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Photo courtesy of Koren Rolle.

Koren Rolle Talks Booking ‘The Hustler,’ a KIA Commercial and ‘Straight Outta Compton’ Through Casting Networks

Koren Rolle is a musician, actor and software engineer. When he’s not laying down tracks at the studio, he’s honing his performing chops and booking roles on Casting Networks—ranging from summer blockbuster movies and hit game shows, to car commercials starring NBA players.

Rolle radiates positivity, bringing it to his auditions and wherever the road takes him. He took time out from his busy schedule to share his Casting Networks successes and insights, including headshot and audition tips any actor can add to their toolkit.

How did you get started as an actor?

One of my friends told me about Casting Networks and I said, “I need a couple of extra bucks. Let me go ahead and try it out.”

Within the first two weeks of being on Casting Networks, I booked a gig that was paying me well over the amount I paid for the subscription. This is a good investment [for me] because I made a profit straight out of the gate.

Then I got booked to be an extra on Straight Outta Compton.

That was my first taste of acting. I got on-set and saw how they treated you backstage and I said, “You know what? I think I could do this long-term. Let me dive in and actually do this thing and put my best foot forward.”

How did you book Straight Outta Compton?

It was through somebody else that I booked on Casting Networks. I was working as an extra on Rosewood. Because of that, the PA [from Rosewood] reached out to me and asked me if I wanted to work on Straight Outta Compton. Because I met them through Casting Networks, they remembered me and put me on their roster of people to call back.

Photographer taking a picture of a man and child on a swing in the park. Photo courtesy of Koren Rolle.

In your response to our questionnaire, you mentioned landing multiple major TV/commercial roles via Casting Networks. What were some of those projects?

I have quite a bit of them. I worked on a KIA commercial with [Denver Nuggets point guard] Reggie Jackson. I don’t know if you ever heard of this game show called The Hustler on Hulu, but I got that through Casting Networks as well.

[The Hustler] was amazing. It was just a good vibe. I love friendly competition. For me to be able to go back and forth with somebody and try to figure out who the hustler is was fun. I didn’t win because I talked too much. I was letting them know, “I know it’s you.” And they were like, “We’ve got to get this guy up out of here.”

Can you walk me through the submission and audition process for the KIA commercial?

I started off really diving in with the Casting Networks app. It made it very easy once you came out with that app because everything is right in front of you. You can apply for the gigs and upload your video and pictures. That helped me a lot.

By just scrolling through the casting calls I was able to find the KIA one with Reggie Jackson and I just read through what they asked for and applied.

Once I sent it over, you had that little box at the bottom where I could add a note. I always want to get the top questions out of the way, so I always start off my submissions with, “Please note, my headshot is current” and I always tell them that I have on-set etiquette. That’s a big thing when you’re going on-set because you get a lot of extras that are just doing whatever and the production crew has to keep talking to them.

I don’t leave it up to chance for them to wonder if I’m that type of person, so I let them know straight out the gate, “Hey, I have on-set etiquette. I know where I’m supposed to be and I don’t overstep my boundaries.” Now that’s something that they don’t have to worry about.

Once I sent that along with my submission, the casting director called me back and said he liked what I put [down]. They went ahead and decided to bring me in with a couple of other guys to get that project done.

That’s awesome. What was the audition process for The Hustler?

It was the same vibe and identical process. I submitted a self tape because they wanted to hear and see your overall dynamic and personality because it’s a game show. They want to make sure that you’re lively and not a stick in the mud.

They reached out and had me do a preliminary round just to see how I answered a couple of questions. On the call I was with three or four other people, and played a quick round of the game [so they could] see how I answered questions [and] how I would act in those situations. They loved the results, so they went ahead and brought me on.

What about Casting Networks keeps you coming back, and what features do you find to be the most helpful?

Once I started using Casting Networks and I realized how seamless it was, I said, “This is a platform that I want to be with long-term.” You know how the old saying goes, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”

Casting Networks always continues to deliver, and that’s all I ask for. I enjoy the platform. I’ve learned it. I’ve put it into my routine. Every morning I’m on Casting Networks checking through to see if there’s any new listings before I start my day. I don’t really want to change that.

I like how you guys built it out, and that application was a plus. I’m a software engineer, so when I look at this stuff, I’m like, “They put exactly what I would like to see as a user. This is perfect.” I think that’s what keeps me coming back—how seamless it is.

What would you say helps someone succeed on Casting Networks?

Consistency. You have to be willing to put in the time—and it’s not even a lot of time, to be honest. Just put in 15, 20 minutes a day, 30 minutes a day, and you’ll be surprised at how many people will reach out to you just because you fit the bill. But you will never know if you don’t reach out and apply.

Keeping your profile pictures consistent with your current look is a big one. Every once in a while, even if I have the same look, I look at my profile picture and if it’s been around two weeks, I’ll go ahead and take it down and either upload it again or I’ll just upload a new one just to keep it fresh because I want them to know this is my current look.

What audition tips or advice do you have that you could share with your peers, whether it’s how to be the best at an audition, how to get better at self tapes or what not to do in a self tape?

The number-one tip that I could give any person is have fun with it. And when I say “have fun,” I mean, really embody the excitement that you’re going to have doing this audition tape because if you don’t, then it won’t show in your work.

If you really didn’t feel like doing it, then you’re going to look like you didn’t feel like doing it. Even if you have to listen to your favorite song or hype yourself up, you have to make sure you go in there like, “This is going to be the best tape that I ever did.” It will show [in] your work—even if you didn’t want to do it. And [if you get the role], now you’re excited [for real] because you booked the gig when you really didn’t want to [audition in the first place].

Did you know that Casting Networks Premium memberships now include access to health and well-being benefits and discounts? Click here to learn more about Thrive!

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Chris Butera is a voice actor specializing in commercial, eLearning and corporate narration voiceovers. When he’s not helping clients achieve their goals, he’s playing guitar and bass.

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