Meet Sophie Kingston Smith
Sophie Kingston Smith is a Casting Associate to Rose Wicksteed who’s cast films such as Martin Scorsese’s ‘Hugo’ and ‘Room 8′ as well as horrors ‘The Conjuring 2’ and ‘The Nun’ which is now in post-production.
We chatted with Sophie about what it’s like to work in the casting room and what actors can do to get noticed. Here are her top four tips…
Whilst these situations can feel intimidating, try and leave your nerves at the door. Every (decent) casting director will try and put you at ease, and will be sympathetic to nervousness, and whilst it can be endearing and shows you’re invested, nerves ultimately hamper your performance and make us question whether you can handle pressure, especially if we’ve not met you before. We’ve brought you in for a reason, so put a confident face on.
Be open to new direction. The casting director is essentially recommending to the director who they should have on their set, so we’re looking for people who can take direction and adjust their performance accordingly. It’s great (in fact actively encouraged) that you come in with your own ideas, but you must be open to ours as well, and demonstrate an adaptability that’s crucial to a successful acting career.
Be prepared for different types of auditions. Commercial castings are often very quick, busy and can feel a little impersonal, as opposed to theatre auditions in which it’s likely the director will be there to meet you, have a look through your CV and discuss the project and its concepts with you before you read. A lot of TV and film castings will just be taping in the first instance with an assistant or associate, or you’ll be asked to submit a self-tape before the CD decides they want to meet you. The process is different for every sector, so make sure you’re well-versed in all of them.
Hone the art of the self-tape. With the industry moving in the direction it is, casting is going to rely on self-taping more and more heavily, which is no bad thing when you think about how many more opportunities you will have to audition. You don’t need an expensive camera, but ensure your tapes are professional with good lighting, appropriate framing (best to go for head and shoulders or a mid-shot) and enlist someone to read with you wherever possible. Most CDs will ask for a slate if they want one, but it can’t hurt to include one at the end of every self-tape (a slate is a short recording, preferably in full-length shot, of your name, height, and agent and your profile from either side).