Have You Ever Wondered What A Casting Call For An ESPN Commercial Is Like?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

So I was randomly forwarded a casting call from an anonymous tipster for an ESPN commercial which features various students calling people around the country to get them to watch more College Basketball. Seems like a basic concept right? Well wait until you read what the Casting Director is looking for from each individual acting as students from various Universities....


Director: Matt Aselton
Casting Director: ERICA PALGON
Interview: Thurs 11/13 and Fri 11/14, Mon 11/17
Fitting: 11/21
Shoot: 11/24, 25
Location: New York



All roles are ages 18-22 yrs old. WITH THE EXCEPTION of PERDUE.

The concept: The spots take place in the ESPN College Basketball Call Center (CBBCC). All of these guys are there representing their schools, calling people on the phone to get them to watch more College Basketball. Basically they are selling college basketball.


MALE. Our guy for Duke UNIVERSITY is a smart, with it, young WHITE male. He's handsome. He's from money. He is, in short, the kind of guy, everyone can't stand. He is the kind of guy everyone wants to be.

FEMALE. She's a Southern bell. She is the counterpoint to Duke. Being young and pretty everyone wants to be around her. She's charming. Not a dingbat, she's sharp.

MALE. Straight out20of an Abercrombie & Fitch catalog, Texas is a young man's man. He is the kind of guy that could field dress a deer and then take you to the debutante ball in 20. Polite, farm boy. He's good at everything. Except call centering.

MALE. Kansas is straight off the farm. However, he takes great pains to point out that Kansas is very cosmopolitan, as witnessed by their record, their burgeoning tech industry, and their hybrid corns (bonus:
modified by fish genes!)

MALE. Connecticut is all things Connecticut. He's a little bit older.
He's a little bit thicker around the waist. He's WHITE. He's also competitive. Very. Waspy, blue blood.

MALE. Oklahoma is awesome and he thinks everything is awesome. He's very enthusiastic about all things call center and all things life and he wants to share this contagious enthusiasm with everyone he meets.
Wide-eyed, as naive as they come.

MALE. Louisville is very true to place. He's short. He's HISPANIC. And one day he hopes to carry on in proud Louisville tradition and race thoroughbreds.

FEMALE. Tennessee is orange crazy. The ice tray in her orange fridge, that freezes the water she dyes orange, is that orange. The party girl cowboy hat she wears is a white and orange zebra print. The tattoo on her lower back is Pantone 3 for that Tennessee orange. The only thing that's not orange is her dog, which is the20mascot Smokey. Did we mention she's crazy? A slutty girl who would hang out at the cowgirl hall of fame.

MALE. Child prodigy. 14-year-old. Or open to an 18-year-old who looks 14. Aeronautical engineering. Wiz kid. Think McLovin from Superbad.

MALE. Villanova is the poor man's Duke — he's not quite as handsome, he's not quite as rich, he's not quite as dapper. After 2 or 3 beers though, who cares? As he's friendly enough.

MALE He's an ASIAN kid who is in to all things Notre Dame, ridiculously so. Oh, and he's always fighting. Every time we encounter him he always has some words or another, be it the faint traces of a black eye, or a scab or whatever. He epitomizes the fightin' Irish.

FEMALE. Pittsburgh is a tomboy. She obviously grew up in the neighborhood and isn't going to take any guff from anyone and she'll wallop you in the eye with a crowbar if you suggest different. So don't. Think Tina Fey type.

MALE. Jewish kid from Long Island that is loving the college experience. It has opened up a world he never knew existed. All you can eat buffets in the cafeteria — who knew? To Syracuse, everything is a party.

FEMALE. Georgetown, a 4.36 GPA who's lived in 9 world-class cities, but all the time in her sister's shadow (her GPA is 4.37). She's sort of the female Duke, except most people like her. Think Reese Witherspoon.

MALE. No one knows what Gonzaga looks like because no one knows where to find him. He is still stuck in the grunge look, reckless, in from the wild. Flannel look. Chews tobacco. Guy that would go to school in the Pacific Northwest.

FEMALE. Marquette, on a scale of 1-10, she's a six. A B-, C in every category you can define a person by. Her defining characteristic is you don't really remember her. You're not breaking your arm to get to her, but you're not chewing it off to get away. She does have a winning personality though. Midwest, sweet girl.

MALE. Blue collar to the core. Michigan State is one tough kid that grew up by putting a few down. That's just Michigan State's way. Big beefy kid.

MALE. What can we say about Memphis? He's a southern BLACK kid, really culinary and polite. He's artistic, and draws comic books really well.

MALE. He plays lacrosse. A dude. Low key. Mid Atlantic, wears baseball hats and chinos.

MALE. He looks like Jim Tressle (head coach of Ohio State football) in the dress code. Red sweater vest. Always. Doesn't care for swearing either — of course we never really test this out as they are commercial advertisements and no one swears in them, but it's true nevertheless.
A Republican.

MALE. African-American. Young Obama. Think Toofer-the straight-laced, Harvard grad write r from 30 Rock (Keith Powell)

FEMALE. She's a fun loving girl, Oklahoma born and bred. Decided not to travel out of State so she should be closer to home. She's a flirt.
She's a hot chick.

MALE. True to the region, Texas A&M is one tough dude. He's not big physically, but he is imposing. He's an ROTC kid and his 100-yard stare lets you know it.

MALE & FEMALE. Baylor is not one people but two. It's a couple. In fact, we're not even sure which one goes to Baylor. We only know they are madly in love. Their world is each other, which is really sweet or really sickening, depending. Think Sheri Oteri and Will Farrell as the cheerleaders.
So, ummmmm yeah. Basically if you're in actor/actress in NYC and you want to be a part of possibly one of the most sexist, racist and stereotypical ads ever, then this is for you! They're so stereotypical that they're almost funny. I mean...."[ MARQUETTE ]
FEMALE. Marquette, on a scale of 1-10, she's a six.....Really? I mean....REALLY?!?!?! Oh and so they want one "BLACK kid" and one "African-American"? Pretty funny how the "African-American" went to Harvard and the "BLACK kid" draws comic books. Unbelievable.

Good lord. I know directors are looking for certain people to fill roles, but are casting calls always this ridiculous? I wish I was making this up. Just flat out unbelievable.

Update: According to the original tipster, the notice has been taken down and here is ESPN's statement on the matter....
"Our marketing department just learned of this casting call today and the campaign is not something we will pursue. The language and approach reflected in that document were not approved by us and in no way represent ESPN or the respect we have for the college community."
Fair enough. When things get outsourced like this, you can certainly lose a lot of control. I don't think ESPN is entirely to blame for this one, but maybe they should keep a closer eye on things like this in the future.


*epic facepalm*

Anonymous said...
Nov 12, 2008, 4:56:00 PM  

Given the tone and the many misspellings, are you sure it's legit?

Anonymous said...
Nov 12, 2008, 5:00:00 PM  

yes, casting calls are like this

questionmark said...
Nov 12, 2008, 5:04:00 PM  

This has left me speechless. Where is Xavier on this list? This is an outrage, Xavier needs to be stereotyped too.

Anonymous said...
Nov 12, 2008, 5:08:00 PM  

I love the obvious ignorance about Gonzaga - it's a Jesuit school fed by a jesuit prep school, and Spokane is nothing like Seattle. Can't even get a stereotype right...

Anonymous said...
Nov 12, 2008, 5:12:00 PM  

no way this is legit --

Anonymous said...
Nov 12, 2008, 5:13:00 PM  

Hispanic kid that wants to be involved with horse-racing for Louisville. Just dynamite!

GMoney said...
Nov 12, 2008, 5:31:00 PM  

Not only is this horrifyingly bad, Gonzaga's the only Western school.

Epic find AA.

Nov 12, 2008, 5:33:00 PM  

Forget Xavier, WHERE THE HELL IS UCLA?!?!?!? It's only one of the top two most storied programs in college basketball! I want my Hollywood/Valley Girl stereotype dammit!

(Wait, does ESPN even do Pac-10 games? Nevermind then.)

Morgan Wick said...
Nov 12, 2008, 5:38:00 PM  

I just emailed a guy at ESPNU to see what he thinks about this. Hopefully he hasn't already left the office and can get back to me.

Edward Greene said...
Nov 12, 2008, 5:42:00 PM  

It's gotta by fake. Why are there so many Texas schools? Wouldn't they want diversity?

Anonymous said...
Nov 12, 2008, 5:44:00 PM  

No Florida schools? I would have a potential casting call description for USF, but it would be in bad taste. So I'll hold off.

Anonymous said...
Nov 12, 2008, 5:49:00 PM  

The one for Connecticut is stupid -- ESPN is based in Connecticut and should know better. WASPS in Connecticut are a small minority nowadays, and they certainly don't go to UConn (if they can help it). UConn is more Irish and Italian Catholics.

Anonymous said...
Nov 12, 2008, 5:51:00 PM  

I went to Marquette. As a recent grad, I can confirm that this stereotype is unfortunately true.

Unknown said...
Nov 12, 2008, 6:16:00 PM  

Also went to Marquette. That's about as perfect a way to describe the school as possible.

Anonymous said...
Nov 12, 2008, 6:19:00 PM  

Assuming this post is accurate...posting this information would be a big no/no (if not flat out illegal).

Seems a little TOO RIDICULOUS to be believed though.

Looks like they took a real casting call and altered it to try to get noticed/posted on this site.

Anonymous said...
Nov 12, 2008, 6:23:00 PM  

Holy shit, I'm asian. I can play the guy from Notre Dame.

Anonymous said...
Nov 12, 2008, 6:38:00 PM  

"Villanova is the poor man's Duke." Not only are these stereotypes, they are stereotypes that aren't even true. I've never been to Duke so I don't know what it looks like, but Villanova is NOT a poor man's school. If you step outside the campus, there are mansions everywhere. Some of the biggest houses if you can ever imagine. For example, when Iverson was with the Sixers he lived in Villanova and here is a picture of what his home looked like.


I'm surprised by how small it is.

Justin F. said...
Nov 12, 2008, 7:07:00 PM  


Anonymous said...
Nov 12, 2008, 7:08:00 PM  

come on you idiot, love this site but this is fake...dont post garbage like this, things are spelled wrong...its unfair to ESPN for you to blame them for something that is easily fake.

Anonymous said...
Nov 12, 2008, 7:11:00 PM  

even if this was fake, it is absolutely priceless.

Anonymous said...
Nov 12, 2008, 7:13:00 PM  

I hate ESPN more and more each day. I wouldn't be surprised if the very personification of ESPN came by my house just to kick my dog in the face. And I don't even have a dog.

Anonymous said...
Nov 12, 2008, 7:14:00 PM  

Maryland... Kinda odd that they used Mid-Atlantic as a description, but Nailed it.

Anonymous said...
Nov 12, 2008, 7:49:00 PM  

UNC needs a Southern bell (go read it, i'm serious)....so basically it needs the Liberty Bell's long lost cousin

questionmark said...
Nov 12, 2008, 8:15:00 PM  

Not only are these stereotypes, they are stereotypes that aren't even true.


FEMALE. A bad attitude BLACK girl with extensions in her hair. Bamboo earrings, at least two pair. A 20-year-old version of Nell Carter that prefers to get jiggy and buy shots of Patron at the club than diapers for her two kids.

Nov 12, 2008, 8:23:00 PM  

It's definitely not a fake people. I have been contacted by a representative from the casting agency threatening action.

We'll see how this one plays out.

Nov 12, 2008, 8:23:00 PM  

Has ESPN even BEEN to Ohio State other than on a football Saturday?

We do not dress in sweater vests all the time. Only on the aforementioned football Saturdays. Also, OSU students voted for Obama ~65-35.

This is incredibly stereotypical and kinda racist.

Jon Terry said...
Nov 12, 2008, 8:35:00 PM  

I resent that Connecticut is to be represented by someone "a little bit older" and "thicker around the waist." What an awful stereotype of womens' basketball fans. Why not just ask for pony-loving 13 year old lesbians?

Anonymous said...
Nov 12, 2008, 9:01:00 PM  

Straight up awesome. That was a hilarious read. I hope it was true. And considering ESPN sent out a statement about it I bet it was true.

Great find AA. I bet you are a lacrosse player that always wears hats.

Brett said...
Nov 12, 2008, 9:01:00 PM  

"He plays lacrosse. A dude."

That's killing me.

Anonymous said...
Nov 12, 2008, 9:21:00 PM  

That is the weirdest way to describe Michigan State I have ever seen. For a school generally mocked in the state for producing veterinarians, I do not conceive of their prototypical student as a big bruiser.

Anonymous said...
Nov 12, 2008, 9:42:00 PM  

I've gotta say, if you forced me to pick a racial stereotype that epitomizes the Notre Dame Fighting Irish... "Asian" is not the first word that comes to my mind. Or the second. Or the tenth.

And man, the descriptions for Louisville and Gonzaga are both just absolutely brutal...

Anonymous said...
Nov 12, 2008, 10:03:00 PM  

[Ref waving arm for touchback] "And the faircatch-- is not made, as the ball sails over the head of the returner into the endzone." - Play-by-play guy on Wednesday night football

I hope someone saw that, because that was just hilarious live. was clearly watching the monitor and clearly thought the ref was a player for a minute.

Then followed it up with, "He's had a day and a half," as in he's had a good day.

Anonymous said...
Nov 12, 2008, 11:12:00 PM  

I need to know who this guy is. They just showed a replay from the first half of someone from the other team missing a PAT, and going into detail about how it'd only be a 2-point game... Then realized he was an idiot and blamed it on the heavy fog.

Just awful. This is why he works on Wednesday nights.

Anonymous said...
Nov 12, 2008, 11:20:00 PM  

Eric Collins is his name, ruining the calls of unwatched football is his game.

Anonymous said...
Nov 12, 2008, 11:24:00 PM  

Do all you scholars care to point out the rampant mispellings referenced in these comments? I'm no editor but after a quick read I did not catch these egregious spelling errors that prove this was not real... I do however know that the casting agency is one that specializes in commercials fwiw.

Anonymous said...
Nov 12, 2008, 11:48:00 PM  


Are we talking NYC 6 or a Milwaukee 6?

Anonymous said...
Nov 13, 2008, 1:07:00 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Blair Russell said...
Nov 13, 2008, 2:40:00 AM  

Besides the other salient points brought up, I think that person thought that Michigan State=Detroit, judging by that stereotype.

The fact that terms like "slutty" are actually used in these casting calls may be the biggest surprise, aside from the fact that a 10 year old must have typed that up.

Blair Russell said...
Nov 13, 2008, 2:48:00 AM  

This is an incredible find. Thank you, AA.

As for the Maryland stereotype, it is 100% true. Everyone at Maryland is a dude.

Anonymous said...
Nov 13, 2008, 3:03:00 AM  

And what's the deal with call centers? I love this, it's "awesome".(I am from Oklahoma)

TomahawkFlop said...
Nov 13, 2008, 8:24:00 AM  

What is the source of the ESPN statement in the update? Is there a link to a press release?

Anonymous said...
Nov 13, 2008, 8:35:00 AM  

What, how'd ESPN miss on the poor CAJUN dude from LSU? That would've been priceless.

Anonymous said...
Nov 13, 2008, 9:19:00 AM  

What no 44-D Florida State chick with cowboy hat and cutoffs?

So much for realism.

Anonymous said...
Nov 13, 2008, 10:36:00 AM  

this is definitely not fake - it's a real breakdown. the casting people were in a panic last night trying to get it taken down

not sure if ESPN wrote it, or if it was the casting company. I love "Perdue" at the beginning

st robinson said...
Nov 13, 2008, 10:50:00 AM  

A fun game: Figure out which of the fucksticks that work at the casting company fit the stereotypical descriptions!

Unknown said...
Nov 13, 2008, 10:53:00 AM  

Here's your xavier stereotype: White Girl, slightly overweight. Very homely, but probably not ugly.

Anonymous said...
Nov 13, 2008, 11:08:00 AM  

To those that asked about the ESPN statement. It was emailed to me last night and can be attributed to Mike Soltys if you need an exact name. He was speaking on behalf of the marketing department, so I did not add it in.

Nov 13, 2008, 12:31:00 PM  

As a Villanova graduate, I can say that the stereotype of Villanova as a "poor man's Duke" is so off-base I have to wonder who the hell wrote that. The true stereotype is that Villanova is full of good-looking, upper middle class students who drive BMWs. I'm sorry, but to call a school whose students pay approx. $30,000 a year in tuition "poor" is so factually inaccurate that whoever wrote this obviously has no clue what they are talking about.

Anonymous said...
Nov 13, 2008, 1:12:00 PM  

Villanova=rich obviously. Jay Wright always wears those $10,000 Armani suits or however much they cost. I'm a poor guy so I don't know. Anyway, I really hate the Memphis stereotype. All the people in Memphis are blacks, just like all the people in Utah are Mormons. I am a Mormon from Utah but there are other religions out here and there are other races in Memphis.

Brad James said...
Nov 13, 2008, 1:42:00 PM  

they hit pittsburgh on the head. awesome.

Anonymous said...
Nov 13, 2008, 1:45:00 PM  

The Asian guy is all things Fighting Irish.

God Bless America.

Brian said...
Nov 13, 2008, 2:14:00 PM  

Ok so who ever wrote this I have one thing to say. WAAAAAAAAA, I'm a whiney little liberal bitch who can't take a joke. Were is your sence of humor? Dude, rasism is funny, because 90 percent of the people in this country aren't serious about it, it always has been funny and always will be. So do us all a favor, go get in your prius, drive home in the fast lane at 40 mph, and take a shower, I think I can smell your dirty hippie ass from here.

Anonymous said...
Nov 13, 2008, 3:58:00 PM  

Casting calls are like this, I worked as an extra for a summer during college in LA. They're hilariously specific --especially when you're a minor role (commercial or film). I loved this read, though --sounds legit.

Anonymous said...
Nov 13, 2008, 4:21:00 PM  

i'm from louisville, and what the hell is that about? short and hispanic? just because there are a few famous hispanic jockeys here doesn't have anything to do with louisville. say what you want about unc & duke, this is the 70 mile corridor that cares most about college basketball. check the ratings on t.v.

Anonymous said...
Nov 13, 2008, 6:56:00 PM  

I thought the Louisville thing was because of Edgar Sosa and Francisco Garcia.

Anonymous said...
Nov 13, 2008, 7:00:00 PM  

It is ridiculous and over-the-top, and I can understand the big shots at ESPN being embarrassed by it, but why the political correctness on the commentary. Gimme a break.. They didn't say anything bad. No harm, no foul.

Anonymous said...
Nov 13, 2008, 8:24:00 PM  

Re: The Villanova being the "poor man's Duke". They're not calling people from Villanova poor. That's not what "poor man's (fill in the blank)" means. It means that they're kind of like the stupid duke sterotype, only let so. So using the Duke description, the Villanova sterotype would be smart, young, white, handsome, and rich; he would just be a little less in all regards to sterotype Duke guy.

Was that really that complicated?

Anonymous said...
Nov 13, 2008, 10:46:00 PM  

Really? These are "the most sexist, racist, and sterotypical" ads ever? OK. You may have a point. It may be the most sterotypical (Except for Michigan State). But racist and stereotypical? Have you turned on a TV lately?

Anonymous said...
Nov 14, 2008, 12:18:00 AM  

As a Kansas alum, I'm shocked that ESPN didn't know that the best representation of KU would be a drunk kid from Chicago.

Anonymous said...
Nov 14, 2008, 10:27:00 AM  

C'mon, a Maryland stereotype that doesn't include a Honda Civic with a 12' spoiler or an arson conviction? A Georgetown girl that people like?

Did anyone at ESPN even go to college?

Anonymous said...
Nov 14, 2008, 10:54:00 AM  

Notice there was no representative from the winningest collegiate program of all time, our beloved Kentucky Wildcats. That is because it would be assinine to think that UK would need a call center employee to encourage people to watch our beloved Wildcats...see national attendance leaders (1 or 2) for the last umpteen years!

Anonymous said...
Nov 14, 2008, 11:54:00 AM  

It happens all the time I don't see what the fuss is about.

Anonymous said...
Nov 14, 2008, 3:02:00 PM  

44-D? More like 34-D.

I doesn't surprise me that they want to fill certain quotas for their campaign. It does surprise me that this was made public.

Geoff said...
Nov 14, 2008, 5:06:00 PM  

Thank god they didn't do Penn State, but as an alum, here is mine:

[PENN STATE] MALE. Wearing a 'muscle fit' t-shirt with a witty saying on it, worn jeans with frayed bottoms, and flip flips. Should have a can of Natty Light in the free hand that is not using the phone, possibly a shot of Jager also in front of him.

Unknown said...
Nov 14, 2008, 5:19:00 PM  

It appears legit and ESPN is backpeddling currently. (http://www.usatoday.com/money/advertising/2008-11-13-espn-ad-campaign-killed_N.htm ) I'm guessing the folks at Anomaly just lost a very important client.

Anonymous said...
Nov 16, 2008, 10:36:00 AM  

It is beyond silly to get worked up over this. This is an ad agency trying to draw people into a commercial. It's completely normal for them to want to add some color to the characters. And in doing so it is perfectly natural (1) to try to associate with a picture of some kind of kid people might think actually might be found at a particular school and (2) to caricature the characters to some extent.

Treating a character sketch as a generalizing stereotype is something Awful Announcing did, not anything the agency did. This post is little more than petty rabble-rousing. Thumbs down.

Anonymous said...
Nov 17, 2008, 10:07:00 AM  

Definitely agree. I'm a Kansas Alum and we should be represented by a drunk kid from Chicago. Don't get me wrong, their description is a good one.... just the wrong school. That sounds more like K-State since they are the agi school out in the middle of nowhere.

Anonymous said...
Nov 17, 2008, 7:19:00 PM  

Get over it. Really. It's pretty funny. Mostly stupid, but funny. And I don't think any intelligent human who would have seen the commercial would think "Hmmm, well if it's in an ESPN ad then it MUST be true!" It was obviously written by morons anyway since they do not have a firm grasp on the English language in written form.

Unknown said...
Nov 25, 2008, 11:13:00 AM  

Michigan State isn't really all that blue-collar (read: redneck)...are they confusing them with Eastern?

JHitts said...
Dec 11, 2008, 6:33:00 PM  

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