Q&A with casting director & top agent

After today’s rehearsal at Talawa Theatre the cast and I had a Q&A talk with Shaheen Baig (casting director) and Kat Oliver (actor’s agent at Conway van Gelder Grant). They answered a number of questions on many topics including the merits of drama school, getting representation, auditioning, and so. As they shared so much information, I decided to share some of their most useful and relevant advice. Here goes!Shaheen Baig Casting

 

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Living the dream

I had ordered about 20+ prospectuses from different UK universities to find a degree course that was right for me. I was 17 years old and in my last year of school. I thought what I really wanted to study was Maths and Econometrics – as if I even knew what that meant anyway. I had also considered French, Politics, Drama, Arabic, Economics, Spanish and various combinations of all of the above.

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Lessons from a first year uni student

My first year of drama school finished about two weeks ago (yay me!) and I was just reflecting on the year. Overall, it was filled with so many new experiences and faces, challenges, laughter, really good banta, a few hurdles, a little bit of stress – good stress, albeit – and, of course, some important lessons on how to act. My degree is in acting after all!

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I’m studying in Paris!

I just got an offer from the Conservatoire National Supérieur d’Art Dramatique in Paris to study BA ACTING. Exciting times! They’ve offered me a year but I’m uncertain if I’ll be  able to do the whole year or just two terms. Either way, I will be in France next academic year!

I’ll be entering into their 2nd year programme which mostly involves workshops, classes and seminars with external practitioners and other professionals e.g. directors, actors, etc. In addition to this there will be a few classes in physical training, voice, acting for camera and stage, dramaturgy and the history of 20th century acting.

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End of trimester 2 – review + update

I am now a few weeks into the third and final term of my 1st year of BA Acting at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, and what a journey it has been.

Undoubtedly, I have progressed so much and I’m much stronger as an actor and naturally more engaging to watch on stage; I’m making more creative and thought-provoking choices, delving deeper into characters and finding meaning and purpose in the seemingly mundane stuff, which is definitely a positive sign at this point in my studies.

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Instagram Q&A

Where are you from?

London, UK. Born and raised.

 

How old are you?

I am 22 years old.

 

What’s the best thing about working on TDG?

There’s a great balance of comedy and serious topics on the show, and each episode is a new adventure.

 

What do you like about the character you play?

Kazima is a genuine and considerate person who she has a good sense of humour. She’s a tough cookie as she’s been through so much in her life so it was a great opportunity to play such a complex character.

 

What are the main similarities and differences between you and Kazima?

I don’t think there are many similarities, to be honest. I guess I’d say that Kazima is independent and likes doing thing for herself, and I’m very much the same in that respect. The biggest difference between Kazima and I would be the way we dress – we have very different styles.

 

Who is your favourite character?

My favourite character is Tyler because he is the funniest and has the best afro.

 

If you didn’t play Kazima who would you want to play?

If I didn’t play Kazima I would play Carmen, because she is NOTHING LIKE ME in real life, or I would play Floss because she has a big personality and is pretty crazy sometimes.

 

What are your favourite and most embarrassing memories on the show?

My favourite memory is probably when Lewis (Ryan) and I were filming on bikes for the cursed wardrobe episode (series 5, ep 11). We filmed in different locations over a few days and we got to ride the bikes all day long.

 

What’s the hardest scene you filmed?

I remember having the giggles when we were filming one of the first episodes of series 4. Obviously when you are shooting you’re not supposed to laugh, but it’s so hard to stop yourself when you know that you shouldn’t be laughing in the first place. It was extremely difficult to stop myself because Amy (Carmen) and Lewis (Ryan) couldn’t stop laughing either!

 

How old are you in the show?

Kazima was almost 17 years old when she moved to Copenhagen to live with her dad and brother, Amir.

 

Do you have an accent on the show?

Yes, I put on an accent for the show because Kazima has lived in a different country for most of her life.

 

Did you cry when you left?

Yes, I cried a lot on my last day of filming. I didn’t think I would but I did in the end. Oh well!

 

Will you ever go back to the show?

If there’s a massive reunion with all the characters I don’t see why not!

 

What’s the best and worst thing about being on TDG?

The best thing about being on TDG is that it’s so much fun and you get to work with great people. There are no bad points!

 

Are you on any other shows on CBBC?

Nope.

 

Do you have snapchat?

Nope. I just use Instagram.

 

What advice would you give to any aspiring actors?

Practice as much as you can. I’ve written another post which answers this question in a lot of detail: How do I become an actor?

 

How long have you been acting?

I’ve been acting on and off for about 12 years.

 

What’s your favourite thing about acting?

It’s exciting becoming a different person and I enjoy working with other people because you learn so much and there’s always so much positive energy.

 

What’s the best and worst thing about being a young actress?

The best thing about being a young actress is that I’m living my dream. It’s also given me a platform to share my experiences and motivate other people which I really love doing. So far I have had no bad experiences as an actor, and I hope it stays that way!

 

What future shows will you be in?

Not too sure for now as I’m still at university. I do know, however, that the next show will be fabulous, whatever it is!

 

What your favourite colour?

Red is my number 1 colour, but yellow is close behind though.

 

Hope you enjoyed this short q&a – I may do more in future! 🙂