This week’s #castified winner is Tonoccus McClain! Following his appearance on Seal Team’s episode 2×20, he uploaded a picture of himself (on national TV!) to social media, earning him some Castifi Swag and a few other goodies!
Tonoccus was way ahead of us when it comes to posting about his work as a background actor. His friends and family actually send him screenshots whenever they see him on TV! As we wrote this post, it became clear that Tonoccus is proud of the work he does, no matter where he stands in the shot.
Where are you from?
I’m an army brat. We moved to a new city or country basically every three years throughout my childhood. I was born in Georgia and I’ve lived in Alabama, Massachusetts, Germany, and Colorado. After graduating high school in Colorado Springs, I moved to Los Angeles in 1997 upon being offered a reporter position for a news program for kids.
Can you tell me about your experience with Castifi?
I had heard through the grapevine that Seal Team planned to switch their casting exclusively to Castifi so I knew I had to get the app right away.
Since I was also hired to work on an event for Give2Get. It was a great day that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to experience without Castifi.
Castifi note: Tonoccus is referring to our Event Staff & Brand Ambassador program. In addition to booking actors, we also work with clients in the Event industry who have been praising actors for their ability to memorize information and their outgoing personalities, making them perfect hire!
Can you tell me about your experience on Seal Team?
I’ve probably been on Seal Team fifteen times. Both through the casting company who used to work the show and now through Castifi. I’ve been Air Force, Army, a Marine, a bar patron, an instructor, in Afghanistan, in Guam and everyone and everywhere in between. I have a lot of fun on Seal Team.
Your friends try to spot you in it and in other programs. How did this come about?
During the busiest point in a season, I can do background work on five different shows/movies in a week. I don’t really talk about every one of these gigs I do. But it’s a fun game when one of my friends will come across my face in a crowd on their favorite show. I ask them to grab a screenshot of me on their tv and I’ll put it on Facebook. It’s just a fun game that’s developed around my wildly unconventional career!
Do you have a secret to book so many jobs? I think a lot of our users would want to be in on that!
I’m lucky enough to be what turns out to be a niche in the background acting world. Casting directors get to check off multiple boxes when they cast me. I’m a bald, athletic, African American man. So I get tons of work as a police officer or a soldier (That’s 80% of CBS’ tv lineup right there!)
Aside from the demographical leg up I was born with, there is something I always do on every job (after all, there could be a million different ways for getting hired that first time. Getting hired the SECOND time is up to you). I always arrive on set 30 minutes before any call-time. No matter if it’s 4 am or 8 pm.
I want to be the first person the PA or AD sees, and I make sure I’m my most positive, professional, and easy-going self when I make that first impression. They remember you..and when stand-out opportunities arise, as they occasionally do, you’ve got a great shot a being chosen. And when that AD moves on to another show, they’re taking the memory of you and your positive professionalism with them.
What advice would you give to aspiring actors?
I feel that there’s a difference between acting and background acting. But in navigating an occasionally successful performing career, I felt it useful to try to be humble whenever you can.
Also, try not to take things personally..even if it feels incredibly personal. You know who you are and what you are capable of even if no one else around you does. Take that self-knowledge and use it as a shield against whatever these negative individuals will try to trip you up on. It’s great for keeping perspective in high-pressure situations.