Actors Needed!: The Untold Secrets of Video Game Casting

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Actors Needed!: The Untold Secrets of Video Game Casting

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Begins at 6:00 PM PDT | 9:00 PM EDT

6:00 PM PDT | 9:00 PM EDT

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COPRESENTED BY THE CASTING SOCIETY OF AMERICA AND THE SAG-AFTRA FOUNDATION

Why aren’t you auditioning for video games? Join us to hear about the exciting opportunities for actors in the video game industry, including answers to your most-asked questions about the casting process, audition tips, and experiences on set. This panel features casting directors Carla Hool and Millie Tom, performance director Tom Keegan, and experienced video game actors Karen David, Elizabeth Grullón, Christopher Mychael Watson, and Noshir Dalal. Moderated by casting director Lisa Zambetti.

A Q&A will follow the panel, and member participation is encouraged.

Panelist bios:

Millie Tom is Toronto-based Casting Director with wide-ranging experience in casting series, features for film and television, video games and audiobooks. She is the recipient of a 2017 Canadian Screen Award Winner for Best Achievement in Casting, which she shares with Deirdre Bowen for their work on the CBC series KIM’S CONVENIENCE.

As an independent Casting Director, Millie has worked with many of Canada’s finest directors, including: John L’Ecuyer, Jerry Ciccoritti, James Genn, Richie Mehta and Kate Melville. Her independent feature film credits include: PICTURE DAY, A SUNDAY KIND OF LOVE and most recently,  the feature film THE EDUCATION OF FREDRICK FITZELL. As a Casting Associate/Assistant with RDC Casting she helped with casting on THE LOOKOUT, THE INCREDIBLE HULK (2008), SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD, and MAMA. 

Her most recent credits include Ubisoft’s video game FAR CRY 5, Nickelodeon’s BLUE’S CLUES & YOU (seasons 2 & 3) and audiobook casting for Penguin Random House Canada.

She recently joined the Seneca College Faculty of Creative Arts and Animation teaching Auditioning for Camera.

Carla Hool  is an award-winning Casting Director. Born in Mexico City, she has been working in the entertainment industry for over 17 years. From a family in the arts and entertainment industry tree that branches wide, Carla is the granddaughter of legendary Mexican actress and dancer from the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema, Constanza Hool. Being a 4th generation industry insider came with no special favors, as she had to fight even harder to establish herself in the complicated and diverse Latino world.

Hool grew up in movie sets from the age of four and was often invited to act. However, she didn’t consider it her calling. It wasn’t until her father, producer Conrad Hool, gave her the opportunity to supervise the casting in a movie that it became her lifelong passion. In 2002, there were only two casting offices in Mexico City. When she opened her own, she was credited for ending the “pay per play” situation in the capital and for raising the bar for actors and performers, quickly becoming the most renowned and sought-after casting director in Mexico.

Her first international credit was in 2004 with the film MAN ON FIRE, co-produced by her father Conrad Hool and executive produced by her uncle Lance Hool. Two years later, in 2006, Carla got her first individual credit in an American film as a Casting Director with the motion picture APOCALYPTO, directed by Mel Gibson.

After a few years U.S. production companies stopped filming in Mexico, and casting opportunities for big Hollywood projects started to decline. In 2007, Carla moved to Los Angeles, a place familiar to her as she had lived in between Mexico and Los Angeles throughout her childhood. However, she had to start from scratch, eager to continue to work in general market films, and she soon found out that Hollywood’s typecasting was not only relegated to actors but also to Casting Directors from different countries. The perception was that someone from Mexico could only cast Latino roles. In reality, it is much easier for someone like Carla Hool to cast a studio film in the general market versus a Latino movie when you consider all the differences in accents, looks, dialects, nuances, and idiosyncrasies within the diverse Latino community. 

Carla is always striving to honor and respect the identity of the characters and the culture they represent. The professional discrimination and typecasting she experienced pushed her to her destiny: to fight for Latino talent and open doors so they get the opportunities they deserve. Her mission: to put the spotlight on Latinos so they are seen in a different light, not only for stereotypical roles but as high-quality talent that can play any role, just as she can cast any role across all ethnic groups. Always fighting for authenticity in casting and to open doors for Latinos in Hollywood, Hool took it upon herself to educate actors and performers on standard Hollywood employment practices.

As of today, Hool has worked in more than 100 films and television series. Other awards include: three nominations from the Casting Society of America Artios Award and one win for COCO. She was invited to join the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences in 2020. Carla enjoys reading, yoga, meditation, watching films and traveling. Her favorite charities involve sponsoring children from countries in need, and she is a very passionate advocate for animal rights.

Tom Keegan is one of the world’s top performance directors for video games. His work includes AAA franchises, including BATTLEFIELD, STAR WARS, WOLFENSTEIN, CALL OF DUTY, RESIDENT EVIL, NEED FOR SPEED, MIRROR’S EDGE, and the VR titles ARCHANGEL and WALKING DEAD: SAINTS AND SINNERS. He received a BAFTA nomination for his work on WOLFENSTEIN: THE NEW COLOSSUS and his products have won multiple BAFTAs, Game Awards, and the Golden Joystick.

Born in New York City, Tom holds a degree in Theatre from Adelphi University. He made many appearances in the downtown NYC experimental theatre and movement scene as an actor and director, creating and performing original material through personal stories, characters, flowers, fruit, spray paint and live electricity.

After moving to Los Angeles, Tom worked in animation development at Hanna-Barbera on shows such as POWERPUFF GIRLS, JONNY BRAVO and COW AND CHICKEN. In 1998 he began working on CD-ROMs such as BLASTER, JUMPSTART, and the ever popular BARBIE, before moving on to the action genre in classic games such as CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK and THE DARKNESS. Tom has worked on over 50 game titles.

Karen David began her career on London’s West End, in the original cast of MAMMA MIA! upon her drama school graduation stint at the Globe and as Rosaline in LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOSTShe went on to star in new dramatist plays at Stratford Royal East and the Hammersmith Lyric Theatre, and in the U.S worked with director Kimberly Senior and Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatist Ayad Akhtar on his play THE WHO AND THE WHAT for La Jolla Playhouse. Shortly after graduating drama college, in between acting on stage, she signed a recording deal with music giant BMG and a publishing deal with Hit & Run/EMI music. She went on to achieve top 4 airplay hits in Europe from her album, and has collaborated and worked with Oscar-winning composer AR Rahman (SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE). On tv and film, she is currently a series regular as Grace on AMC's FEAR THE WALKING DEAD and has been a series regular as Isabella on ABC’s GALAVANT

Karen is currently recurring on HBO's BARRY and CW's LEGACIES and has been a recurring guest star on many TV shows, including ABC's THE ROOKIEthe award winning, reunion series of ITV’s COLD FEETABC’s ONCE UPON A TIME as Jasmine, and CBS's CRIMINAL MINDS. 

In the animation world, Karen has been busy lending her voice and musical talents in heavily recurring roles on Disney's hit show, MIRA, ROYAL DETECTIVE and video games such as MIRROR'S EDGE: CATALYST, DEAD RISING 4, and CALL OF DUTY: MODERN WARFARE She can also be seen guest starring on HBO Max’s animated series THE PRINCE, created by Gary Janetti, Netflix’s upcoming series CAPTAIN FALL, and AMC’s upcoming series PANTHEON.

Recently, Karen co-produced and acted in her first short film , "In Hollywoodland," which was selected for competition screenings in Geena Davis' Bentonville Film Festival, American Black Film Festival, Social Injustice Film Festival, Catalina Film Festival and Hollyshorts and is continuing on the film festival circuit this year. Her other films include film festival and audience cinema award favorite THE TIGER HUNTER, opposite Danny Pudi, Netflix's AMAR, AKBAR & TONY, BOLLYWOOD QUEEN with James McAvoy, BATMAN BEGINSTHE SCORPION KING: RISE OF A WARRIOR, COUPLES RETREAT, RED LIGHTS and JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT.

Christopher Mychael Watson was born and raised in Atlanta, GA. After graduating from Florida State University with a B.F.A. in Performance Acting, he returned home and was involved in many Southeast regional theatre productions including MASTER HAROLD AND THE BOYS (Aurora Theatre),  MACBETH (Georgia Shakespeare Festival) and WHAT I LEARNED IN PARIS (Alliance Theatre). Since moving to Los Angeles he has gained notable roles in both film and television. TV credits include: SCORPION (CBS), KEVIN HART’S GUIDE TO BLACK HISTORY (NETFLIX), HOME BY SPRING (HALLMARK), HENRY DANGER (NICKELODEON), JANE THE VIRGIN (CW), and SEAL TEAM (CBS). Film credits include THE MAN FROM OUTER SPACE, SHAZAM, CALIBER, and NIGHT INTO DAY. He’s Marvin Branagh in the RESIDENT EVIL 2 and 3 remakes for CapCom, Gabe Walker in Skydance Interactive's first video game ARCHANGEL and Horace in THE WALKING DEAD: SAINTS AND SINNERS. Christopher is represented by Julia Verdin at Rough Diamond Management, Myreon Arslan at MJB Talent, and BBR Talent for Commercial/Print.

Elizabeth Grullón is an actress, voice over artist and filmmaker with a growing list of projects under her belt. Born in Queens, NY to Dominican parents, Elizabeth is perhaps best known for her role as The Second Sister in the hit game STAR WARS JEDI: FALLEN ORDER. With this title Elizabeth checks two major items off her bucket list: joining the Star Wars canon and having her very own action figure. Other voice over credits include recurring on Disney’s OWL HOUSE, being the official voice of MD Anderson and Beyonce’s Formation World Tour as well as a handful of games that have not yet been announced. TV credits include LUCIFER, PARTY OF FIVE, GREY'S ANATOMY, SCANDAL and CRIMINAL MINDS, among others. Currently, Elizabeth is preparing for the upcoming release of "Upeksha" a short film which she wrote, created and stars in, as well as "Ash," a dramatic short which Elizabeth directed. When she’s not working she values time spent in meditation, in nature and traveling to be with family. 

Noshir Dalal unwrapped a Nintendo NES on Christmas and was immediately doomed to a life as a gamer. When he was given the opportunity to do performance capture for Sony Playstation in 2013, he jumped at the chance and has never looked back. Noshir is best known for his full performance capture work as Charles Smith in RED DEAD REDEMPTION 2, in addition to THE LAST OF US 2, CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS 3, MARVEL'S SPIDER-MAN and SPIDER-MAN: MILES MORALES, STAR WARS: SQUADRONS, DAYS GONE, GEARS TACTICS, WESTWORLD AWAKENING, and several titles he can’t discuss just yet. He’s also done performance capture for numerous animated projects and game trailers, including the LOVE DEATH + ROBOTS anthologies.

Performance capture is essentially high-tech blackbox theater, and Noshir credits his early training in the theaters of New York for much of his success in the volume. He has performed at the Classical Theatre of Harlem, LaMaMa ETC, the Vampire Cowboys, Lincoln Center, and on tour for Mary Zimmerman’s Arabian Nights. His on-camera work includes recurring on GENERAL HOSPITAL and GOOD TROUBLE, along with roles on THE ORVILLE, S.W.A.T., PAIR OF KINGS, and others. Noshir recently has been venturing into voiceover in both animation and video games, including STAR WARS: THE BAD BATCH, NO MORE HEROES 3, GHOST OF TSUSHIMA, IT’S PONY, and LEAGUE OF LEGENDS, to name a few. While Noshir loves acting in any medium he can, performance capture will always be a favorite.

Lisa Zambetti is a casting director for television (CRIMINAL MINDS, RESERVATION DOGS), film and video games (BATTLEFIELD, WOLFENSTEIN, STAR WARS: JEDI FALLEN ORDER). Before turning to casting, Lisa was an actor in New York City where she appeared on Broadway, Off Broadway and so Off Off Broadway they call it Montauk. Lisa trained in movement with the SITI Company in Suzuki Method and Viewpoints, the Laban Technique at the Laban Institute for Human Movement in London, Yat Malmgren Technique, Rasa Technique, Grotowski, Meyerhold, Contact Improv and many other movement theories. Lisa has a podcast called Killer Casting that celebrates excellence in acting, directing, writing and design. www.killercastingpod.com

Clockwise from top: Tom Keegan, Millie Tom, Karen David, Lisa Zambetti, Christopher Mychael Watson, Carla Hool, Noshir Dalal and Elizabeth Grullón