Kari, introduced herself as the principle of Kari Harris Casting (http://www.kariharriscasting.com/) which opened it’s doors in 2004 after a history with Prototype Casting over at Fox studios for many years. When they closed their doors she basically decided to open her own door. She spoke of the experience being one that helped her rediscover the joy of her job and her clients. Her credits over the last decade and a half include the television series, Cyber Girl (won AFI 2001), Lennie Cahill Shoots Through (won AFI 2004), Liquid Bridge, In the Red and Soar (won Flickerfest awards 2004 – Best Achievement for Original Screenplay & Most Popular Film). Kari has cast multiple high end advertising campaigns for various award winning agencies, such as Euro RSCG Worldwide, George Paterson Y & R, Leo Burnett, M & C Saatchi, Ogilvy Australia, McCann Erickson and Clemenger BBDO. Her work is featured on her website as mentioned above and actors can find references useful on the facebook page – www.facebook.com/KHCasting.
Projects – the up and downs
Kari, explained that there were numerous ways projects come to the attention of casting agents, including being asked by a producer, or told by an actor eager to be introduced or the usual industry grapevines. She said that the Casting Agent is one of the first bodies brought on board a production (even though, she admitted regretfully, we are not usually funded till pre-production begins). The drawback being of course that some productions simply do not get made.
That aside, and presuming all goes well, the Casting Agent meets with the producer to discuss the vision of the script and understand the integrity of the script. Upon breaking down the script into character briefs, and then getting the rather telling, producer’s wish list. Then it’s is the Casting Director’s job to provoke them to think seriously about the wish list and inject some manner of reality to it. (Besides, Nicole, Russel and Bryan have other engagements) <sigh> After some provocation (in a nice manner) the Casting Agent begins the process of suggesting people based on the re-engineered wish list and starts bringing them in for consideration. They speak to Agents for the selected lead roles and then begin Casting for the myriad number of roles in a film. We provide the Showreel DVDs for the producers and eventually narrow it all down. Coordinating Schedules for Actors and Agents can become quite a complex task and as she said easier to tell than do. Casting agents make recommendations for the producers and to keep a reputation, need never to submit someone that is not up to scratch. Being ready for the role as an Actor is an important consideration. Sometimes, as Kari said, we need to decide on whether to keep people on tap or not for the producer. The most important resource in contemporary times for Casting Directors are the On-line Databases (ecaster, showcast or AT2). Kari suggested that actors should be on at least one of them.
Kari’s advice about your photo shoots. Get it done properly. Not a snapshot shoot in your back yard. DO remember, If you send a Photo to an Agent don’t forget to put your name & phone number on the back. The photo may get separated from a Resume and if and when it does, you become an unlocatable asset. Of then what use is your fabulous face for that great part that you would be ideal for, if only you’d bothered to think a little.
Kari said that DVD’s and Showreels are critiqued by agents although Kari admits they may be put aside in the busy hustle in preference for viewing them during quieter times. But she also went on to speak of how useful the short film industry in Australia was in simply providing both opportunities to keep working and for material that can be used in Showreels. Kari did through stress that Theatre work was an important “quiver for your bow”.