Beginning her career as a dancer, Blanca Valdez has experience in all types of performance casting, focusing especially on commercials for the Latino market and the Hulu series “East Los High.”
You specialize in working with Latinos; what are you looking for when you need bilingual actors?
If they’re Latin or Hispanic it’s a major plus because they get the opportunity to do a general market and a Spanish [market commercial]—that’s how they can be successful at both. [But] they need to have perfect English as well as perfect Spanish. It’s not just saying, ‘Oh, he’s Hispanic, but he has a Puerto Rican accent,’ when they’re looking for a Colombian accent. If you want to book general, like the national commercials that are going to be very lucrative, then they definitely have to work on being neutral; a neutral accent in Spanish and then a great accent in English as well. Take a dialect class so you can turn it on and turn it off.
How do you find the actors?
Anywhere and everywhere. We do a lot of scouting. For one project, they wanted Mexican charros. I had to go to several rodeos around the area where they had the real charros, and they knew how to do the roping and the lassoing. That was pretty challenging and fun.
What’s something that you wish more actors knew or something they could do to make your job easier?
If it’s a commercial, do research about how that product expects their actors to look in their commercials, because they have a set image that they’re trying to project. If you kind of dress like the talent they’ve used in the past, it helps you.
What do you expect to see from actors?
I expect them to come in and be prepared. It doesn’t matter what level. As an actor, one thing everyone should know as a beginner is there’s going to be a lot of reading and a lot of memorizing. You have to be ready to do that so you can become even better because if you get it out of the way, it gives you a better performance.
What do you want to see as far as photos?
I find that [if an actor posts 10 pictures], there are nine pictures of the same side because they believe that’s their best side. It would be interesting to be able to see more of the actor. We don’t have to see the face nine times. That would really help because the other thing is, if I see a photo and I’m looking for a businessperson, having a picture in a business suit helps. It’s like having more ammunition for your agent, it just makes it so much easier.