Learn about Casting and Auditioning from Kalles Levine, CSA!

We love talking to industry leaders in the Pacific Northwest, and today we are very happy to share an interview with Patti Kalles and Laurie Levine of Kalles-Levine Casting, CSA. Enjoy!

A bit about Patti Kalles:
I have been in acting all my life. I have a degree in Theatre/Teaching from WSU. I taught in the Public School System for 12 years while also working as an actress in Seattle. I was with the Lola Hollowell Agency, who was the first (established in 1963) and main agent at that time. With the help of Mike Fenton and Mark Malis (Hollywood CDs), I decided to start a casting company in 1983, joining the CSA (Casting Society of America) in 1987. Acting and teaching have always been my 2 passions. What better way to combine the 2 by becoming a Casting Director. I love my work!

A bit about Laurie Levine:
Laurie has a Master’s Degree in Theatre/Education . She has taught in the Public Schools for 36 years while also working in my office since 1990. She has won many awards as a theatre director. She received 5th Avenue Theatre’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and is in the Hall of Fame with Washington State Thespians. She is an important part of Kalles Levine Casting.

Do you cast for film, TV, commercial, corporate?

Yes, I cast for whatever the client needs:  Commercials, Film, TV, Corporate (we used to cast Live Music Concerts and Voice Over but things have changed in the PNW Area).

How has the pandemic changed your work?

The biggest change is that the talent is not coming into the studio to audition.  Every audition has been self-tapes, and the callbacks have been through Zoom. Actors need to remember what they have learned in their training, and how-to self-tape. We can’t help correct your audition now. What we miss is not working and helping the actors at the in-person audition to bring out the best in their performance.

Do you think a “return to normal” will mean back to work as usual for your casting office? Or has the pandemic changed the casting process entirely?

I think there will be a little of both.  Auditions could still be done with self-tapes and callbacks could be in person. The Pandemic will dictate when this will happen. 

Any advice for actors new to the business?

Be patient. Take classes. Get an agent.  Know the business so you do not accidently represent yourself in the wrong way.  Know the vocabulary of this business, so you do not say the wrong thing and make a bad first impression. Know the difference between Stage Energy and Film Energy. You can’t be great without putting in the time. You can’t just think you are wonderful.

Any advice for parents of younger actors?

Make sure the kid wants to do this, and don’t live through them. Support their interest. Remember acting is a learned skill that is transferable later in life. Every child learns at their own pace. Praise your child for the progress they have made. 

Two or three tips for actors that will help them have a great audition in your casting office:

1) Come to the audition prepared (Practice, practice, practice!).

2) Always bring a headshot and resume to the audition even if you think we have it.  

3) Do your best to memorize the lines because it makes for a stronger audition.

4) Read over Casting Networks (online casting website) notes to make sure you have followed all the instructions.

5) Arrive 10-15 minutes before your audition time (Don’t be late. If running late we prefer you call our office).

6) Don’t crash an audition. You need to have an audition time (David can’t believe people do this…SMH).

7) Try not to have extra people come with you at the audition (Have them wait in the car).

8) Be polite and respectful of other actors in the waiting room.

Two or three tips for actors sending you self-tapes:

1) Follow the directions on casting networks like how to slate. 

2) Know your frame and don’t step out of it. Also, very little space above your head. 

3) Look at the camera, not to the side or back.  

4) Listen to the dialogue and react to the dialogue.  Don’t rush through the audition.

Two or three tips for actors auditioning with you virtually:

  1. Know your frame.

2) Have good lighting and a neutral background.  

3) If you have conflicts with a callback or shoot, slate those at the beginning. 

4) If you have a beard or long hair slate if willing to shave or cut hair or tint hair.

Can actors audition for you if they are not represented by a talent agent? And, once actors are on your radar, how can they keep in touch with you?

1) Yes, non-represented talent can audition for us. However, in this fast-paced commercial busines agents are easier to quickly schedule talent. We are theatre people. Laurie especially goes to see plays and musicals. We see as many shows as our schedules will allow.  

2) Send a “Thank You” note with your picture after an audition.  Let us know if you are in a show (Out of side, out of mind. It is your job to remind your agent and us).

Closing Thoughts

Mighty Tripod Acting Studio would like to thank Kalles Levine Casting, CSA, for spending some time with us, and for sharing their wisdom and expertise with our community. To learn more about their work as Seattle CDs, please check out their website.

Break a leg at your next audition!
~ David & Angela

***Want to get better at auditioning for casting directors and create better self-tapes? Click here and take a class at Mighty Tripod Acting Studio.


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