Voyage LA tells it like it is. They really give space to the small business owners, philanthropists and all the myriad of active voices in our great city. The big fun of working with them on this article was looking at the journey and what's next - how we all as creatives meet the challenges and do what we love by bringing each other forward.
Hi Caroline, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today? I’ve been a casting director for 25 years. The journey has had its own pace and pauses and has continued to move me exactly in the direction I am supposed to be going, which is producing, writing, teaching, and coaching. It’s an exciting evolution to realize I’ve been a coach and a teacher and a leader my entire life. I’ve enjoyed leadership as a musician, which took me around the world performing for royalty and dignitaries, as well as connected me with lifelong friends globally. I took those leadership skills and led programs designed with critical interest in examining our world and its challenging social issues. I’ve supported a global organization with education, training, and programs to lift up not only our in-house community but to be a visible and vibrant leader in the industry we love. Everything should be on the table – the professional you, the personal you, the side hustle you, the hobbies you – all have a voice and contribute to the conversation. It took a long time to learn not to forsake any part of myself; that there will always be naysayers. Your voice matters.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way? Growing up as a first-generation Asian American from a medical family, stability was prioritized when choosing a career path – law, business, or medicine. It was understood that it would need to be a vocation with a clear trajectory, something that would allow me to support my family in the long term not only financially, but as a caregiver. A creative career generally has no set singular path or guarantee for success. At its best, acting is thrilling, fulfilling and creates a connection with our society, uplifts our communities, and mirrors what it means to be a human being. It can also be nomadic and lonely and ephemeral. It challenges your heart, your soul, your mind and through that the artist becomes an instrument for change. This is what called me to a creative life and made it impossible to choose another path. My challenge at the time was that performers who looked like me were few and far between. It didn’t stop me, rather, it opened me to casting, where I could create and support a larger vision while shining a light on underrepresented voices. I met the obstacle by creating my own path and honoring all the parts of my voice. Because I am an actor, casting director, coach, musician, producer, teacher, writer, and much more, as we all are. It’s vital to bring all of who we are as artists and who we are as people into every story we tell.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on? Look for an announcement shortly for an upcoming project I’m excited to share. Creating courses for artists on the business side of their craft has always been in the forefront of my educational work with creatives. While we’ve held classes online for studios, colleges, universities and private clients, I’m excited to share these courses will be available for anyone who wishes to learn at their own pace. Reach out for more info.
We all have a different way of looking at and defining success. How do you define success? It’s my great joy to be a producer, casting director & coach. The work of an independent casting director is similar to an actor’s process. Much like actors, we have an audition process. We meet on projects (film, television, theatre), share our vision for the project and how we would support the production and our approach for bringing together the perfect voices for the ensemble that is being created. The conversation is both professional and personal. We also experience what it’s like to see the film or show or play we so passionately prepared for, go to another colleague. (That’s a double-scoop ice cream day!) We spend our careers as connectors, collaborators, sleuths, cheerleaders, confidants and unsung sheroes in a highly creative process. Because the work with actors is subjective and personal, I’ve always thought it important to demystify the audition/casting process for them. I help creatives all over the world with big dreams stop battling themselves and lean into all that their great training has prepared them for – their craft, their bookings and living a fierce full artistic life. And this is how I define my success – doing the work I love, collaborating with creatives in front of and behind the camera, elevating the knowledge and visibility within our industry, celebrating my colleague’s hard work and successes, knowing that we all have a hand in bringing each other forward.
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