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'House of Cards' casting director hosts workshop

November 10, 2014

It takes confidence, persistence and a lot of headshots to get cast in films and television shows, a longtime casting director told Stephens theatre students this weekend.

Kimberly Skyrme should know. Her portfolio includes work on Unsolved Mysteries, The Pelican Brief, Hearts in Atlantis and most recently, the Netflix original series House of Cards.

Skyrme conducted a casting workshop with students on Sunday, part of the new INTERSECTIONS initiative in the School of Performing Arts. Dean Gail Humphries Mardirosian created the initiative as a way to intersect the arts and bring new perspectives to campus.

Mardirosian brought Skyme to campus as part of the Citizen Jane Film Festival. The two met when Skyme was a student at American University, where Mardirosian was on faculty.

The workshop allowed future actors to get inside tips on how best to audition for roles. Skyme—who owns Kimberly Skyrme Casting—said confidence is key.

“Leave your nerves at the door and just showcase your talent,” she said.

She also stressed the importance of headshots. She suggested having one’s photo on everything—on the back of a resume, on business cards and in emails—to make sure casting directors remember you.

The most important tip, she said, should have been familiar to Stephens’ students—it’s one faculty members stress, as well. Always be nice to assistants, Skyrme said, noting that they’re often the people who will decide whether you get your foot in the door.

The hour-long workshop was held in a format similar to “Inside the Actors Studio” with senior Elyse Bertani moderating. Students also had a chance to ask questions at the end.

In addition to her casting company, Skyrme is involved in a number of professional organizations. She is currently chair of the board for Women in Film and Television International, a member of Women in Film and Video and is a founding member of Television, Internet and Video Association and the Peer Awards.

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