Behind the lens of casting director Lauren Mass
Melbourne-born casting director Lauren Mass gives her take on actors in auditions after spending years both in front and behind the camera.
During an acting audition, Lauren took her career in her own hands and asked the casting director if she could assist in the agency office. They took her under their wing and years later, Lauren is now one of the leading casting directors at that agency.
Lauren predominantly casts for television commercials but also does events, pilot series and web briefs. Lauren grew up idolising the theatre and the silver screen, soon turning her passion into a pursuit. Attending drama school at the National Theatre in St Kilda, she learned firsthand what it felt like to be an actor on the other side the camera.
Lauren believes that hard work, preparation and a positive attitude definitely are noticed in an audition. When Lauren gives a script to an actor, she strongly encourages them to annotate it to ensure the lines have both been mentally and physically absorbed. When she witnesses a talent who shows promise and the preparation in their work, they are more likely to do something out of the ordinary.
These are the people who do something completely unexpected it is so joyous and memorable at the end of the day,” smiled Mass.
Definitely taking risks is a good thing and when you have that permission from the casting director, then most of the time, they go to places they didn’t see for themselves.”
As a casting director, part of her role is to find new talent to hire for upcoming briefs. Lauren Mass is an avid believer in making yourself known and never waiting for the acting role to come to you. She says there are many ways with technology these days that you can be proactive in being seen by a casting director.
I would definitely suggest creating a web series or a YouTube channel. I am always invited to shows so it is important to me that I make an effort to attend and see who is out there. Everyone sends in showreels, which is another great tool to help promote yourself,” Mass explained.
Lauren in the casting room aims to be approachable and calm, offering the talent direction and clarity. On one particular hectic day, Lauren counted she had seen 104 people for the one brief. It is this kind of intensity that is part of the job of a casting director.
Part of Lauren’s success stems from her work with those who also have no performing arts background. It is real people who have authentic stories to tell who delight her just as much as professional actors.
When you see the final edit on television, it reminds why I do this.”