Joe Grisaffi

Interview by Chuck Shandry

Joe Grisaffi has worn a lot of "hats" in his entertainment career: Extras casting director, producer/director, voice casting director, (I see a trend), screenwriter among others.

So I guess my first question is, what's the difference between all these different "directors?”

The differences are quite notable. As a film director, you are the one ultimately responsible for all the creative decisions on the project. A casting director (for prinicipal roles, be it voice or on camera) is really a gatekeeper, screening talent before presenting the possibilities to the director. A casting director does not make the final decision on who gets cast in principal roles, but they certainly can influence the decision. An extras casting director finds and hires all the people you see in the background of a film or television show — those people who don’t get to speak. Also known as an extras coodinator, the extras casting director does get to decide who gets the job (unless the director has asked for approval.) For example, on Friday Night Lights, I was responsible for having 650 people a day for three weeks on the set in Houston. There was no time for the director to approve anyone so it was my call on who got hired.

What brought you to ADV Films?

I had been following ADV since its inception. I would buy used video games at John Ledford’s Gametronix in Houston, and even before ADV, they rented anime at that store. My career path took me in a different direction for a number of years, but not too long ago I decided that’s where I wanted to be. I felt incredibly lucky finally to be offered a chance to produce for them — my debut project was Cyberteam in Akihabara.

What goes into getting the perfect match of voice to character? Where you can't think of anyone else doing that character: Like, for me Tiffany Grant is how Asuka sounds.

When casting Cyberteam, everything just fell into place. Often an actor will come into the audition and just nail it, and you know she’s the voice. There was no doubt in my mind that Luci Christian was Hibari after she read for the role. There is no one else I could image doing as good a job with that particular character as Luci did. And the same with Kira Vincent-Davis as Tsugumi and Tiffany Grant as Suzume. When it came time to cast Kamome, I relied on the expertise of Matt Greenfield — he recommended Allison Shipp, and she was perfect for Kamome with her southern accent.

Sometimes when you are in pre-production, you know right away who is perfect for a particular role. It could be someone you know who emulates the original Japanese tonal quality, it can be a particular line of dialogue that may give you an idea who is perfect for the part, it could be the action on the screen or the visual characteristics of the character. Often, though, you have to see and hear a few actors before you know what you want the character to sound like. An actor may come in and offer something that’s perfect that you weren’t thinking of.



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