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If you’re auditioning or meeting over video at the moment, you’ll want to catch up with our guest casting director (CD) Frankie Fearis. Along with CD Sophie Holland, she’s not letting lockdown get in the way of casting a second instalment of Netflix’s fantasy series The Witcher. Here’s just a selection of insights from our chat with Fearis, from why it’s just as important to meet the casting assistant to the one thing you need to do before every audition.
On how to meet with a CD
“Just to be yourself. I know that you want to come in and you want to get a job, or you think that we can just give you a job. But we’re people – we’re all human, we like human interaction and just getting to know somebody. Instead of feeling like you have to constantly sell yourself, I would actually love to find out what you’re watching or when you went on holiday last. I like to get to know people, and things that make actors stick out in your mind, like we both just went to Spain or whatever. So, don’t feel like you constantly need to sell you – just be a person. Let us enjoy getting to know you and enjoy getting to know us. You know, we’re all on a level, we’re all people.”
Why the casting assistants are just as important as directors
“The way Sophie Holland likes to run her office is that we all do everything together, we all have creative conversations, we talk about actors together, we all go make each other coffee. Of course, Sophie is our boss and the associate Faye [Timby] is way more experienced than me, but we work as a team. I think sometimes actors might feel they want the casting director coming [to their show] and not the assistant. But usually, the casting directors are incredibly busy and assistants actually have the time to go and relay everything back the next day or that evening. And we will always say who we’ve met – it’s very much a shared thing. The relationship between a CD and an assistant is all about talking through who we’ve seen recently, what’s on, what we’ve enjoyed, all that kind of stuff.”
On ‘leaving it in the room’
“I sympathise with actors. It’s hard and you have to deal with rejection on a daily basis. But something important is that you do your best in the room and then walk out and leave it there. Think: ‘I did my best and that’s it,’ and know that although you didn’t get that job, you’ve met us and you’re on our radar and we will definitely think of you again. Working in casting, you need to have a really good memory. Our brains are like catalogues of actors. Even if you’ve sent us an email or you’ve popped up for whatever reason, we’ve seen you! It’s the same when you meet somebody for an audition. If you don’t get that one, it’s not the end of the world. There is so much more that can come from an audition than that job, there might be another role at the time or even six months to a year later.”
What to do before every audition
“This is advice I always give when people ask me what to do before I go in the room or how you can best prepare. And it’s exactly the same for Zoom auditions or for a self-tape: get there a bit early. Obviously, you’re not going anywhere if it’s at home, so take out the 20 minutes before if you have the time to, or even just 10 minutes, and ground yourself. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re rushed. Of course, we can’t avoid it sometimes, if we’re squeezing something in or running into town or whatever it is. But if you can, just have a moment. Pause, prepare, and just sit there or have a glass of water. Be with your thoughts for a moment – just really be in the now. I think it’s easy to forget you’re about to walk in the room and perform, and instead let yourself think: ‘Will I get this job? If I don’t get this job, what will happen? If I do get this job, what will happen?’ Actually, just stop. Take a moment.”
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