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April 5, 2024

A Triple-threat: Actor, Teacher, Casting Professional!

April 5, 2024
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Behind-the-Scenes: Casting The Saints

Ariel Gade is the Casting Associate for The Merry Beggars. Based in southern California, she’s had a successful career as an actor, with lead roles in feature films and TV series. Ariel also teaches acting to adults and children and worked with Telsey Casting in Los Angeles before coming to The Merry Beggars. We spoke with her about her role as Casting Associate, how she got involved in the entertainment industry, and what it’s like to work on The Saints.

The Process

Q: Ariel, tell us about the casting process for The Merry Beggars, and your role as Casting Associate.
Our journey begins with the scripts. As the Casting Associate, I read through the scripts and begin setting up the casting calls that the actors see when they submit. From there, I begin reviewing auditions. I have the privilege of working alongside our brilliant Casting Director, Kevin Collins. Kevin and I will spend some time sharing ideas or discussing our favorites. I love how collaborative the whole process is, and I’m constantly blown away by the wonderful audition submissions that we receive.

Q: How did your training, education, and other work experience prepare you for the work you do with The Merry Beggars?
I’ve been around acting pretty much my entire life (I started acting at the age of 4). I love watching acting and I love being around it. Throughout my career, I’ve been blessed to work with a number of extremely talented actors, and I’ve been able to witness how they work on set. As a child on set, I felt like I was a sponge at times. I tried to just absorb everything that I could and incorporate it into my own process. After I graduated college, I also began teaching acting to both kids and adults. Those experiences have really helped me develop a sense of what good acting looks and sounds like.

Our Catholic Faith and the Entertainment Industry

Q: What’s the most satisfying thing about your job?
The most satisfying part of my job is bringing extremely talented artists together. We’ve been really blessed to have a number of very wonderful actors cross our path. It’s exciting to hear them all individually and wonder how they will all work together in the recording studio. For actors, that in-room energy really adds a whole new dimension to the performance. I especially love when we have child characters! As a child actor myself, child performers have a special place in my heart, and I’m so blown away by the performances of some of our youngest cast members. They’re doing complex, emotional scenes and dialect work. It’s a lot for any actor, let alone a child. Their skills and professionalism is really inspiring!

Q: How does your Catholic faith inform your work in the entertainment industry?
My Catholic faith has always been extremely important to me. However, it’s sometimes difficult to be open about your faith in the entertainment industry, especially in recent years. That’s why I love the mission of the Merry Beggars and other companies that are trying to be a beacon of hope within the industry. The Merry Beggars is a wonderful gift to artists, including myself, because it allows you to pursue your passion while doing work that is in-line with your values. For me, that’s always been extremely important. The entertainment industry has the potential to be such a powerful form of evangelization. Jesus taught through parables. Media is like our modern day parable, with the ability to touch so many lives. My prayer for my own work is that God uses my talents to help further that mission.

Ariel Gade (center) with Amy Poehler and Jack Black on the set of Barry Levinson's Envy.

Casting and Advice for Young Artists

Q: What are some of the things you listen for or consider in the auditions you receive? What makes an actor stand out for a particular role?
I look for actors who have a good understanding of the scene and the character that they’re portraying. I also want to see an actor taking risks! It’s one thing to just read the lines, but when an actor really tries to make a character their own, the entire performance comes to life. I love actors that can give us a unique perspective on who the character is. Sometimes actors will even surprise us with something we couldn’t have imagined for that character, and I think that’s the best feeling of all.

Q: Do you have any advice for young people interested in exploring careers in the media and entertainment industries?
Yes! Don’t wait for someone to give you permission to work on your craft. I feel like a lot of people think that you can only do acting if you book a job, or you can only be a writer if someone asks you to write the screenplay for their film. That’s not the case, especially nowadays with all this amazing technology at our disposal. Find what you’re passionate about and just start doing it! Get a group of friends together and put on a performance or make your own short film. This allows you to work on your craft and put your talent out there for others to see. Don’t wait for someone to hand you an opportunity. Be courageous!

Ariel Gade is the Casting Associate for The Merry Beggars. She is also an actress and acting coach at BB Acting Studios in Southern California. Her career began at the age of four when she booked her first commercial. She later went on to star in major feature films and television shows. Ariel has worked alongside stars such as Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Jennifer Connelly, and Christopher Lloyd. Some of her credits include ENVY (dir. Barry Levinson), DARK WATER, NCIS: LOS ANGELES, and CALL OF THE WILD 3D. Ariel studied at the University of California, San Diego, and received her MBA in Film Production at John Paul the Great Catholic University in Escondido, CA.

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