Job Spotlight | Tony Varro, casting director

Casting director Tony Varro supplies talent for movies, TV commercials

Tony Varro directs his students to “give him more” action on camera.

ASHLEY GRANT | Special to the Times

Tony Varro directs his students to “give him more” action on camera.

Tony Varro began his acting career as a youth in New York City, where he appeared in some television shows. He moved to Clearwater 25 years ago and saw a need for a professional casting service for the area's growing TV commercial and movie business. He now is a casting director for several local and national production companies. Varro teaches an on-camera workshop every other Wednesday. He has cast more than 400 commercials, TV shows and movies. Some of his students can be seen in commercials for a local grocery store and Amscot.

What's a typical day like?

I get up and I hit the ground running. I have my green tea, check my messages on my cell phone, work phone and my e-mail. Usually there are two categories of phone calls and e-mails I want to take care of right away. The two sets of messages I usually get are producers asking for a bid and actors looking for work and advice.

What advice do you have for someone who wants to become an actor?

The first thing I tell new people is not to spend a lot of money on pictures. You have to have knowledge of what to do in the business first. Find a really good workshop and then ask the teacher and fellow students where to send the photos. The classes shouldn't be very expensive, and beware of scams. Even one workshop should be enough to at least get you moving if it's a good one.

What's the most difficult part of your job, something you like the least?

The most difficult part of my job is when I have to tell someone they didn't get the part. I try to find something good about everyone's performance. There's almost nobody I flat-out turn down. When people have questions like "Am I going to make $100,000 a year?" or "Am I going to be a movie star?" sometimes I have to break it to them to just make acting something they do for fun.

When did you transition from actor to casting director?

It was a slow transition. My first love was always acting. However, you're always looking for extra sources of income. About 20 years ago a couple of acting schools asked me to teach some classes, and soon I started doing them and then doing my own. One day I was working on a set where the director was quite frustrated with the actors and he asked me if I knew anyone that could replace the bad actors. I called a bunch of people and they were really good. From there everything just kind of happened. In the beginning and even now, my business has been referral based. My slogan has become "Tony Varro's people are on time and on budget."

What is the biggest challenge you've faced in your career?

Production companies from out of town thinking Florida is only a shooting location. My job is to convince them that using Florida actors and Florida production people will save them time and money.

For more information

For more information on Tony Varro and his workshops, call (727) 581-1677 or visit www.tonyvarrocasting.com.

Casting director Tony Varro supplies talent for movies, TV commercials 03/30/09 [Last modified: Monday, March 30, 2009 5:53pm]

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