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Casting Directors 2023

amy hubbard amy hubbard casting auditions casting advice casting director fair city casting hubbards louise kiely louise kiely casting maureen hughes risa bramon garcia rose wicksteed rose wicksteed casting director the hubbards Jan 20, 2023

Rose Wicksteed

What advice do you have for acting auditioners?

My top tip is to be yourself; that’s the most important thing. Don’t overthink it. I really feel for actors, because I did acting at school and I went for a foundation course at drama school. I really empathize.

If they’re nervous, I try my best to make them feel at ease. They have to be vulnerable and expose themselves in front of me. You just have to be really open to anything that might happen in that room, but not take it personally. Always ask questions. You should be able to express yourself.

Is there a difference between auditioning in London or New York?

I’ve worked quite a lot on American productions, so, to be honest, I don’t think there’s anything very, very different. We’re looking for great performances and the actor that’s right for the role. Wherever you’re casting, that’s true.

Do you see a difference between American and English actors?

Sometimes actors will come into the room in character, but that’s not specific to the country. In America, I’ve felt that the teams really want to see the actor come in looking appropriate for the character—dress appropriately, have your hair done.

They’re less concerned about that in the U.K. But now, in the U.K, we have so many transatlantic productions that a lot more actors here as well are more dressed appropriately for the character.

How does your background as an actor give you insight into your job?

I have a sensitivity. It gives me an understanding. I don’t think you have to have acted before, but from my perspective, it gives me empathy. I think that all actors work in very different ways. I can’t guess what an actor is thinking, but I can understand some of the choices they’ve made, so I can get out of them what’s best for that role and communicate. I’m always learning from the actors who come in to meet me.

How can an actor be memorable?

I’ve seen actors come in, and their agents will call later and say there was something in the room that made them change the way they thought about the character and they want to self-tape.

I’ll show that self-tape if that’s a stronger take. It shows that the actor has listened to what I’ve said and other feedback. It depends what the casting process is. Sometimes you have the time to do that, and sometimes you don’t. It’s not always necessary, and only if they feel like they really didn’t get it in the room.

Good huh?

x Nick

Nice piece about Rose here



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Advice from a Casting Director – Maureen Hughes

Maureen Hughes trained as artistic assistant under Garry Hynes at Druid Theatre Company in the ’80s and went on in 1992 to work in the Abbey Theatre for two-and-a-half years as head of casting. She has since moved on to cast several major screen productions, including the Oscar®-winning films Six Shooter and Once. She was also the casting director for Love-Hate, which stared the likes of Aidan Gillen along side newcomers.

Getting Noticed

We can’t afford to rule out actors who have very little on their CV, particularly if they are right for the role. But in general I would go to a lot of fringe shows and watch an awful lot of short films. As an actor you have got to start working yourself up some screen credits.

Ring third level colleges to get on student films and get your ass out there – you’ve got to get yourself some experience, which will almost always be unpaid in the beginning.


First, we check if the actor is available for the specific period of time. We send them the script in advance and ask them to prep a scene. Then we bring them in to audition. Personally, I don’t mind people reading from the script, but there are casting directors and directors who will be very, very unimpressed if you do. It’s up to the actor themselves to check who they are going to be working with.

Sometimes I feel if people are really, really off-book then it’s very hard to unlock that performance. Whereas, at least if you have somebody just reading it, they’re not scared to try it a different way.

The Audition

For film and television the audition is everything, because if it ain’t working on the screen, it just ain’t working. We use fairly limited MiniDV cameras but it has got to work on camera on the day. I suppose the big thing is “to thine own self be true” There is nothing worse than coming into the audition dripping with neediness.

Are you happy with the way you read? Can you get up out of that chair, walk out the door and go, “well, fuck it, I thought I did great.” I’m looking for the person who does that as opposed to the person who has tried to second guess what we’re looking for and ends up in a very artificial process.

The Bottom-Line

Good, intelligent preparation is everything. Who are you meeting in the room? What are they like? What are their expectations? I’m bringing you in there, so ring me. I want you as prepped as you can be, because I don’t want to look foolish either.

First printed in

Click on Pic Below And See What Happens?


21 Things That Make A Casting Director Happy 

Risa Bramon Garcia and Steve Braun

Casting directors are your advocates and champions. Your wonderful work makes us look good and actually gets the role cast. Your disconnected, tentative, muddled work does nothing for anyone. So we need you to be great! We’re here to host your experience and shepherd you in, not hold you back. We want to share in your excellent work—it makes us happy!

Casting directors await you on the other side of the door you can see as either a gateway or barricade. Whether it’s a pre-read for an associate or a full-blown director/producer callback session, this is your time, your experience, your opportunity to do exceptional work. Enter the space and do the work for yourself, for the gratification of the work itself, and yes, to collaborate with other creative people waiting to figure it out with you. They need you; they can’t do it without you.

Here are some choices you can make (and they are choices) to keep any casting director truly happy in the room.

1. Accept the invitation with grace and enthusiasm. You were requested to be here as our guest.

2. Come to do the work you love so much, not to please or get our approval.

3. Enter with certainty. Don’t give up your power as soon as the door opens.

4. Play on a level playing field. We’re all figuring it out. Together.

5. Make no excuses whatsoever. Leave your baggage outside. Better yet, leave it at home.

6. Make the room your own. It will make us so much more comfortable and engaged.

7. Ask questions only when you truly need answers. “Do you have any questions?” is usually another way of saying, “Are you ready?” You aren’t required to have one.

8. Know your words and understand what you’re talking about. Make them your very own. You don’t have to be totally off-book, but if you’ve spent quality time with the material, you’re going to know it.

9. Do your homework on the project. This includes knowing all the players and the show or film’s tone and style. Read all the material you can get your hands on.

10. Make decisions and take responsibility for the ones you make.

11. Don’t apologize. Ever. For anything.

READ: 5 Casting Directors Sound off on What NOT to Do at an Audition

12. Know what you want to do and do it. Then leave yourself available to make discoveries. Know that your homework is done. Now let your preparation meet the moments.

13. Don’t mime or busy yourself with props, activity, or blocking. Keep it simple; the only thing that matters is you in the moment.

14. Don’t expect to be directed, but if you are, take the direction, no matter what it is. Understand how to translate results-oriented direction into action.

15. Don’t blame the reader. Make the reader the star of your audition. According to my studio partner Steve Braun, engage fully no matter who’s reading those lines. Very likely your reader will engage—at least to the extent of their capacity—if you show up.

16. Make specific, personal, bold decisions. We want your unique voice to bring the script to life. Only you can bring that. That’s everything we want to see.

This may shock you! Click on the pic below


17. Stillness is powerful. Understand how to move and work in front of the camera. Eliminate running in and out and getting up and down. When you’re fully engaged, stillness is a wonderful byproduct.

18. Require no stroking, coddling, or love. We’re there to work. Don’t take it personally when we’re not touchy-feely. Know that we love actors and that’s truly why we’re here.

19. Understand that you’re there to collaborate. You’re being evaluated in terms of how you serve the role and the material. It's not a verdict on your personhood. Judgment is something you can control. Take your seat at the table.

20. What you bring in reflects how you’re received, so bring joy, conviction, and ease, and our hearts will open.

21. Share your artistry above all else.

Remember that we’re all human in those rooms, and you can affect us on an emotional level. It’s what we all really want. That’s your job. You being fully present, truthful, personal, and vulnerable is going to give us the ammunition we need to champion you with all our hearts. We all desperately want you to do great work. We’re rooting for that every time you walk into the room. You show up and do your fullest, deepest work, and we’ll slay dragons for you and follow you anywhere. And man, we’ll be so happy doing it. You have the power to make that happen. For you. For us. For the work. Hallelujah!

love that x Nick

What Casting Director Amy Hubbard Wants to See in the Audition Room

Watch Audition Tips from the Casting Director of Homeland, The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings

Amy Hubbard spoke to Spotlight at the Subtitle Film Festival in November on what she looks for in the audition room, and whether actors should observe a particular waiting room etiquette. Watch her advice now!


Louise Kiely tells us why being a casting director is harder work than many believe. She writes...

"Generally, as a casting director my day starts either two ways… meeting with directors, divising a plan with directors, doing a character breakdown, doing a character brief, or scheduling casting days.

Alternatively it could be in a casting room. People think that it’s a very creative thing and you can just sit there going ‘Yes! No!’ The reality is that it’s a lot of hours put in to things like research, paperwork and scheduling "

In that case we’d be filming the actors, doing the auditions and uploading the videos for everyone to see in the evening time. So it depends whether it’s working in preparation of the casting or actually doing the casting. In terms of preparation and what people don’t tend to know is that you have to know your technology.

I use Vimeo, which is private, so whether it’s in Ireland or I’m sending it over to directors in England, it’s the most accessible way so that everybody can watch it at their convenience. You have to have a good camera, a good tripod and you have to like that stuff. So it’s a bit technological in that way as well.

Today for example, I had a meeting with a director and a producer, and through chatting I just get a sense of the script. I come from an acting background; which I don’t think is a necessary thing, plenty of casting directors don’t come from acting backgrounds. But when I read a script I just break it down to essentially get a sense of all the characters, and put a shortlist together of who I think would suit those roles.

And then I go away, I work a lot on my own or with Karen Scully who works with me, and we put it all together then. We have our mighty casting days where we shortlist people and then see where we are.

The most common misconception people have about my job is… that it’s fabulous all the time. It’s a great job and I love it, don’t get me wrong, I adore every minute of it. But it’s hard work, there’s a lot of admin. And I guess people think that it’s a very creative thing and you can just sit there going ‘Yes! No!’ The reality is that it’s a lot of hours put in to things like research, paperwork and scheduling, and sometimes that can mean a lot of late nights.

You have to be a creative person of course with the world that it is, but you also have to be really organised because at the end of the day you have to be responsible for your work and people have to know what you’re doing when you’re working to a deadline. But as I said, I love it and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Assist a casting director and you can learn that way. I didn’t assist, I sort of found out the way I was going. What’s essential is watching movies, going to the theatre, keeping in it, you have to know who everybody is and you have to know it well. Being a casting director you have to talk to people and be able to read them.

You have to be interested in people; I was talking to another casting director last week and we were saying that it’s the chats or seeing someone in a tiny part in a play perhaps and picking up on something special.

The practical tips I would give to somebody trying to break into the industry as a casting director would be… to immerse yourself in the world of it and be interested in people. Somebody said to me when I was starting ‘There’s always room’ and I do believe that. If somebody wants to be a casting director I think that they should do it because it’s a great job.

On a practical level then I’d say assist, go see as much as you can, do any sort of casting you can. I really believe that, especially at the beginning in putting in the hours. See as many people as you can. Commercials are fantastic as training ground because you get to see so many people. You’re exhausted at the end of the day but the practical learning is invaluable.

The people who helped me get where I am today are… I have loads of people who took a risk on me that I’m extremely grateful for. Lots of production companies in Dublin, lots of directors, and they’ve been hugely patient and very warm and welcoming. Each individual director has inspired me in some way or another.

I suppose at the very beginning, me and the actress Orla Fitzgerald started together and although she didn’t continue with me I don’t think I would’ve done it without her. Marian Quinn was the first feature film director that I worked with and that was called ‘32A’ in 2006 and that will always be very special.

The best thing about my job is being able to give an actor a job, which is so bloody hard for them in the first place, that’s very satisfying "

The best thing about my job is... being able to give an actor a job, which is so bloody hard for them in the first place, that’s very satisfying. Also, when they’re so excited to do it, that’s brilliant too. Of course it would be amazing if an actor that I cast won an award but for me I get a big kick out of just giving them work in the first place. Another aspect is the people that you get to meet and the projects that you work on.

The projects will start and it’ll be really exciting and then three months later there’ll be a new project and that’s really exciting again because it’s a whole new group of people. And we have great fun on the casting days! I come from a legal background also so I love the process of negotiating the deals with the actors. The paperwork and contracts, contractual rules and conventions on that side I also find very interesting as well.

Websites you should surf/books you should read for inspiration… I think every actor should be on Spotlight, or on Fishpond which is really great as well. My friend Ali Coffey founded that. I’m very excited to see a documentary coming out which is called ‘Casting By....’ and it’s a documentary about a very famous casting director and hopefully it will demystify things in a way.

I think the best thing that you can do is watch the movies, watch the special features. Read plays as much as you can, immerse yourself in it. It is a different one in that you can’t go to work to learn it but you can certainly upskill yourself in the real world about it. People always ask ‘How do you become a casting director?’ It’s not that tricky to get into. It’s great, I would recommend it to anyone :-)

 In her own words... 

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