Kentuckians to the Rescue of National Casting Call!

Tiffany Persons of Tiffany Casting

experience is the most effective way to learn, and challenging lessons have the biggest impact on one’s life. I understand this concept more clearly than ever before, due to my this past week working for a West Coast-based casting company, Tiffany Casting, in Kentucky to audition local people for a television commercial. These are some of the things I learned:

*Louisvillians (and all Kentuckians, for that matter) will go out of their way to help a stranger. Each and every person I contacted to seek assistance making this huge project a success, whether I knew them personally or was reaching out to them on Facebook or through other media, jumped in without question and did their very best to help ME succeed at my appointed task. That’s the unbridled spirit of Kentucky at work!

*Kentucky has a different pace of life than the rest of the country. There is an expectation of honesty and straightforwardness we share with each other. The extraordinary dissimilarity between cities from west to east that makes Kentucky unique (distance between towns, lack of technology in mountainous areas, and a less frantic desire to cram 25 hours into a day) makes life more rewarding in our fair state! I’d never take the alternative, and know I’m home forever in Kentucky.

*The show must go on. Even though the casting director, Tiffany Persons, had flown from South Africa to England to Chicago to Charlotte to get to Louisville, and was getting a sore throat, she persevered through the computer issues and camera incompatibilities and scheduling nightmare to get her footage. She never lost her cool, and was professional in every sense of the word in her dealings with me. She was also gracious and appreciative of all of our efforts, and that goes a long way. If you google her, you’ll see that she is much more than a casting director, and her credentials are unbelievable. Thank you, Tiffany, for being a great mentor in a new endeavor.

Although it appeared that I was hired for an impossible task – to book locations and find “real Kentuckians” to audition for this commercial, get them to the six chosen cities on a day at time that typically gave them less than 24 hours notice, and a plethora of other duties – with the help of many old and new friends and their resources, we managed to survive and get a lot accomplished.

This was the final schedule, and these were the people who made it happen and to whom I extend my love and appreciation:

Sunday and Monday, we spent sixteen hours at Alix Adams Modeling and Talent Agency, Louisville, where Terry Wells and Dick Anderson provided office space, equipment, resources, time, food and their extensive “real people” network of contacts, which rendered over 110 auditions. Several friends at local churches and public and private organizations also sent their people to the audition, which made it a huge success ( Thank you, Alix Adams!

Monday, eight hours to and from Bardstown in the driving rain, where the beautiful Old Talbott Inn’s Pam, Brenda, Erin and the staff greeted us, fed us, provided lovely accomodations, and directed would-be auditioners to the room! Many thanks to Richard Blair, Tony Paulin and Holly Coulter in Bardstown, along with all the other community theatre folks who spread the word! (

Tara Bassett with Richard Blair in Bardstown at Old Talbott Inn audition.

Tuesday morning, Lexington, Tiffany went on with another assistant to Eastern Kentucky, where Elyse at Common Grounds Coffee House provided their meeting room (www.commongroundsofHorse  Tuesday afternoon was Mt. Sterling, where Cay Lane at the wonderful Gateway Regional Arts Center provided facilities ( That long day rendered 55 auditions, thanks to the universities and businesses who put the word out, and to Verona Cumberledge’s remarkable network of connections that made it possible to secure space. A big thanks to Don Hollis, who volunteered his Kiwanis brethren for auditions! Marta Miranda jumped in at the last minute to bring Hispanic balance to the demographic in both Lexington and Louisville, and I am so grateful for her responsiveness to a need!

Wednesday took the crew to the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, and Teresa Parrett was most accommodating even though very few people had received enough notice to attend ( That afternoon, Sandy Puckett at London’s Bennett Center made the audition a success with the cooperation of her staff and facility. I didn’t hear the final numbers at either place, but know the crew was back in Lexington early Thursday and Friday for more auditions. I spent Tuesday, Wednesday and some of Thursday “wrapping” my responsibilities and catching up on dog duties, condominium association matters, and laundry!

I sincerely appreciate the assistance of all who helped in this endeavor, and am sorry for those who wanted to audition and couldn’t make the tight schedule. Those who did show up will represent the Commonwealth very well, and we can be proud of the effort we’ve made to put the real faces of Kentucky on the television airwaves. My gratitude and love to my family and friends, mega-production manager Kay Milam, and especially life coach and healer Laura Drew, for supporting me through the  challenges of this week. I also am grateful for the learning curve I’ve lived this past week, and will take these lessons on with me to the next challenging project!