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”.
Related posts: Arts under the Coalition
Having started as a freelancer and been doing so for a couple of decades now. She runs multiple businesses and is a filmmaker that “makes Money!” . In the last couple of decades she has never been an employee and has been, in her own words, been a “Slashy” all her life. By that we mean an Writer “slash” camera-person “slash” filmmaker “slash” producer “slash” director. I think you get the gist.
As a teenager she started as a Camera assistant despite being a female but advantaged by the fact that she was the only person who turned up for the role. So the producer somewhat reluctantly took her on and her memory of it was that she learnt to stick up for herself and has done so ever since. She found herself attracted to the apparent glamour of Directing until she did a Tele-movie. An aggressively unpleasant Producer taught her that the Director has no real power. So she swapped straight away to Producing.
Nowadays she runs a few production companies one of which, is “Two shot media” which she has had since 1994. She also started another company called “Freelance success” which is dedicated to making a lead in the Arts. Her third company which she described as the one that feeds her soul – (As opposed to the more financial lucrative ones that feed her body) is the production house – “Girlhouse Films”. This company has recently released a short film called “Lesbians on the Loose” and has a feature film titled “Handbag” in Production. Monica has been making a living as a filmmaker since 1993 and nowadays her reputation has kept the business flowing. In her own words “money tends to find her.”. Her bread and butter although is documentaries and these support her non-profit film making as well as the 60 freelancers she uses to produce her films and do work for her.
“Freelance success” was created to aid people in the Arts to make a living especially as she found that traditional Business models didn’t really work for Creative personalities. Traditional Business models, she said, were goods or service based and the service element presents as a very objective idea of a Service. Your personality and creativity which is the heart and soul of the Artist are usually not acknowledged in traditional Business models. Traditional Business models are not personality directed. While she acknowledges that being “business like” in how we run ourselves is essential, traditional models don’t really work for non-conformist creative types. “Freelance success” is designed to develop business models that do support Creative persons who wish to be financially successful. “Freelance success” went global in 2006 with a five book deal and speaking engagements throughout Australia, the UK, Canada and the US.
In regards to going Global, Monica suggested, you can’t get rich here – you have to go Global – even if it is from the comfort of your own web page. The internet provides you with global income possibility. Remember that YOU are the answer to someone else’s problem. Making loads of movies is easier now then it used to be as technology has, for example, made film production more accessible Film is a Global medium and can be widely distributed. Selling your film or script doesn’t require prolonged pitches or descriptions. In fact sometimes short and powerful can give you a wider audience then you might expect. Writers can make a fortune overseas because Production companies are keen to get scripts. But don’t send unsolicited scripts. Get their interest first. A phone can reach across the planet. Use one.