5 Minutes With…
In our new series of short interviews with key industry people, we sat down for a cuppa and a chat with Katherine Skene, Casting Assistant at Pippa Ailion Casting to get some knowledge on auditions and the casting process!
What’s the best thing about working in casting?
It’s so wonderful to see people grow throughout an audition process. Many people believe that you need to be 100% perfect on your first audition. This isn’t true. We look for potential rather than perfection. We like to work with people and help them to discover the skills, talent and confidence that they sometimes don’t know or believe they have. Be confident and believe in your own skills, because we do!
How much does the agent you have influence whether or not you get in the room?
Having an agent is great, they give you guidance and help to push you on your behalf – but it’s not essential. Being unrepresented does NOT mean you won’t get in the room – we see many unrepresented actors who we have in fact been cast in many of our shows. It’s always great to see new and unseen talent, and a lot of those people are unrepresented. Make yourself known and push yourself – you can do it!
What advice would you have for a new grad auditioning for a west end show for the first time?
Don’t panic! We need you! I see so many people who are extremely talented crash and burn due to nerves. It’s hard to say ‘don’t be nervous’ because of course you will be, but just remember we want you to be the best you can be. Many new grads believe if they mess up an audition, that’s it, their careers are over – that is not true! As long as you come prepared, we want to encourage you and help you to develop as a performer – as I mentioned before, we look for potential not perfection.
What are your favourite songs to hear in the room? And are there any to avoid?
This is a difficult one. When I performed, there was such emphasis to find that ‘perfect song’ – there is no such thing. You need to find a song that suits YOU. My favourite songs are those that show you off at your best, and are sung with passion and confidence. Avoid singing songs that you think are the ‘perfect song’ if it’s not perfect for you!
Do you often see AMTA grads in the room?
Yes many times! It’s so lovely to see, and especially when I have been lucky enough to watch them grow from drama school to industry life! We have cast AMTA’s wonderful Ethan Davis and Karis Jack in the tour of Motown the Musical this year. If you can, go along and support them – it’s wonderful!
Best moment you’ve had working in casting?
My best moment is when I can finally tell people they have the job! It’s amazing to be able to deliver news that will change someone’s career and how grateful they are. We thank YOU, thank you for being so wonderful!