A day in the life of a Casting Booker

Working on everything from epic period dramas to the country’s most-loved soaps, Rhiannon is a booker on our casting desk. We grabbed five minutes with her to find our what her average day is like.

My alarm goes off at… 6am and the first thing I do is check my work phone and catch up on any news. I’m up early anyway as its takes me that long to do my hair and makeup – haha. I can’t live without my GHDs they are my pride and joy! I’ve actually just had to get new ones as my old trusty pair of 12 years broke the other day – I treated myself and got the new limited edition pink copper. I tend to have a cereal bar on-the-go for my breakfast as I never have time to sit down and eat.

My average day… generally consists of working through breakdowns that clients send to me. These can be various requests such as finding passer bys/pub drinkers for soaps like Coronation Street or Hollyoaks, lawyers for crime dramas like Happy Valley and No Offence or people with lots of hair and beards for a period drama like Victoria and Peaky Blinders! I also get out and about to visit clients on set: It could be on the cobbles or in the countryside. It’s great to do this so both parties can put a face to a name and break the ice properly. We also run dance castings which I love being a part of as it’s so exciting watching the talent and seeing who stands out. Its amazing seeing all the tricks they can do as well – it makes me want to get up and join in!

After work… I like to be quite social and so will try and arrange different activities to do with friends a few days a week. I also go to tap and ballet class and am part of Manchester Show Choir . It’s important to me that I try to fit in catching up on any programs that we have worked on – I love spotting our artists and thinking “Ooooh I helped to create that!”

How I got to where I am today… As a child I attended dance and acting classes eventually going on to do a degree in Dance and Musical Theatre. I also attended Carney Academy where I had exceptional tutoring from industry professionals on all areas of acting both for theatre and screen. I had amazing opportunities there including working with two West End dancer/choreographers as well as undertaking intense audition prep, Stanislavski and Shakespeare courses run by successful actors and directors. I truly believe without this training at Carney I wouldn’t be where I am today as it fully prepared me for the professional world and taught me so much.

What I love most about my job… No two days are the same. You never know what weird and wonderful requests you may get from a client. Its also great when you put somebody forward for a featured role and then they get picked: I love the feeling you get from picking up the phone and making somebody’s day. Sometimes I’ll get a nice message from an extra thanking me for putting them on a job where they got to work with one of their idols – that’s a lovely part of the job. I don’t think there’s anything I would change, I love it all!

When I get home…The first thing I do is exercise off all the treats that the models and extras bring us! There’s always so much temptation! I then catch up on all the soaps – its important I stay up to date with storylines. My housemates and I will then gather on the sofa to watch something together – its Broadchurch at the moment (I’m suspicious of Lenny Henry…but then again maybe not, its always someone you least expect!)

Advice I would give to someone who wants to break into the industry… Know your casting. You could be the most talented actor in the world but if you are going up for the wrong roles you’ll never get cast. As well as having the talent and skills a lot of this industry is based on looks and whether you “fit” that character. It can be tough realising that you won’t ever be cast as the leading man or lady but you have to remember that it is not a reflection of your talent, it just might be that you suit the funny best friend or sidekick better. Think of Martin Freeman – he usually plays those sort of roles but is just as talented and successful as someone like Hugh Jackman. He’s played some fantastic characters that if you flip it, Hugh Jackman wouldn’t suit (like Bilbo Baggins). I’d also say you can never stop learning. Go to all the workshops and classes you can and continually develop your skills and techniques. Oh, and definitely buy the book “Actions: The Actors’ Thesaurus” by Marina Calderone. It is devised to help you break down text and find interesting ways of delivering lines with different emotions. It’s like the bible for actors!

One Comment Add yours

  1. Paula Amos says:

    Great insight into your career and how you got where you are today. X


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