Casting Award Nominated Emma Fleming Speaks Language of Under-Represented Actors & Offers Tips for Auditions
Having studied both the legendary Meisner and Alexander acting techniques in New York, Emma Fleming has remarkable insight into the sometimes inscrutable world of auditions.
Now, she’s an in-demand casting director, who was recently nominated for an award by the Casting Guild of Australia for ‘Achievement in Casting’ for her work to achieve diversity in casting for Testament, originally an interactive piece of theater that was filmed and then turned into a film & subsequent documentary.
So, Fleming has some advice for actors heading with trepidation into the audition room as she wisely suggests, “Enjoy it, because the audition room is another opportunity for an actor to do what they love…act.”
Her award nomination for Testament, whose cast was recognized for being groundbreaking in terms of its diversity, gender identity and ethnicity, has given Fleming’s career a snowball effect. Upcoming work includes being a casting associate on Brokers, and as a casting director on the upcoming adventure-drama, Molly the Magnificent, and the film The History of Drag which she cast and which will be released in early 2020.
The empathetic Fleming says: “My work on Testament helped shine a light on more underground, unknown talent. And, I was nominated alongside Janine Snape of Melbourne Theatre Company and Stevie Ray who cast one of my favorite Australian feature films, Animal Kingdom — which won numerous awards and has been turned into an successful American TV drama. So being nominated amongst casting directors of that caliber, was truly an honor.”
Producer/actor Briar Rose, who is a producer on both Brokers and Molly the Magnificent, speaks of Fleming’s keen eye for under-represented talent: “Emma has an eye for casting unique and different types. Her ability to direct the actor in an audition is second to none. Coming from a strong acting background, she has the ability to speak the language of the actor. She has a special ability to articulate what we want to see from the actor, in the words of the actor, thus drawing the performance out of them.”
Indeed, Fleming coached and then essentially directed and filmed Rose’s audition tape for AMC’s The Dead Lands, which was then sent to the producers of the show. Rose was offered a co-starring role based off that self-tape.
After her success with Testament, Fleming cast for Matrimony, a visually arresting film that she also created and produced. The film was subsequently selected to be the headliner at the Los Angeles Film Night “Playhouse Grot3sk” with Subvrt Magazine. The casting director explains: “Matrimony was a challenge, mainly because I wanted my cast to be made up of mostly under-represented talent, and to shed light on these actors whose stories and voices need to be seen and heard. I was proud when members of the team at Asvoff film festival likened the film to the work of ‘Pierre et Gilles,’ those French artists who for 40 years have been creating a dazzling array of unbelievable visual tableaux.”
Next, she was commissioned by Melbourne’s Umami Collective to create and cast the film War Cry to be screened at one of their select events. Fleming reports that “the casting of this film celebrated, embraced and championed the audience that the Umami Collective creates a safe space for — the queer/trans, poc and first nation people.”
With her growing resume, she’s now been selected as a Casting Director to speak at conferences and panels in Australia on behalf of the LA-based Australian Arts, Television and Film Academy. And, in 2020, she will also be working alongside Crystal Pantera Productions on a comedy sitcom called Cholita’s Way. She had worked with the producers on Ira that premiered at the Sitges Horror Film Festival, alongside films such as Mandy starring Nicholas Cage, and was nominated in the Bogota Horror Festival and Festival of Serbian Fantastical Film.
As for her advice as a casting director to actors, she practically suggests: “An audition room is just another room made up of four walls and a ceiling, much like a theatre — both are simply rooms — until an actor enters and the performance begins. Actors must know that they are ultimately not auditioning for just that role, as there are so many factors that go into selecting an actor for a role, and most of these reasons have nothing to do with talent. I believe when you audition, you are auditioning to be remembered, to be on the casting director’s radar, as someone whose work and interpretation of a role, they want to see, and present to a director and producer, time and time again.”
With the success of Testament, Matrimony, and War Cry on her resume, and with Brokers, Molly the Magnificent, The History of Drag, and Cholita’s Way all coming up, producer Briar Rose says of casting director Emma Fleming: “Emma’s training in the craft provides an undercurrent of understanding about what is needed in character, and therefore gives producers and directors a powerful edge in casting.”
Check out the highlighted movie links on IMDbPro and IMDb, Also drop in on the cool “Making of Matrimony” video, and visit Emma Fleming on IMDb, and two Instagram sites, @striketheblonde_casting and @alabamablonde