Casting Networks® caught up with casting director Stacy Gallo of Stacy Gallo Casting. Stacy discusses what inspired her to go into casting, career highlights, and what excites her about the future of television.
1. What inspired you to go into casting?
Originally, I wanted to be an actor and decided to take acting classes right out of college at William Esper Studio in New York City. In the class, I met a woman named Polly who was trying to be an on-camera host but was also freelancing as a casting director at MTV. In the last week of class, I decided to ask her about her job in casting and she revealed that she’s always in need of an assistant. Polly ended up hiring me for a one-day gig where I interviewed strangers in Times Square for a project on TRL. I learned what casting was through her. Through my time as a freelancer at MTV I gained a full-time job as a casting assistant, then onto being a casting director. I really fell into it, it made sense. I love actors, I love working with actors, and it felt like the right fit.
2. What was your first job in casting (or in the industry if you started in a different field)?
Before I started working as a casting assistant at MTV, I was working as an admissions counselor at Pace University, whilst attending acting classes. Polly had hired me for the one-day gig, and after, she was working on two different Spring Break projects for MTV, one in Cancun and the other in Las Vegas. Polly ended up getting sick and wasn’t able to attend the Vegas casting and as I had a random trip planned to Vegas, she asked if I wanted to go in her place! My job at Pace couldn’t offer the time off, so I quit to pursue my dreams and worked full-time as a casting assistant for MTV Spring Break Las Vegas. It was one of the most insane and crazy experiences of my life. It was difficult to create flyers without the internet, but we would make them and would flyer anywhere and everywhere to find what we were looking for.
3. What is a career highlight of yours?
My career highlight was definitely opening my own company!
Before I did, I was working at Hungry Man. I had developed their in-house casting department and got pregnant with my daughter. I was working endless hours, and once she arrived, I realized I had to figure out a more sustainable work-life balance. After I parted ways with Hungry Man, Steve-O, who used to be a partner at Hungry Man, got in touch. He asked what I was doing and said I was meant to do this (casting) and pushed me to pursue my dreams and open my own business. He explained the process of being freelance and helped me develop my business, rates, and more.
As much as I thought my time departing from Hungry Man was a low point in my life, that truly was a turning point for me and opening Stacy Gallo Casting was the highlight of my career.
4. If you could go back, what would you tell yourself on your first day on the job?
There will be Google one day. It will all be digital!
5. What are some of your favorite hobbies outside of work?
First and foremost, my kids are my hobby! They really are the reason I want to do anything I want to do. Being around them, especially these past few weeks, makes me appreciate who they are. I don’t need anything else outside of them and my family. I recently took up tennis and am obsessed with it. It’s such a nice outlet!
6. If you could describe yourself as a television or movie character, who would you pick and why?
I found it hard to cast myself so I had to check in with some friends who gave me some great suggestions:
- Chelsea Handler (the no filter and doesn’t-hold-back side to her)
- Amy Schumer (funny and tells it like it is)
- Joan Cusack in Working Girl
- Leslie Mann
- Pamela Adlon on ‘Better Things
Personally speaking, I’d say Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
7. What was the last film you saw?
Last night I watched ‘LadyBird’ and liked it! I didn’t know what to expect. Afterward, we watched ‘Bad Boys for Life.’
8. Do you have a quote or mantra that you live by?
One quote I live by is “Everything happens for a reason.” I find comfort in realizing and knowing everyone and everything is coming together. I’ve recently been repeating my mom’s favorite saying too, which is “This too shall pass.”
A favorite mantra of mine is “Chocolate and ice cream make everything better.” Preferably Carvel coffee-flavored ice cream.
9. If you could have lunch with anyone, present or past, who would you pick?
I would have lunch with my grandmother, 100%. My grandmother passed away at 99 and a half and was a very independent woman. She was extremely positive and would look on the bright side of life. I remember my last lunch with her very well. We would always go to our favorite diner, and I wish I could have that lunch with her again.
10. What excites you about the future of your profession?
The hard part is given the current uncertainty and circumstances, it will be hard to imagine when things will be back up and running. What I’m most excited about in my career is creating and being creative when and where I can be. I’m excited to possibly direct in the future. In this industry, you have to be open to anything. For me, creating my own content is an exciting future path. I need to take the advice I give to others and use it during this downtime!