Zoom Interview: with David and Joan of O’Connor Casting

(Joan and David O’Connor)

There are two sides to every camera story: those behind it creating movie magic, and the talented performers in front.  What many may not consider are the people who bridge the gap between the two worlds; one of these departments being Casting.  One company that’s been adjusting during these turbulent times is O’Connor Casting, run by David O’Connor and Joan O’Connor, located in Chicago’s west loop.  

Although the novel coronavirus has forced companies like O’Connor to adjust their day to day routines, casting trends like self-tape auditions hit the industry before COVID-19.  Online platforms including Actor’s Access and Casting Networks are used by agencies and casting directors across the country. 

Unfortunately, as productions downsize or pause indefinitely, demand for on-camera talent has dwindled across the globe, and it seems the casting and acting world may never be the same again.   David O’Connor sheds some light on the subject using his years of experience to help guide those looking for answers.

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David O’Connor

With almost 30 years as a Casting Director, David O’Connor is still driven by the notion that talent can make or break a project, and is continuously inspired by “that moment” when talent brings a creative vision to life.

David has cast for thousands of projects including film, television, commercial, voice-over, print, industrial and music videos both nationally and internationally, for the industry’s most respected directors, production companies and advertising agencies.

David has made a name for himself and has established his office as one of the leading Casting Directors in the U.S.  Watch my interview below with David:

Related Board and Organization experience includes serving on the Advisory Council for The Midwest Independent Film Festival, past Board of Directors for Chicago’s Collaboraction Theatre Company and Roadworks Theatre Company.  He is also a member of CSA (Casting Society of America) and AICP (Association of Commercial Producers).


REEL: What is the biggest change in the casting world since COVID hit? (submissions, auditions, castings, zoom seminars, self-tapes, V.O., Print and social media influencers.)  
O’CONNOR CASTING: Well, lack of work and need for Casting Directors and Actors during this time. Since on camera productions are pretty much non-existent or being done remotely not much need for “actors” other than portraying them in their normal “quarantined” state of personal feelings.  I imagine there is an uptick in social media influencers and I know that Voice Over work is being done… safely. 

REEL: What do you think will likely remain similar in the future after COVID? (online classes, self-tapes, v.o. home studios, etc.)
O’CONNOR CASTING: When COVID is completely gone and we have no fear of people coming together I would imagine many things will go back to normal.  Whether or not there is more or less on-camera work in advertising, film/tv is up in the air.  I imagine the economy and business/product advertising needs will adjust and budgets for those productions will determine the fate of the size of productions.  Voice Over home studios have been on the rise for years so this just increases talent being able to work from home more.  

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REEL: In regards to online acting classes.  Yes, online classes will continue, but acting is an extremely personal experience and nuances in teaching will always be better hands on and in person.  Theatre acting is different and doesn’t work well when reviewed thru a computer.  
O’CONNOR CASTING: Zoom seminars have been nice to do and be apart of the community.  It helps to keep spirits up and active as so many are feeling lost in isolation.  

REEL: What do you see staying the same after COVID. (online classes, self-tapes, v.o. home studios, etc.)
O’CONNOR CASTING: Too early to tell where the current state of things will transform into regularity after this all ends.  It will surely change how we work… hopefully for the better.  

REEL: What have you done personally to help inspire actors during the Stay Home movement?
O’CONNOR CASTING: I’m doing some things behind the scenes for people.  Have been apart of two Zoom Seminars with acting school affiliations. Additionally have some things planned for when we are closer to coming out of this and able to begin to see actors again in person.

REEL: What advice can you give actors and actresses on how they can prepare themselves for the world after COVID? 
O’CONNOR CASTING: I would give the same advice that I always give.  Work at your craft, keep educating yourself as much as possible with acting, study history, marketing, watch film and television shows, watch commercials, see what is current and where trends are going.  Stay active in any way you can with the industry.  Be who you are and stay creative.