SCAD opens Atlanta casting office

SCAD School of Film and Acting Dean Andra Reeve Rabb reviews a resume and headshot with first-year student Savannah Miles at the school's casting office.

Credit: Courtesy of SCAD

Credit: Courtesy of SCAD

SCAD School of Film and Acting Dean Andra Reeve Rabb reviews a resume and headshot with first-year student Savannah Miles at the school's casting office.

Atlanta’s reputation as Hollywood’s Southern outpost has generated training programs aimed at key industry facets, such as crew, content providers, location scouts and more. But Andra Reeve Rabb saw one piece was missing: casting.

The dean of the Savannah College of Art and Design’s school of film and acting, whose resume includes directing prime-time casting for CBS in New York, launched a casting office in Savannah in 2009. At the start of this year’s fall term, she opened a second at SCAD’s Midtown location that will also have students interning as part of the school’s casting minor.

“I saw that people were training to act and audition for the camera, but there was a real dearth of a focus on casting,” she said. “We started a bachelor’s of fine arts in acting in Atlanta at the start of the fall term, and we now have 500 students who need this.”

Before Rabb started the program 20 years ago, she said students were casting their roommates in projects. “It was rooted largely in traditional and musical theater; it didn’t have a strong emphasis on film and television,” she said. “I thought, ‘What a missed opportunity to connect and collaborate,’ especially as Georgia has exploded with all these productions. We can be a conduit for professional productions shooting in our backyard.”

Rabb has been traveling from the coast to get the Atlanta program off the ground and working closely with Midtown-based Alpha Tyler, a veteran casting director and professor of acting. Ironically, Tyler moved to Atlanta in 2006 to get out of the business after working for DreamWorks, Warner Bros., Paramount and the BET Networks.

“But shortly after I arrived, I met Tyler Perry and wound up working for him,” she said. “From there, I contacted Dean Rabb to talk to students about auditioning, and she asked me to join them.”

Tyler created the syllabus for the casting minor that aims to develop an appreciation for actors.

“I can’t teach them how to love actors, but I can teach different types of interpersonal skills and to interpret what the filmmakers want,” she said. “They also learn about the industry’s standard terms, casting concept meetings and holding auditions. They’ll be able to talk to actors in a way that makes them comfortable.”

The Midtown casting office has seven interns who are getting a jump start on their careers, Tyler said.

“It shows there are other options for people who have a love for acting, television and film,” she said. “This is a flexible and viable career option that’s rarely talked about in the industry, and it’s helped a lot of students realize it’s something they can do.”

The Atlanta casting office will also work with SCAD alumni, said Rabb.

“So many of them make Atlanta their home,” she said. “It used to be they’d move to LA or New York. Now they’re staying and making their careers here.”

Information on SCAD Atlanta is online at

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