Christian Casting – With Founder Laura Mae

My friend Jenn Gotzon introduced me to Laura Mae when we were casting for Summer of ’67. We’d already cast all our speaking roles, but Laura Mae brought us quality actors from AMTC to fill some of our featured extra roles. She immediately impressed me with her professionalism and efficiency and that each of her actors came to us prepared and ready to shoot. Now I’m excited to find out that she’s started her own casting agency. I know the filmmakers and actors who work with her will have a great experience.

What was the inspiration for Christian Casting?
Christian Casting was born from a deep heart’s desire to see the gifts of Christian entertainers be given a community where project makers, talent and crew alike, all across the nation (and eventually around the world) could easily find, inspire, encourage, and better one another.

What distinguishes Christian Casting from other casting agencies?
We are able to work on both sides of the production, providing support to the film-making team throughout the entire process, wherever it is needed most. On the talent side, it is the same idea of consistent support. If you have spent any time on this journey, you know that it can be overwhelming to do it alone. Often talent find themselves discouraged in between jobs, struggling to understand their purpose in the downtime, wrestling with the commitment to their day jobs, begging God to know why He has given this dream and not allowed it to be fulfilled yet… For those, we offer community. Encouragement. Like-minded people on every side who truly understand that journey and can inspire them to new heights in their moments of stillness as well as the opportunity to advance their training. For them, and for the performer who has the dream to begin but perhaps has never been given the opportunity (or known where to even start), we will offer training articles, educational resources and live coaching from industry professionals that can help you continue to skill up in your talent, ensuring that when the time comes for you to submit for your first project (or fourth or twelfth), you are able to do so in excellence… and to stay encouraged as you continue to train and wait for your open door.

Creatives are such a beautiful, often vulnerable, people. A quick look at Hollywood confirms that. This is why it is vital to provide so much more than “opportunity” to them.

For seasoned professionals who may not need the community or training in the same way our other talent do, we offer the opportunity to apply as a coach and/or webinar speaker, firmly believing that God has given us each our gifts for the edification of one another, and teaching what you have learned along the way to those who are just beginning is a very special way to invest your talent and encourage your own heart in your downtime. We truly believe it is what God would have us to do for one another.

What do you think is the greatest challenge facing Christian actors?
Opportunity is perhaps the quickest answer we would be tempted to give, but I think preparation and perseverance truly are the biggest obstacles. The idea of a “big break” is so often instilled in dreamers’ minds that we forget to remember that this industry is not that different from any other industry one could pursue. We would never expect a desire and a wide open door to be enough to get us onto the field of the NFL, behind the desk of a CEO, into the operating room of a surgeon, etc, and yet so many Christian performers believe that their calling plus a desire is all it will take. Almost 100% of the time, that is not the case.

Well, what then?? That’s where most aspiring actors (or any talent) get stuck. They don’t know how to bridge that gap. They haven’t been given the tools and knowledge they need to make a strategic and purposeful entrance into the industry and have no idea what that might even look like. We hope to be a part of changing that, giving anyone with a dream to serve God through their industry talents a roadmap AND a support system as they pursue that calling.

Tell us about your educational resources for actors.
As mentioned above, we are working hard right now on collecting resources, gathering and composing educational materials and selecting our coaches, mentors that will help walk performers through the process, providing God-focused industry advice and training.

What advice do you have to offer beginning actors?
View this industry as you would any other and begin NOW to prepare in excellence. A calling from God most times will not be the easy way out- it means a deeper level of commitment, a more intense perseverance and a higher mindset that accepts nothing less than your absolute best. You are serving The King of Kings. Do it with all your might! (Ecc 9:10)

How to start? Begin educating yourself. Read books that will help you develop your craft. Study those who have excelled before you. Look for opportunities to begin using your talent in a public setting. Get out there and be willing to take small steps- they add up! I think where most fail is because they never get the chance at the big leap to success they always dreamed of. Be an extra! (Incredible experience) Look up local film schools and audition for their short films. I could go on and on. (This is a vital part of the education we plan to include.)

How can filmmakers benefit from your services?
We can send out breakdowns to our talent database and have the ability to provide casting services if your projects is lacking a CD. We also provide production assistance when requested, coming to the set of your film and supporting the cast, crew and project as a whole.  Need a 1st AD? Haven’t found a HMUA? Need help finding your crew? Those are just a few of the ways we love to serve Christian filmmakers, seeking to connect the Christian entertainment community as effectively as possible.

What is your ultimate vision for Christian Casting?
Our mission is simple: to UNITE, IGNITE and ADVANCE the Kingdom of God through the gifts and talents He has given…and to keep the fire burning in the hearts of Christians who are called to the field of entertainment.

Anything else?
CC is here for HIS purpose, for His glory, and to truly be the salt and light this world needs. The desire and even demand for faith and inspirational films has never been greater. The stage has been set. When we all come together, we are unstoppable.

CC is excited to be working right now with Jim Chandler (My Daddy’s in Heaven, The Colors of Emily, Stranger Things) and Jenn Gotzon (Frost Nixon, God’s Country, Doonby, The Good Book, etc) on their new feature film project, The Farmer and the Belle, promoting a message of #TrueBeauty and knowing our immeasurable value in God’s eyes to girls of all ages.

Social Corner:

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Author: Sharon Wilharm

Sharon Wilharm is a female filmmaker, blogger, and speaker with over a decade of industry experience. She and her husband, Fred, just released SUMMER OF '67, their seventh feature film. Their movies have screened in theaters, festivals, and churches around the globe as well as multiple television networks. They've accumulated dozens of festival accolades including many Best of Fest awards and 4 ICVM Crown Awards. Sharon is passionate about visual storytelling, branding, and marketing and would love to speak at your upcoming event.

2 thoughts

  1. Great article, inspiring, clear and refreshing to me as a Christian new to the industry. Thank you 😊, Haley Eyre, UK, Twitter @HaleyWritesEyre

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