Ever wonder how the people of influence in Hollywood actually get there? Director of Casting at Walt Disney Studios Feature Animation, Jamie Roberts invites us into her world as she reveals her journey to “the land where dreams come true”. Every day, people flock to Los Angeles in search of making it in “the business” and every day, Jamie gets to make someone’s dream come true. If your dream is to go to “the happiest place on Earth,” then you DEFINITELY want to comment and share her post, because Jamie will be giving away FOUR (4) TICKETS TO DISNEYLAND (in Anaheim) to one lucky winner! Details on how to enter to win Disneyland tickets follow her post. ***Giveaway below – Ends June 15th***

By Jamie Roberts

Director of Casting, Walt Disney Studios Feature Animation
Los Angeles, CA

Although we were raised in the same house, by the same parents and went to the same schools, it was apparent from the time we were in middle school that my older sister (by 2 ½ years), Marnie had definitive life and career goals while I was directionless and was going to remain that way until I was about 22 years old. Marnie and I were both television/movie addicts from before I can remember. While I watched “The Brady Bunch” as a couch potato, my sister was a type-A sponge absorbing all of the filmmaking details. She memorized the names in the credits from moguls to gaffers while I sang along to the commercials for Malibu Barbie and daydreamed about owning my own EZ Bake Oven.

At San Diego State University, I obtained the pre-requisites for six different majors before my parents asked my sister (who had already begun her career as a talent agent in Hollywood) to intervene and help me figure out what the heck I was going to do with my life. Marnie suggested that I “come home for the summer” and work as a chauffeur for an actor that her company represented. I had nothing else to do, so I took the opportunity to make a little extra spending money. My client, let’s call him “Actor X”, had a hard time preparing for his auditions, so I ran scenes with him and made sure he was properly dressed and on time to all of his appointments. Actor X had dozens of opportunities in those three months, but still he decided to move back to New York and give up on the whole L.A. scene. With my temp driver position over, Actor X’s managers offered me a position as an assistant which kind of intrigued me. My parents encouraged me to pursue the opportunity and I packed my San Diego bags and moved home to finish school at Cal State Northridge while working part time in talent management.

When I finally graduated with my Bachelor’s in Communication Studies with an emphasis in TV/Film/Theater (which took about six months longer than it should have because I had wasted so much time in courses like Ceramics and Library Skills 101), I was offered a full-time position by my employers. But at that point, I knew I was not made for the type of hand-holding and ass-kissing that it would take for me to become a successful talent manager. My bosses sat me down and recommended a career in casting. The way they put it was that in casting, I would only be exposed to actors at the best fifteen minutes of their day rather than during the other twenty-three hours and forty-five minutes that would require cleaning up their messes and wiping away their tears. Based on the referral of the management company partners, immediately I began working as a casting assistant to one of the most prolific casting directors in town.

In the first month, I knew that casting was for me. I loved auditioning actors, creatively placing them in the right roles and negotiating deals. The job required me to use my creativity, problem-solving skills, love for puzzles and blessed me with the opportunity to help people find work. I used to joke that my job didn’t give back to humanity (like neurosurgery or rocket science), but when I look at the big picture, I realize that not only am I part of shows that entertain and move people. I am also helping people secure a livelihood. I go home at night after an honest day’s work, kiss my child and rest my head knowing that a directionless, average student with no real original ambition can make a difference.

Jamie Sparer Roberts is the head of Casting for Feature Animation at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California. In addition to her 15 year career as a casting professional in the TV/Film industry, she is enjoying the rewards of parenthood as a mother to her precocious 7 year old daughter Sadie. Ms. Roberts resides in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles, CA where she was born and raised.

For more information on Jamie, click here.


Jamie is giving away 4 tickets to Disneyland is Anaheim, CA to one lucky winner.

The giveaway for the tickets to Disneyland follow the same rules as the other Speakerpalooza giveaways:

1. To enter to win, comment on this blog, leaving an email address to contact you in case you win.
2. The giveaway runs from now until June 15th at midnight. One lucky winner will be chosen and contacted. They have 72 hours to reply before the prize defaults to the runner-up. Winners will be announced on June 25th here on the WSA featured blog.
3. Only one entry per giveaway. (But you can enter as many different Speakerpalooza giveaways as you want.)
4. International submission accepted!

Click on “read more” to post and view comments.