Casting Networks® caught up with Faith Hibbs-Clark and Bella Hibbs, casting directors at Good Faith Casting. Faith and Bella talk about memorable audition moments, give advice for aspiring casting directors and share the mantras they live by.
1. What inspired you to work in the entertainment industry, and what steps did you take to get started in your profession?
BELLA: I got into the industry thinking it would be temporary. I was in between jobs while in college and asked my mom if I could work at her office for a few weeks. Well, she said yes and that was 10 years ago! I fell in love with getting to meet new people, read new scripts and see stories come to life. I’m truly lucky to get to do what I do each day!
FAITH: I love that I am in an industry that utilizes the power of story. I believe that stories move us forward. My career before casting was as a communication expert. I read people’s body language for a living. I didn’t really take steps to get into casting. It was something that just kind of snuck in when I was taking a break from coaching politicians, but I was immediately intrigued by it.
2. What is a memorable audition moment for you?
BELLA: I can’t narrow this down, but in general I really love seeing actors level up over the years. I am so proud of them for putting in the work, and seeing that pay off is personally rewarding.
FAITH: I was auditioning a husband and wife for a husband and wife role. It was a callback and the director was in the studio with me. The two actors told the audition story in a way that was so believable. When they were done, I turned to look at the director for feedback or redirect because he was uncharacteristically quiet. To my amazement, he was weeping. This couple was able to connect in a way that all actors should strive to do, they made the director feel something. They moved him to tears. It was a wonderful moment because we all seemed to intuitively realize this was the kind of experience that defines what we all are trying to do with our art… CONNECT.
3. What was a pivotal moment for you and your industry during the pandemic, and how has your role and/or your day-to-day routine changed in the past year?
BELLA: A pivotal moment was when things truly all came to a halt due to COVID-19. For the first time ever, my email wasn’t blowing up all day long. It was scary at first, then oddly nice. The pandemic reminded me of the importance of work-life balance. The new virtual settings allowed us to continue working and providing our services to a wider audience since we weren’t limited by our physical location.
FAITH: A pivotal moment for me was when I realized that this experience of being shut down and locked up was strangely liberating at the same time. I realized quickly that it was time to evolve in the industry. We needed to all change the dynamic and rethink our systems. Going virtual was a wonderful experience. It opened up a whole new world. It pushed us all out of our comfort zones for a little while, but the challenge was liberating. I believe virtual auditions (at least for the preliminary auditions) and smaller roles are the future. Perhaps we would have gotten to that point in time, but the pandemic forced us all to evolve faster.
4. What would you say to those aspiring to work in your position?
BELLA: Network! Start reaching out to casting directors or their office staff to see if you can be a reader or assistant. Also, work on your communication skills since communication skills are key to being a successful casting director.
FAITH: Understand the role that casting plays in the corporation that we call the movie industry. A good casting director knows what they need to do and what they don’t need to do. I think you have to be kind and generous but also tough. As casting director, we can be the subject of negative energy from multiple directions. You can’t let that change who you are and what you are trying to accomplish in your part of the art of the storytelling process. I also think it is important to allow yourself to sometimes turn down jobs. Do only what brings you joy and moves your life forward.
5. If you could cast yourself in any role of all time, what would it be?
BELLA: I LOVE the CW Network so any supernatural vampire or witch type of show would be my jam!
FAITH: I agree with Bella so I would cast myself as the vampire or witch’s mother. LOL And, of course, I would need some kind of super cool superpower.
6. What are your favorite activities or hobbies to do outside of work?
BELLA: Outside of casting I have a fitness and fashion blog that is my creative outlet. My blog features things about my life as a casting director, fashion trends and fitness tips.
FAITH: Outside of casting, I also teach. I created my own method called the Communication Method for Actors which is a science-based acting method, based in part on my former career as a communication expert. On a more personal level, I love to travel and meet new people. I am British and try to travel back to Europe at least once per year. I am also passionate about helping animals.
7. What is an accomplishment you hope to achieve in the next five years?
BELLA: My goal is to continue casting more TV shows! I love the character development you get in television and the excitement of working on a project for multiple seasons!
FAITH: I would also like to cast more television shows. I would also like to find creative ways to help mentor and train aspiring casting directors who might lack support and direction.
8. Who is an industry professional you admire/look up to and why?
BELLA: My mom is truly a trailblazer in this industry and I really admire her work ethic plus she is always thinking about how we can be more innovative. Work smarter not harder!
FAITH: Well this might sound cheesy given Bella’s answer, but I admire her as much as she admires me. She is young and detail-oriented but she teaches me every day. She is constantly reminding me of important lessons like “Everything you want is on the other side of consistency,” and “Overwhelmed is just the abundance you have been asking the universe for.” I love her positive and uplifting quotes.
9. Do you have a quote or mantra that you live by?
BELLA: “Everything you want is on the other side of consistency”. So go out there and put in the work!
FAITH: “The Devil is in the detail.” Every detail matters. The detail will set you apart.
10. What are you looking forward to in the industry in 2021 and beyond?
BELLA: For 2021 I am looking forward to continuing virtual auditions which allow us to see more people in a casting session and widen the talent pool to allow more choices for the client. I’m excited to see how our industry continues to adapt throughout 2021 and beyond.
FAITH: For 2021 I look forward to getting clients around the globe and finding new ways to do our job even better.