible.

Website design By BotEap.comSo I didn’t just put out weekly readings for the literary department where I was able to use the members, who were people like Ethan Hawke, Judd Hirsch, Julianne Moore. You would just call people up and say, “Hey, are you available to do this reading?” Lev Schreiber. You know, we did a reading for companionthe Warren Leight play that went on Broadway, and many plays that have now become huge.

Website design By BotEap.comSusan Dansby:That really does sound like heaven.

Website design By BotEap.comMary Clay Boland:It was. It was an incredible experience. I was able to see incredible actors, firsthand, do these readings, and just bring these characters to life and see the playwrights work with them. So I think it really gave me some tools and helped me develop my taste and also see what skills and talents it takes to bring a character to life and be a good actor. So, it was a great experience. It was the best thing that could have happened.

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