The CSA Breakdown on Kim Miscia

Kim Miscia, a CSA member since 2003, has been busy this past year working on everything from Fox’s “Gotham” to USA’s “Mr. Robot.” She talks about figuring out guest stars, why sides are mandatory, and training versus experience.

CSA member since… 2003.

What do you do when you’re not working? I’m obsessed with travel and international relations.

How do you choose your projects? By whether or not I respond to the material.

Before actual auditions, how does the casting process begin? I discuss prototypes for the guest leads with the writer. Then my associate, assistant, and I brainstorm ideas for the roles. We release a breakdown simultaneously.

What is the most common audition room mistake you see? An actor telling me they don’t need their sides! Everyone needs to refer to their sides in front of producers; even the most experienced actors have been known to stumble when they don’t have pages in hand.

What do you want every actor walking into your room to know? We’re all rooting for you to make the role your own and win it!

What makes for a successful audition tape? Good (or natural) lighting, a close-up shot—from the sternum up—and two different takes per scene. Too many actors send us full body shots and we can’t see their faces when they read. And, after viewing self-tapes, producers usually ask something like, “They’re good but can we see them doing it more [fill in the blank]?” Hence, my suggestion that you always have two distinct takes on the material.

What projects do you wish you’d worked on?

I would have loved to cast Jim Gaffigan’s series. He’s a sweetheart and super talented. But his gifted casting director has done an amazing job—I’m addicted!

In addition to open calls, where do you find new talent? I love being introduced to talented actors I don’t yet know by seeing them in a play, whether it be a Broadway or Off-Broadway production.

What is the best way for actors to impress you enough that you’ll bring them in for another project? By being professional and prepared. It’s that simple! When you’re pleasant in the room, we look forward to auditioning you again (even if you weren’t suited to the role you originally read).

How important is training versus experience to you? Both are helpful but neither is a prerequisite.

What makes a casting session successful? When everyone—producer, director, and my casting team alike—comes away with a better sense of the characters, due in good part to the talents of the actors’ auditions. Bonus: We cast the roles!

What advice would you give to someone who is looking to go into casting as a career? Since most shows are cast on a freelance basis, ask yourself if you’re the kind of person who is comfortable with unpredictability. If you prefer stability, casting may not be the career for you. And watch everything you can to educate yourself about actors; avail yourself of as much of the excellent programming available out there as possible.

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