On the Couch with Greg Apps

Greg Apps oncWho is Greg Apps?
I am a Casting Director and being a casting director is the best job in the world. There are many areas I can be discriminatory, contrary to the law. I am not compelled to cast a woman as a dad. I can be ageist and reject someone over 40 for the role of a schoolchild. Even more satisfying though, I am a husband, a father, a grandfather and the inaugural president of the Casting Guild of Australia.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I am in that generation that had their working lives upended by technology. When I started in casting, we did contracts on a typewriter with carbon paper for copies. I like to have outlandish thoughts, so advertising fits. Mostly though I would be a sporting star. I would not excel at anything involving a lot of effort, so that rules out body contact sports. Let’s say golf. A nice walk through the park hitting a little white ball. Now, if only I knew how to hold the club properly…

Who inspires you and why?
People who are comfortable with their life, and their decisions. And if they can achieve that, then normally they are also people who allow others to shine and excel and not feel threatened. Therefore, I strive to work with producers and directors who create an environment where I work WITH them, rather than FOR them.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I have a family connection to PNG. With the coverage of starvation and hardship in Africa, it is easy to overlook the conditions on our doorstep. Domestic violence, lack of education, corruption. My wife and I would love to find a project we could do to make a contribution.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Anywhere with family; those are the most memorable time-outs. But specifically, Buenos Aires. And if you ask why, my answer is that it shows you haven’t been there, because if you had been there you wouldn’t ask why.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take then to, and why?
In my travels I am yet to see beaches or a harbour like Sydney. So the Bronte to Bondi walk is pretty special. If I was doing the harbour it would need to be in a sailing boat. A day on the water is very special.

What are you currently reading?
I am so bad with titles and authors. As a small businessman in 2014, I read lots of techno books – manuals, How To guides, etc. I read them mostly because they are the best sleeping pill in the world. But I don’t know titles and authors. There is one with a green cover, a red one… and lots of scripts. I am blessed *touch wood* to work with producers who value the writer’s input. That believe character is king. And that makes a script a great read.

What are you currently listening to?
I caught the Gabrielle Aplin concert in St Stephens Church Hall. What great acoustics. And the emotion she creates in her music. I listen to lots. The TV is mostly on Max at our place, so I get a decent dose of 80s music. It takes me back to when my family was young, when greed and the Me-Me-Me society was yet to take full control.

Happiness is?
Time-out with family. Peace, quiet, relaxation. The satisfaction of seeing a good, up-and-coming actor get their break. Seeing inspiring performances. Too often the mix of character and casting is being driven by suits and executives rather than film-makers. A win for the Swannies.

What does the future hold for you?
I’d like to write. It would be great if someone then got excited about what I have written, but that is not the important part. The important thing is to have time to do what pleases me. One day I will spend half my time in Buenos Aires, and half in Sydney. Which half though, is a mystery.

It is 40 years ago this year that Greg Apps started in front of the camera in the legendary Sunday Too Far Away. After seven years of acting he started casting; initially at the Melbourne ABC and then independently.

Since then he has worked on some of Australia’s iconic titles; Proof, Romper Stomper, Chopper, and the soon to be released Felony. He was a board member of the AFI for seven years and has sat on various panels and industry forums in over 30 years as a casting director.

Greg was recently honoured by being appointed the inaugural President of the Casting Guild of Australia. For more information, visit: www.castingguild.com.au or www.gregappscasting.com.au for details.

Image: Greg Apps (supplied)

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