Casting Director Heidi Walker Gets SFI Acting Grads Working!
By Gail Benzler
Heidi Walker is a member of Seattle Film Institute's esteemed faculty. Like many of her SFI colleagues, Heidi works in the film industry -- she's a Seattle-based casting director. Some of her projects include Better than Love, a Hollywood production shot in the Seattle area and featuring the film debut of one of her star SFI acting students, Brian "Stewie" Giron. You might have seen her name in the credits for a whole slew of additional productions including Twin Peaks, The Fugitive, Northern Exposure, Life of Something Like It and and the currently in production You Can't Win.
Heidi's goal with her 2015 class of acting students (they graduated this summer)
was to make sure they all had agent representation upon graduation and this was a goal she fulfilled. "I gently prodded them to really think about representing themselves in the best possible way," she says. "Head shots and resumes are important, but so is making that extra effort with casting directors and potential agents -- a thank you sent via snail mail -- that kind of follow up can make all the difference." The students needed to understand the steps. "I can make a phone call. But once you're in the door, what do you do? That's how I really helped."
Students have a tough job -- they have to learn to market themselves and Heidi's job was to show students the professional side of the business. "It's really a business and you're the CEO, VP, secretary and treasurer!" Heidi relates. "It's all you. You have to believe in yourself and there's that fine line: you don't want to seem arrogant, but show you have the talent, are humble and exude the right kind of confidence."
Walker knows that actors are constantly putting themselves out there on the front lines. They get told "no" a lot. "Making sure photos are taken, resumes are fully ready and that these are sent out consistently as well as having monologues on hand... There are so many moving parts."
Heidi loves casting and she loves teaching and coaching. "What I love more than anything is making sure every client, every student is empowered. One size does not fit all. Teaching keeps you on your toes."
Seattle Film Institute keeps class sizes small to ensure a hands-on learning environment that mirrors real working situations. "My class of five were all very lovely, hard working individuals. And you know what? I have every confidence they'll continue to be successful. Some are already working in film and commercials. I'm so proud of them all."
Acting for Film classes at SFI begin September 14. Students can earn a BA, Certificate or MFA quickly on our accelerated degree program. Apply now -- significant financial aid is available.