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Casting & Production Cheat Sheet

If you touch the work AT ALL, you need to know this stuff


  • Have the diversity conversation up front.
  • Bring diverse options to the table.
  • Use your directors as allies.
  • Push back respectfully by asking questions. Get to the reasoning behind decisions.

Casting Specs

  • Ask for specifics if you want specifics.
  • This should include a mix of races, ethnicities, ages, genders, sexual orientations, abilities, body types and more.
  • If you’re casting a Spanish-speaking role, ask for native speakers.
  • In your casting specs, consider upping your age bracket a smidge—actors don’t always age like the rest of us.


  • Diversity isn’t about checking boxes. You don’t need to cram “one of each” into every commercial.
  • Over the spectrum of each brand’s work, there should be a range of diversity as well as true representation.
  • As soon as you get a casting link, give it a skim. If you don’t see enough diversity, ask for more.
  • Don’t use “racially ambiguous” talent as a crutch. True representation takes a variety of shades and backgrounds.
  • Go beyond tokenism. Don’t be afraid to cast more than one person of color in the same spot.
  • Watch out for colorism.
  • Pay attention to lighting as darker skin needs good lighting to read well on video (also important on set).
  • Cast people with disabilities in everyday situations, not just inspiring roles.
  • Don’t use a person in a wheelchair as a stand-in for all people with disabilities.
  • Use actors with disabilities to portray characters with disabilities.
  • Be open to changing dialogue and other aspects of the work to better fit the diverse talent you cast.


  • Hire stylists, makeup artists, lighting pros and retouchers who know how to work with a range of skin tones and hair textures.
  • Watch out for cultural context.
  • Let production companies know we expect a diverse crew.
  • Look out for and bring back people who make the work better and/or bring a missing perspective.


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