Casting Gifts from Santa Claus
The year 2020 started like any other, but took an unexpected turn around March. Not only did we begin a pandemic, but I also started a remote casting that would now require new methods for finding the ideal cast for my client. Luckily for me, the community of Santa Claus Indiana pulled through like Christmas elves under a December 25th deadline – the same day the home improvement special was slated to premier.
Under normal circumstances a Casting Director or casting team would visit the area to canvas, scout and meet people. Typically, the most effective way to spread the word about a casting is in person. With home improvement specials, in person connection and trust become even more important, but traveling in 2020 just wasn’t an option. Thanks to fantastic support from Melissa Arnold (Visitors Bureau) and local Realtor Kara Hinshaw (Key Associates) we were able to get the word out about the casting and applications started pouring in. This project marked my first casting during Covid, as well as my first time using Zoom to Facebook live to share info about a casting – a total game changer!
Another game changing gift for the project was the awesome find of a popular local contractor who happened to stand in from time to time as Santa himself. Casting Directors dream about gifts like this. You’ll see from the on set photo, contractor Ron Smith had the exact right vibe you’d dream of for a home renovation special set in a place called Santa Claus, Indiana.
It was such a pleasure to meet and interview so many amazing families during the process, and a real treat to see the finished renovations on the Winkler and Boyd family homes – wow!!
Another unexpected gift during this project casting was hearing, for the first time, the story of International Santa Clause Hall of Fame Charter Member Raymond Joseph “Jim” Yellig. I encourage people to search his name online to find out more about his legacy. Also, check out how his daughter, Patricia Koch, and the community of Santa Claus, Indiana keep the Christmas spirit alive all year long. Main Street is now named Patricia Koch Drive, and celebrating a community member like Ms. Patricia with such rich history and deep ties to the community – well that was the final gift of this very special casting.