Cornwell Casting

Photo courtesy of Cornwell Casting

Cornwell Casting is a reality television casting company based in Los Angeles, California. Founded in 2006 by former The Real World: Boston cast member turned casting director Jason Cornwell, the company’s mission is to find and deliver the most dynamic casts possible in any genre of reality television, from dating to game show casts.
Partner Damon Collazo, originally working in scripted television, joined Cornwell in 2007. Together, they have built a turnkey independent casting company, composed of some of the industry’s most sought-after casting directors with over 300 shows on their resumes combined.
With countless shows airing and more in production, Cornwell Casting continues to help take ideas from concept to series, knowing a large part of a show’s success begins with a great cast. For The 1% Club, their most recent and largest game show endeavor to date, Cornwell Casting utilized Cast It Reach to efficiently accept and sort applications.
Can you share with me a little bit about your journey of how you got into casting and then founded this company?
I was on The Real World in 1997 or ’98. I figured out real quick that I preferred being behind the camera, rather than in front of the camera. Before the show aired, I was already working at the production company. I got an offer from Mary-Ellis Bunim, of Bunim and Murray—they’re the founders of reality.
Mary-Ellis Bunim gave me a call and asked me if I wanted to do some casting, and I liked it. I cast a few seasons of The Real World and then Road Rules. Then, I started [{{type}} Annotation][{{type}} Annotation] writing for them. Writing in unscripted is like an editing process, where you’re piecing the story together. Eventually, I went out on my own and worked a bunch of freelance jobs. Then, I got an offer around 2008 to do three shows at once for the Discovery Channel, and I needed a company.
That’s how Cornwell Casting began?
Yes, I formed the company in 2008. It was before the downturn in the economy. It was a struggle. That first year was so rough, but we made it. Then, for years we cast a lot of dating shows. We cast The Millionaire Matchmaker for seven seasons and Tough Love. We’ve got a dating show on air right now called Farmer Wants a Wife. That’s on FOX and it’s our second season.
In the last three or four years I’ve been thinking, “I really like doing game shows.” I like doing these big game shows because you can create a system, which is where Cast It Reach came in.
How has Cast It Reach been an asset for you in casting for game shows?
It’s everything. We were facing a task of casting for a new game show, The 1% Club. It’s unlike any other game show in the sense that it’s 100 people per episode for 13 episodes. We needed 1,300 people, and it was complex. It’s not like [casting for] Let’s Make A Deal—they don’t have to do background checks. You don’t really interview all of the Let’s Make A Deal people. You throw them on a show.
On The 1% Club, everybody had to be background checked and it’s a lot of legal paperwork. I knew we were going to have thousands of applications for this show and I’m like, “Our current system doesn’t work. It’s never going to work for this. We need a massive organization system.” I started asking around and somebody at another company said to me, “Have you ever heard of Cast It Reach or Talent Systems?”
I go, “I’ve heard of them, but I’ve never used them.” They’re like, “It saved our butt with casting.” I went to the website, emailed, spoke with sales. [Once] I understood what it was, I was like, “We need this and I have to talk BBC into paying for it because I know that they’re not going to give it to me in my casting budget, but we need this and it’s going to save us money [in the long run].”
Long story short, BBC was sold. We spent the next month building out our application and it was everything. Cast It Reach saved our show because we could get 7,000 applications and know where everybody stood. It easily separates [applicants] by ethnicity, age, location, job—everything. It’s brilliant.
Did the Cast It Reach team help you set up how to diversify who you’re looking for into those buckets, or was it something that you had to learn as you went?
We’d never [cast] a show that big. We needed to be able to sort and filter by a lot of different parameters. The team really held our hand throughout the process. We said, “We need this, and we need it to do this and that.” They would interpret that and go, “How about this?” and offer suggestions and it worked! Cast It Reach is a badass system.
No matter the casting obstacles your unscripted project encounters, Cast It Reach is the ultimate solution to overcome and conquer them with ease. Ready to cast your show like never before? Reach out to our team today to get started.

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Photo courtesy of Cornwell Casting

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