Today we turn the spotlight on Casting Director Molly Knight of Knight Sky Casting. The powerhouse team of Molly Knight and Carly Granovsky represents over 10 years of experience casting TV and Film, Print and Commercial in both Canada and the USA.
1. WHAT WAS YOUR JOURNEY TO BECOMING A CASTING DIRECTOR?
My journey in casting began on the opposite side of the camera, modelling and acting
while studying film at U of T.
I remember going into an audition for a music video and arriving at a corporate building,
being led into a small conference room filled with an all-male production team. As the
door closed, I was asked to strip to my bikini (in front of everyone) and a camera was
turned on. I was then directed to “dance” — to complete silence.
I vowed then and there never to subject myself or anyone else to that kind of pressure
2. WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT CASTING?
I love watching and working with incredible talent. I am regularly surprised and in awe of
the talent we see. Nurturing talent plays a big role in my casting process.
My goal is for talent to perform at their best during auditions. Whether that means doing
another take, chatting with talent to make sure they feel comfortable, giving helpful
direction (“helpful” being the key word). At the end of the day, I am on “Team Talent” and
it pays off every time.
3. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ASPIRING ACTORS?
Do your homework. Explore. Play with different deliveries and emotions to find your
most genuine performance. Self-tape often, watch your performance objectively, and
make any necessary changes.
4. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO STAGE MOMS AND DADS?
Casting children can be difficult if the motivation isn’t there. Parents should check in
regularly with their children. Before an audition ask them, “do you want to go to this
audition?” If the answer is “no”, stay home.
It is a difficult situation when children enter a casting room terrified or against their will.
Children are sensitive and pushing them into an uncomfortable situation can do more
damage than good.
5. WHAT IS THE BIGGEST MISTAKE THAT PERFORMERS MAKE WHEN AUDITIONING?
Not taking direction during an audition. This is a big one as it speaks to the talent’s
ability as well as their humility. The ability to take direction indicates much more than a
performer’s range. Will they be punctual? Will they be prepared? Can they work easily
with others? These are all important factors in establishing trust and confidence
between performers and producers.
6. IN YOUR OPINION, HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR TALENT TO HAVE A DEMO REEL?
Demo reels are quite important to showcase a performer’s range. A successful demo
reel includes a collection of comedic and dramatic, “characters”, accents, and varying
levels of intensity. If your demo reel is missing one of your strengths, self-tape a
monologue or scene and add it to the collection. I’m often inspired to request auditions
from performers for future projects based on their demo reel.
7. IF AN ACTOR HAS NEVER AUDITIONED FOR YOU, WHAT CAN THEY DO TO HAVE THE HONOUR OF THAT FIRST AUDITION WITH YOU? (E.G. A DEMO REEL? A SELF-TAPE? SPECIFIC TRAINING? SPECIFIC EXPERIENCE?)
Cross your t’s and dot your i’s. We are less likely to audition performers who don’t have
a proper headshot, resume, or demo reel. If you don’t have much experience on
camera, fill out your resume with your skills. The skill section should be continuously
updated and should even include the mundane. Can you ride a bicycle? Can you
juggle? Play an instrument? Include it. This saves us a lot of time and energy and will
help you in the long run.
8. IN OUR OPINION, HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR AN ACTOR TO BE ON THE ROSTER OF A TOP AGENCY?
This is definitely a coup and will help you get noticed, but in the current climate of mass
media production and limited funding, it is not necessary. There are a variety of ways an
actor can self-promote, search, and submit for casting calls. Casting directors are
relying on social media and websites like Casting Workbook, eBOSS, and Mandy, who
now offer talent subscriptions. Some of the greatest performances I have seen have
been from unrepresented non-union talent.
9. WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE CANADIAN ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY DO DIFFERENTLY IN ORDER TO GROW?
Every person and position involved in a production is equally valuable.
For awhile I have worried that casting directors are an app away from losing their
relevance. Unfortunately this is happening sooner than I expected. As websites like
Casting Workbook open themselves to production companies, casting is increasingly
done internally to cut costs, and the art of casting is becoming lost in a funnel system.
Working with a seasoned casting director early on can be invaluable in fleshing out
characters, script revisions, and providing a safe space for creative collaboration
between production, talent, and the director.
10. WE ALL HAVE MENTORS (THE PEOPLE WHO GIVE US THE HOPE, INSPIRATION, AND THE DRIVE TO KEEP GOING) … WHO ARE YOUR MENTORS AND WHY?
I was incredibly fortunate to begin my career with top Casting Director Rose Rosen
based in Florida (credits include Edward Scissorhands). She took me on as her first
assistant and included me in all aspects of her casting process. She inspired my
philosophy of casting and continues to be my mentor today.
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