If you’re like me, “breaking into” a new market might seem overwhelming, but don’t fret, I compiled my core tips on connecting with casting directors and a list of the top casting directors in “The New Hollywood.” Enjoy Atlanta: Hollywood’s New Frontier, Part 1: Casting Directors and let me know if you find the tips helpful.
Taking a bit of my own advice from the article, I was lucky enough to score an interview with Cheryl Louden-Kubin, known as The Atlanta Casting Director with over 20 years of experience in the industry, on her career, experiences, and advice to actors looking to break-in and take their career to the next level.
Candy Washington: Hi Cheryl, as the go-to casting director in Atlanta and the Southeast, how did you get your start in the industry?
Cheryl Louden-Kubin: I studied Theater all of my life. My mother was a Drama teacher so it was kind of in my genes. I studied at Carnegie-Mellon University doing a summer theater session and received a BA in Drama/English from Marymount College, NY and studied a year abroad at RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts) in London, England. After I graduated I moved to Miami and got a job as a PA (Production Assistant) for Worldwide Production Services, a company that we just cast the Google Science Fair spot with. Through them I got a job once a week answering phones at a busy Casting office (Casting Directors, Inc/Dee Miller) she hired me full time and a career was born.
CW: What advice do you have for actors that want to connect with casting directors?
CL-K: Technology has allowed actors to reach out and be seen without even getting in the car. That’s both good and bad. An actor can submit an audition done from home easily which allows for more exposure but what we’ve lost is the personal connection. The presentation. When I’m reading talent for a film I like to have them come in so I can work with them, I have consulted with the Director as to which “way” the actor needs to go. Even if it’s one line – they need to know where they fit into the puzzle. We can’t hand out scripts to every actor that reads.
Also, do Theater. Study. If you have a camera-put yourself on tape. There are also Casting Directors that have Facebook Pages. I know when I’m looking for something that needs extra attention, I’ll post it on my page.
Ideally you’ll want to get an agent if you want to be considered for the bigger projects. Go to the Sag/Aftra website (sagaftra.org) and plug in your area and you’ll see a list of legit agents. Each agent will have information on how to submit. You should not have to pay to register and they should only take 10% of whatever job they sent you out for and you got. 20% for Print.
CW: What’s your favorite casting project or story that you would like to share with us?
CL-K: I was fortunate enough to work on the NBC hit series “Miami Vice” from start to finish in varying casting capacities. It was an amazing experience to be involved in a top 10 series. We shot one episode every seven days. Sometimes 10 pages and 3 locations in a day. Exhausting!!! It was so exciting to sit in on Production meetings and go through the script page by page with every department being represented. An amazing education. I will cherish that time forever.
CW: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned while being a casting director?
CL-K: Even though I am an extension of the Director – my eyes are not his (or hers). I may think someone has nailed their audition and the director may think they were awful. Also, if you don’t get the job, don’t take it personally. Sometimes it has nothing to do with you. You may remind the Director of his ex wife… you may never know why you did not get the job. Just keep moving forward.
CW: What are some of your upcoming projects?
CL-K: I have several projects in the works. Unfortunately I am not able to speak about them. Two features and a reality show. I am delighted to say that I will be doing ALL of the Casting, not just local hires. Something rare for a Location Casting Director.
CW: What’s on of your favorite casting moments?
CL-K: I have always thought that having an acting background makes me a better Casting Director. I delight in being able to see that “something” that no one else sees, even the Actor. I love being able to call the Agent, or the Actor and tell them they got the part. Priceless.
CW: Anything else you would like to share with us?
CL-K: Because of the wonderful tax incentives in the state of Georgia we are becoming very busy. The future looks very bright.
Found this Q&A helpful? Be sure to comment below, share with your friends, and tweet @candywashington with any comments or questions.