The Inside Scoop: A Conversation with Casting Director Caroline Liem Part 1

Written by: Holly Powell

I sat down and had a great conversation with Casting Director Caroline Liem who has worked in many different areas and mediums of casting. She has worked on Television Pilots and Series, Feature Films, Voice Over for animation and was Head of Casting for Jimmy Kimmel Live!. She started out in casting working with a big LA casting office UDK…Ulrich, Dawson, Kritzer…and then worked for Disney in both the Television department with Keli Lee and the Feature department with Marcia Ross. From there she went into independent casting working with many top Casting Directors such as Roger Mussenden and Debbie Barylski.

The Voice Over Audition Process

  • Everything is online for Voice Over auditions.
  • Actors put themselves on audiotape for a specific role either at their home studio or at their Agents office.
  • The casting process is much like a theatrical audition. The Casting Director reaches out to Agents and sends them the breakdown of the roles being cast. Agents offer suggestions of actors from their list and the Casting Director requests specific actors availability.
  • The Casting Director gets links of these audiotapes and presents them to their Director and Producer.
  • The Studio is usually the one who makes the final casting decisions.
  • The Voice Over casting process is very similar to how a Feature Film is cast where the Studio has to approve who is cast, and it is also similar to the casting process for a Television Pilot where the Network has to sign off on casting choices.
  • The only difference between casting for Voice Over, Feature Film and Television is the speed with which they are done.

The Late Show Casting Process-Jimmy Kimmel Live!

  • Casting a late night show is very different because there is a new show every day. From the moment the Casting Director arrives until the show is taped that evening, they are working closely with the Writers, Director and Producers to cast the sketch actors needed for the new show that night.
  • Agents are called in the early afternoon and certain actors are discussed who might be right for the show that evening. The Casting Director needs to determine where the actor is physically to ensure that they can make it to the set on time.
  • The Casting Director for late night television doesn’t have time to hold casting sessions, so current tape is shown to the Producers from various sources such as Funny Or Die, You Tube, current demo reels, or video of actors met in the office that week.
  • Caroline says she constantly needs actors to be at her fingertips, so she goes to lots of theatre, stand-up comedy clubs, sketch shows, looks at demo reels, gets recommendations from people, and meets new actors every week.
  • If an actor is “not right” for the current part being cast, they are always remembered for other shows and projects if they do good work. The actor should remember that a lot of times “casting” is about things they cannot control… things like their age, height or skin color. Don’t go to an audition to book a particular role. Go to an audition so the Casting Director can see your best work.

Advice For Actors Moving To LA

  • Get a working car!
  • The bus system is very slow and drains an actor so they can’t do the work they’ve trained to do.
  • A lot of actors move to LA from New York and don’t understand that LA is a car society.

The Importance Of Acting Classes In LA

  • A lot of college students who have taken 4 years of acting classes, often don’t want to jump into another acting class when they arrive in LA. Caroline asks that actors look at it another way.
  • Every connection you make is an opportunity for your future. The person who you meet in acting class who is running the camera could be next years big filmmaker at Sundance.
  • You always have something to learn from everybody. Acting classes are great for networking. You’ve got to create your own community.

Pictures

  • The actors picture is their calling card. It’s what gets you through the gate.
  • A lot of pictures are submitted on-line now. So the actor needs to be sure, when submitting their jpeg, that the viewer can see their face clearly and that the background is not distracting.
  • Only use a professional photographer to take your headshot. If you don’t, and your headshot looks amateurish, we won’t take you seriously as an actor.
  • Interview your photographer. The professional photographer is great to work with and knows what they are doing.
  • Your photographer is only your Director. You are the Producer.
  • You want the picture to look like you. What product are you selling? What is your brand?
  • We want to see your personality come through in your headshot and we want to recognize you when you walk through the door.
  • Keep it specific. Actors should zero in on what roles they would audition for. It all comes down to your brand.

Part 2 of my conversation with Caroline Liem will be my next Master Talent Teachers video.

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2 Responses to “The Inside Scoop: A Conversation with Casting Director Caroline Liem Part 1”

  1. Retta Putignano June 6, 2012 at 5:29 pm #

    Love this. Caroline is one of the hardest working CD’s in town. Thanks for another super-informative video, Holly! Looking forward to Part 2.

  2. Geoffrey Gilbert December 25, 2013 at 3:24 am #

    Vrey well made video. Informative and captive throughout.

    Thanks!

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