New iPad App Streamlines Casting Process

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07 Apr 2014

Jeffry Denman
Jeffry Denman

Jeffry Denman, creator of the new casting app CastPRO, chats with Playbill.com about the inspiration and launch of the new tech-savvy way to cast a show. 

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In late 2013, Jeff Whiting, the author of the innovative and successful choreography app Stage Write, mused that there might be other areas of the theatre that might benefit from a digital makeover.

"One idea that's been tossed around is a casting app," he said.

A few months later, that tossed idea has been caught, but by a different Jeff. In February, Jeffry Denman launched CastPRO, a new app that aims to streamline the age-old process of casting a show.

"Necessity is the mother of invention," explained Denman, who has worked as a director and choreographer on both regional and Off-Broadway productions, when asked how he came to create the app. "It became clear the amount of wasted paper there was in auditions — it was astounding to me."

At an average audition, the director, choreographer and producers survey and pass along the resumes and photos of dozens, if not hundreds, of actors, dancers and singers. It’s a process familiar to anyone who has ever seen a film set in the stage world, and, as Denman pointed out, if has essentially remained unchanged since "forever."

Such a paper-bound state of affairs seemed at best inefficient, and at worst ludicrous, in a digital age.

"It seemed wasteful in the very least," told Denman. "In addition, much of the information in those auditions was being written on those very resumes and headshots, everyone putting their notes on them. Then someone at the theatre takes those head shots and resumes off with them, with not everyone in the audition having access to them."

"I had notebooks and index cards and reams of paper at home," he continued. "It seems really unorganized and wasteful."

He decided to put an end to the whole thing while working on a production of West Side Story at the Ogunquit Playhouse in Maine. Using his iPod, he began to approximate all the aspects he hoped the resultant app — eventually called CastPRO — would encompass. (Denman credited Whiting’s work with Stage Write as a clear influence, saying, "I'd be lying if I said Jeff wasn’t inspiring to me.") In March of 2013, he sat down with a graphic designer and sketched out a more detailed blueprint. He then located an app developer who showed an interest in the project.



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