Yesi Ramirez says she didn’t know there were such things as casting directors until she started working down the hall from them. Her position as a contract administrator at Universal Studios was part of a larger department that also included casting personnel, so her office neighbors were CDs such as Avy Kaufman and Universal’s senior vice president of casting,Joanna Colbert.
“Basically any opportunity I had to pick the brains of casting directors or their associates about being a casting director, I took advantage of,” Ramirez says. Because of her time at Whittier Law School, her department mates themselves took advantage of her skills, asking her to write their deal memos or make offers to actors. When Colbert left Universal to strike out on her own as a CD, Ramirez followed to be her assistant.