Angela Quinn Interview

We’ve had many insightful conversations with Canadian producers, directors, performers, and composers. One area we have not explored is casting. The industry has gone through many changes over the last few years and Angela Quinn in Kelowna, BC has been through all of it. We had a conversation with Angela about her experience and expertise. 


HNMAG: When did you move to Kelowna?

Angela Quinn: In 2016. I worked in the industry in Vancouver for the majority of two decades as that was where the work was in BC, but I always told myself that if I could live back in the Okanagan region while working as much as I was in Vancouver I’d move back in a heartbeat. In 2016 I had a gut feeling that the industry was going to grow in the Okanagan so I moved to Kelowna (which is about an hour away from my hometown of Penticton, BC) and I just really hoped for the best. Now I have never been busier!


HNMAG: Which movies were set there?

Angela Quinn: The movies that I worked on that were scripted as being set in my hometown of Penticton, BC were called, ‘Wild Goat Surf’ and ‘Drinkwater’. The feature film, ‘Until Branches Bend’, was also set in the general Okanagan region that I reside in. I was the casting director on ‘Wild Goat Surf’, the Okanagan casting director on ‘Until Branches Bend’ and I was the casting associate on ‘Drinkwater’. ‘Wild Goat Surf’ is currently playing in select theatres nationwide.


HNMAG: How did you get interested in Film and TV?

Angela Quinn: I auditioned for a role in a TV movie in 1995 that was seeking actors, dancers & singers, it was my first audition and I was still in high school at the time. I landed the role and became fascinated with the process of how filmmaking worked. I signed up with a talent agency after that and have been working in the industry in various capacities ever since.


HNMAG: How did you start working in Casting?

Angela Quinn: Since I had connections to a lot of talented people with my background as an actor & dancer, I was approached by a local production company to see if I might want to help cast a couple of their upcoming projects. I enjoyed the process very much and I found that more opportunities to work in casting somehow kept coming my way after that so casting truly found me, I did not seek it out or pursue it intentionally.


HNMAG: What are your most memorable experiences?

Angela Quinn: It’s pretty cool watching a project that I’ve done casting on for the first time with family & friends. I love seeing actors bring their characters to life and on some occasions I’ve been able to attend theatrical & world premieres of some of my projects at international film festivals which is extra special. 


HNMAG: What do you enjoy most about the work?

Angela Quinn: I enjoy being a part of the actor’s journey, whether I book them for their first job or I cast them in a role that I see them thriving in, it’s such an honour to know that I can contribute towards their career goals in a small way.


HNMAG: What are the greatest challenges?

Angela Quinn: There can be a variety of challenges that come up when casting projects, one of them being the tight deadlines that sometimes seem unattainable when there just aren’t enough hours in a day, but having a solid support team of casting associates and assistants can greatly make a difference in getting the job done.


HNMAG:  Do you usually cast projects that are set in Canada?

Angela Quinn: Not always but yes I do cast projects that are sometimes set in Canada. Usually the projects that I cast are set in a US location or fictional town.


HNMAG: What can be done to have more projects that are set in Canada?

Angela Quinn: It’s no secret or big surprise to anyone that the vast majority of projects that film in Canada aren’t set in Canada. There are many reasons for that including the larger American target audiences wanting to see locations that they are more familiar with, but maybe giving more competitive or additional tax incentives to production companies that not only film their projects in our country but that are also filming projects that are predominantly, or entirely, set in Canada too might help increase the number of projects we see that are set here.


HNMAG: How has casting changed after the pandemic?

Angela Quinn: The biggest change is that auditions are mostly done by self-taping now as opposed to actors auditioning in the room in front of a casting director. There are pros & cons to this but for me, almost 100% of my casting process is done by self-taping with a small possibility of a virtual callback or a virtual follow-up interview. Although I still offer an in-person audition option when I send out audition requests for union projects, barely anyone opts to audition in the room anymore. Actors have become very comfortable with their own self-taping process so once everyone adapted to that format during COVID it became the norm and is likely going to remain the norm for the unforeseeable future.


HNMAG:  Is there anything you missed from the way it worked prior to 2020?

Angela Quinn: I do miss having regular in-person auditions like things used to be pre-pandemic. It was great to give immediate feedback to the actors and to offer a redirection on the spot.


HNMAG: Where is the industry going?

Angela Quinn: I don’t think anyone can say with 100% certainty what the industry will look in the years ahead as those of us who make a living in the industry have had to struggle through the recent strikes and had to deal with the shutdowns through COVID so for right now I think we’re all just fortunate that the industry is still going at all. I take each day as it comes and am fortunate for the work I get.


HNMAG:  What advice would you give to an actor looking to break into the industry?

Angela Quinn: I always tell actors to be patient with the process and I highly encourage them to do everything they can in the meantime to set themselves up for success. This way, when the auditions start turning into bookings they are as prepared as they can be. This can mean taking classes and workshops whenever they can so that they are continually working on their craft, doing daily physical & vocal warmups to keep their mind & body in a good place, or working on monologues from different genres to expand their repertoire. Networking is important too so I highly recommend attending industry meet & greets or social events for creatives and industry players as opportunities can open up that way as well. Keep your headshots, resume & measurements up to date. Always have 1-2 readers who are willing to help you with your self-tape auditions, subscribe to and/or follow as many casting platforms or pages that post breakdowns as possible. Just be prepared as you never know what tomorrow might bring.


HNMAG: With the popularity of Blackberry, Son of a Critch, and Schitt’s Creek, in the US, do you see more of a demand for Canadian content?

Angela Quinn: I certainly hope so! I’m really enjoying ‘Sullivan’s Crossing’ as well which is filmed in Eastern Canada and set in the same region as well featuring a lot of Canadian talent.


We need to realize that Canada is a very large and diverse country with a lot to offer. Wonderful projects of course are made in Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. Beyond the major cities, there are unique and worthwhile film and television shows from the Maritimes, the Prairies, and the interior of British Columbia. It’s important to take in content from a variety of places and points of view. Angela Quinn is thriving as a Casting Director in Kelowna. She has a wonderful perspective and now we know a few more titles to look for such as Sullivan’s Crossing, Wild Goat Surf, Drinkwater,  and Until Branches Bend.

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