Student Casting Call searches for Hudson Valley talent

Entrepreneurship major Erin Scantlebury has previously appeared in a commercial for a NYC station and wanted to take a shot at becoming a Hudson Valley star. Photo by Laura Pierson

Laura Pierson

Staff Writer

“Be a Star!” announced the sign outside one of the studios in the BTC. Inside, students were invited to take part in this year’s Student Casting Call, a campuswide “search for talent,” photographic specialist Anthony Salamone explained.

The college was looking for students to appear in future promotional material, including college photos and videos that may appear in anything from flyers to television commercials.

Dennis Kennedy, executive director of communications and marketing, said that the college hosts a Student Casting Call about once a year, usually garnering 50-60 interested students. This year, 31 students showed up during the three-day event.

The casting call itself includes a photo and video test of students reading from a prepared statement. The audition takes about ten minutes for each student.

“We’re testing people to see how comfortable they are in front of the camera,” Salamone said.

Kennedy explained that during the audition process, the college likes to find out “a little bit about [students],” including their academic programs, extracurricular activities, and the reasons they are on campus, perhaps to provide testimony in an upcoming ad.

Kennedy added that sometimes the college is looking for a “particular type of person to fulfill a role,” but this casting call was more focused on developing a pool of interested candidates.

Both Kennedy and Salamone said that the college was hoping for a variety of students to show up for the casting call. “We want to feature real Hudson Valley students in our ads,” said Kennedy.

Erin Scantlebury, an entrepreneurship major, turned out for the casting call. He said that he came to the casting call because he wanted to “try something different.” He added that he had previously appeared in a commercial for a New York City station when he was in high school. “I didn’t like how I looked [back then] so I wanted to try it again,” he joked.

Students are not paid for their work, but in the past they have been occasionally compensated with a free T-shirt or promotional item. Kennedy said that some students in particular majors are more strongly drawn to auditioning than others due to professional reasons, majors such as theater, broadcast communication, or marketing. “Most [students] are interested in being a part of the process,” Kennedy said.

“I tell people we’re playing with expensive crayons,” said Salamone, speaking of the equipment he uses. He went on to affirm that to him, and many of the students participating, the casting call is focused more on fun rather than capitalization.

“It’s really nice that the students take part,” Salamone said.


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