Carla Stronge CSA

Carla Stronge is a triple Emmy Award winning Northern Irish Casting Director based in Belfast. Her work includes; Derry Girls, The Fall, Game of Thrones, Dalgliesh, and BBC’s upcoming The Following Events are Based on a Pack of Lies starting on 29th August.

We photographed Carla alongside her wonderful team Michael Hooley, Hayley Russell and Amy Blair. What a joy it was to work with them, they all brought such a bright energy to the room.


Yellowbelly: What’s the best way to get seen for a project if you’re without representation?

Carla: “If you have heard about a specific project and think you are a perfect fit, find out who’s casting it (IMDB will usually help you figure this out if it’s for screen) and drop that office an email explaining why. But use your discretion and don’t email every casting team every month – desperation is not attractive. If you do think you are a perfect fit for something in particular though, your timing could be perfect so that is worth a shot. If you want to introduce yourself to a specific casting team as they do the type of work you think you’re right for, then time it perfectly with a great role you have just done, or a new showreel or great short film that just won a prestigious award. Save those magic beans for when they are best to plant!”


Yellowbelly: What stands out to you in a headshot?

Carla: “Connection. Energy. Naturalism. Someone comfortable in their own skin. Vibrancy. Colour (as opposed to black & white). Openness. Potential and a sense of possibility. An air of blank-canvas-meets-deep-well. I’m a sucker for quirks.”


Yellowbelly: If you had one piece of advice for recent graduates facing the industry, what would it be?

Carla: “On some level we’ve all probably been drawn into this industry searching for some kind of truth; for some kind of acceptance and appreciation. Don’t get too caught up in the massive church of ego, hype, self-flagellation or comparison that this Industry can sometimes be. Take what is useful for you, leave the rest and definitely leave anything that causes you pain behind. Focus on what you can control and do your very best with what you have. Stay open and curious to the opportunities that are offered to you as you do not know where they will lead. Plant seeds everywhere you go and do good deeds. Be kind to everyone. Don’t be a dick. Play the game in front of you. Trust your gut. Don’t waste energy with negative people or be negative about yourself – It helps no one, you least of all. Work with as many different people as you can, you’ll learn something from each of them. And it’s true… it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Be brave!

Ok I’m sorry this is not one piece of advice, and could be a collection of memes and favourite self help inspired motivational posters, but they are things we find ourselves saying over and over again in our office. Darn it, I almost forgot the most important one – LEARN YOUR LINES. DO THE WORK! That probably should have been the one piece of advice all along.”


Yellowbelly: What are red flags on an actor’s spotlight?

Carla: “Too much detail and too many tabs! Too much training with not enough credits. Be selective, only put up the best projects that you’re most proud of. Too many showreels seems a little over-compensatory. Too many “costume” changes in the picture gallery doesn’t actually help us to visualise you in lots of different roles – keep it simple!”


Yellowbelly: Do you mind when auditionees send a few versions of a self-tape? Re different intentions?

Carla: “Not at all, we encourage it. I do think 2 takes is usually enough – one for your natural instinct and another for an alternative version, whether that be a ‘safer’ or more ‘wildcard’ route. You could throw one more in if you’ve discovered the scene could land a number of different ways when prepping it, but absolutely 3 max and only if each one really feels wildly different and gripping. Generally though, my advice is to be selective.

Practically, send them as individual clips so we can decide if they are all worth sharing with the team. If we think you have gone off course on any, we’ll hold that one back and just show the one/s that will show you in your best light… Our job is to curate and make you (and us!) look as good as possible. Also don’t spend hours doing reems of takes. Treat a self tape like an audition – do the prep beforehand and limit yourself to 5 takes max on camera. Choose the best 2 (Or 3 if there really is another very interesting angle on the material to show your range), send them over and then forget about it! Onto the next challenge.”