Julia Kim was recently the guest speaker for LA Casting's free monthly "Inside the Industry" seminar. Julia Kim is a theatrical and commercial casting director. Here are some experts you may be interested in…
I am a theatrical and a commercial casting director, so I can answer any questions you might have for actors who do both, or are lucky enough to do both.
I think I am fairly new to a lot of you, because I have not done a lot of commercials, but LA CASTING has been an amazing resource to utilize as much talent as possible when I am casting commercials. I got my training from Lisa Fields. She does a lot of them. Before LA Casting we used to open every envelope, and make stacks and categorize it and now just being able to just click though the pages and pages of submissions is just amazing!
I will start about my background, and I how I got into casting…
I got my casting start, working under a guy named David Rubin he is a very established casting director, and Debbie Zane, who does all of Spielberg and Soderbergh projects.
David was a really wonderful, classy man who is not a yeller, not an emotional freak, like a lot of people in the industry are. He was really graceful under pressure.
I go to movies, I love movies, and I love acting. I always responded to that, to the acting. I always made a mental note. I realized I have some kind of talent for it. So I made the leap to casting. The first movie I ever worked on as a paid assistant was, “Fear,” Mark Walberg’s first movie. It was actually before music people crossed over, so it was kind of a big deal. He didn’t have any real training, and he was amazing. He has an innate sense for acting. I got into casting that way, and did a lot of movies….
I love the Actor, and respect the actor.
Lisa Fields and I, were working on the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre”
She needed someone with a lot of theatrical experience… later; she asked me if I wanted to do commercials. So, that world opened up to me.
I wanted to come here today, to address a few question I commonly get asked:
Is there a difference in agency submissions?
Theatrically Yes. I am going to be blunt. There are the A, B, and C piles. But that does not mean I won’t look at the C piles. I use it to filter ‘good resumes’ from some of the bigger agencies. For commercials they may be looking for someone more unique looking, and for that I may go to some of ‘funkier’ boutique’ agencies for a special look.
Do you look at actors without representation as well?
When I do non union stuff, yes. I did a big non-union commercial for Amp’d Mobile. It was so risqué! It had a hooker in a hotel room, with a senator on top of her saying, “you can’t die now, the new phone is coming!” I went out to The Seventh Veil and Crazy Girls and got real girls… they didn’t want a ‘Hollywood’ girl trying to look like a hooker. They wanted the real deal. Then I went to the court house at lunch hour and looked around. So, I looked at everything.
If you are a SAG actor and you don’t have representation then…?
If you are on the LA Casting database then your chances are pretty good. It’s no skin off my nose to take an actor whose face I really respond to.
What are your sessions like?
In callbacks we are always running behind, it is hard to see how a director is going to work…. So unfortunately we have to have the actor waiting, not us waiting. The director expects casting to run very smooth. Everyone wants to be remembered, but to me the best way to be remembered is to have a great attitude, and have two takes in your head- the way you want it, and a second way. And if he tweaks you, you should do what he says! Really listen! If a director asks you to do it again, he thinks you are on to something… He put some thought into it. I wouldn’t carbon copy your first try.
What head shot should I use?
Polaroid- who cares! It is more of an ID factor than anything else!
Is there anything you look for in a Resume?
Commercially, I look for extra colloquial stuff. If you love acting you are always going to be doing something. Keep your wheels greased. Sketch comedy is good; it keeps you fresh and on your toes.
Do you encourage actors to improve a scene?
Yes. Normally, but if an actor over does it, I will ask them to stick to the copy. Sometimes, they just go overboard.
So, if they ask you to tell a little bit about yourself, it could be a long non-interesting thing…. Make sure to have a few "tales". If they ask what your favorite book is, don’t say "I dunno know…..” If you like tennis, just say you are reading a book about tennis, you can start with the book, and move into talking about what you do know.
If you like an actors look, but they don’t deliver 100% will you work with them?
In some cases yes, I was doing a commercial and they had an extremely specific look and type. The guy, who we brought in, was not fully prepared to do the whole campaign so we worked with him a bit.
Once in awhile I’ll get asked “Why didn’t I get the job?” The reason is that maybe I am not looking for someone like you, right now. I encourage you guys to have ideas, but keep in mind that if you are may not be the first person telling "that joke."
What about “Spokesperson” material?
A lot of people have an idea of the spokesperson being the announcer. But you can take it where you want it. Make it your own. Make yourself the now guy.
Is it best to post two or three headshots online?
If there is a reason to have a lot, than put a lot. If it is just to show how hot you look then you don’t need it, but if you can dress up, or dress down … then it should be there. Show the diversity of you!
What is your take on crashing auditions?
I don’t mind asking. I don’t mind if you happen to be there and you sort of look like someone else there, or read the break down. You have to ask, and most of the time I’ll say yes, unless my day is just so packed that I can’t. I don’t like sneaky.
What do directors like?
A thinking actor will always perk up a director. If you come in and you had some thought behind it, it will always help. Be a thinking actor. Each director is different, but a prepared actor is a better actor.
Do you like Black and white headshots?
Yes. I prefer black and white! Color headshots are the majority, black and white is the minority…
About the material, or copy….
I think you can really take the product and the copy and make it your own. Also be conscious of who you are talking to. Who the consumer is, is it men and women, is it moms and dads… children… etc... Is there something they need to relate to?
And where you are… are you in a car, are you outside… be aware.
It helps to read the copy out loud to yourself… you can tell who prepared.
Memorize the first and last lines, it is important to start and end with eye connection…
Write out the copy, if you have the time.
If you don’t get a callback but you thought you did a really good job. Don’t forget that, that feeling is never wrong. Know that you did a good job. It’s just that you were not right for what they were looking for… you are not going to be right for everything. But we will remember you.
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