Casting director Katie Griffin finds Philly’s future stars.
Katie Griffin scouts talent for everything from commercials and TV shows to music videos at her casting agency. “I get requests at a moment’s notice for everything,” she says.
Katie Griffin is in the business of finding unicorns. At least that’s how she describes the 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week process of scouting talent for everything from commercials and TV shows to music videos at her Philadelphia casting agency. “I get requests at a moment’s notice for everything: twins, bakers, burlesque dancers, synchronized swimmers,” she says. “I love the challenge.”
Griffin is no stranger to the stage and screen: The former child actor double majored in music and theater at the University of Miami. But by the time she graduated she was burned out from the rigors of performing and turned her attention to what she called “the other side of the camera.” Over the next decade, she would hone her ability to discover talent by scouring South Beach for commercial extras and, later, trolling the streets of New York City for reality-TV personalities for networks like MTV, VH1, and TLC. In 2011, she finally moved back to Philly determined to start her own agency, Katie Griffin Casting.
Projects with Comcast quickly followed, but it was a then-confidential job with RCA Records earlier this year that proved to be a turning point for Griffin. The assignment was simple: scout real-life couples to talk about relationships for a music video featuring one of the label’s artists. It was only later that Griffin learned that the mystery singer was Justin Timberlake and the video for the song “Not A Bad Thing” would debut on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. The single would go on to be a radio hit and a viral sensation. That begot an even bigger project: casting 200 extras for a video featuring Wyclef Jean, Carlos Santana, and Avicii for the official anthem of this summer’s FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
In between juggling castings for more commercials and music videos, Griffin spends much of her time hosting workshops for children, holding one-on-one sessions with seasoned actors, and even training business executives who want to polish their presentation skills. It’s in this arena that Griffin believes she will have the most impact. “I want to raise the bar for talent in Philadelphia, bring it to a national level, and get local actors to think beyond Philly. We really are the sixth borough of New York.”