Staff Spotlight: Raiyon Hunter, Casting Director
Posted on January 17, 2024
We sat down with staff member, Raiyon Hunter, and asked her for auditioning advice and how she got into casting in the first place. Enjoy!
CTC: How did you get into casting?
RH: I embarked on my career journey at the Alliance Theatre, serving as their Spelman Leadership Fellow. In this role, I took on the responsibility of a casting associate. It was during this time that my passion for engaging with artists, the intricacies of auditioning, and advocating for actors truly blossomed. The experience not only shaped my professional path but also fueled my love for the collaborative and dynamic world of theater.
CTC: What is your favorite thing about your job?
RH: My favorite part about my job is witnessing the transformation of actors from the audition stage to the final performance. When an actor walks into an audition, they bring with them a preconceived notion of who the character is and how they should portray them. However, once they secure the role and start the rehearsal process, a collaborative journey begins. The entire team, including the director, contributes to building and shaping the character. Layer by layer, they add depth, backstories, and nuance, elevating the stakes in the final performance. Observing this metamorphosis is truly a beautiful experience.
CTC: How could a person prepare for a career in casting?
RH: I believe that there isn’t a specific, pinpointed preparation method. Whether you’re an actor or not, my initial suggestion is to immerse yourself in auditions. It’s challenging to formulate a process without having experienced it from the other side. Additionally, consider roles like working in check-in, a fantastic way to connect with artists. Being a reader provides the opportunity to be in the room with the director and casting director as they discuss talent, and sitting in on rehearsals for shows offers valuable insights into what directors are looking for in the room.
CTC: Do you have any advice for actors on how to stand out in an audition?
RH: Always go for it. Never think “maybe this is too much” Most directors say it’s easier to tell an actor to pull back than to have to pull something out of them. I also say, know who and what you’re coming in for. Do a little research on the director, the play, and be sure that you’ve thought about your character. Last but not least, all of your nerves have the potential to turn into energy and excitement. Use them! It’s normal to be nervous, but those who stand out are able to take that energy and put it into the work.
CTC: What are a couple of your staple “dos and don’ts” of auditioning?
Do: Come in and be yourself!
Don’t: If it’s a show that exists, don’t base your audition on how another actor has done the role
Do: Pick a spot to focus on during your audition that is not a person in the room.
Don’t: Look directly at the director while auditioning (It may be hard for the director to take notes and it will affect you if they look down.
Do: Have your headshot and resume printed and ready
Don’t: Be late! (If you have to be, because life happens, always email a casting representative)