The Casting Couch

The Casting Couch

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Bob Iger Experience

So I had the opportunity to be a part of a Q&A session with Bob Iger this morning, Mr. President and CEO of Disney himself. It was an interesting experience to say the least. I'm not normally one to namedrop or brag about my experience, but I think its helpful sometimes to get insight into what the big whigs are like. The first thing I noticed was that Bob Iger truly is a gifted speaker. He speaks freely, and eloquently, and nothing about his words seem forced or inauthentic. He's very charismatic, but still, I was more impressed with how down-to-earth Bob was. He maintained an impressive sense of humor, and he was very open and honest about each question that was posed to him, no matter how trivial and ridiculous it seemed to the rest of us (one lady actually asked Bob Iger why there were "don't feed the squirrels" signs on the Disney lot). He talked about his recent trip to Russia to expand Disney's product influence there (including an anecdote involving vodka) and you could see his excitement as he discussed the new and its broadband capabilities.

A lot of the questions people asked bothered me though...nearly every question was focused on a negative issue about the company and what Bob could do to fix it...almost all of them trivial. It was frustrating being represented by such a group. One lady even asked why they usually didn't hire A-list actors for Disney's animated movies. Because Disney doesn't need to, you moron. A-List doesn't mean "most talent" just means "most expensive." Disney is fortunate enough not to have to rely on name-value in order to market its products--all people need to hear is "Disney" and that's enough name to make people want to see it. Therefore, they have the freedom to find the best actor for the job. This is casting at its best--without all the pressure from the studio to hire a fancy name over the strongest talent. Behold, Disney's upcoming animated feature with Pixar: Ratatouille. I just love how this poster doesn't have a single person's name on it. Its not about the actor...its about the film. Way to go, Disney.

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