Asking Charlie Burrows: What Does A Talent Scout Want To See?
CHARLIE BURROWS: Acrobatic Casting Advisor and Talent Scout
1. What is your job title and what does it include?
I am Acrobatic Casting Advisor and Talent Scout for Cirque du Soleil. I work as an advisor for both creations and existing shows. I am a specialist scout for Trampoline and Tumbling.
2. How did you get in to casting? Tell us about your background/specialty and how you got into your current role.
I was a former tumbler from Great Britain and retired after the 2009 World Championships. I then finished my degree in Business Management and joined Cirque du Soleil as an artist in 2011. I performed in a few special events before joining the long running resident show La Nouba in Orlando, Florida. In 2015, I decided that I was ready to move from on-stage to behind the scenes and applied to be the new Trampoline and Tumbling talent scout in Montreal, Canada. I was lucky enough to get the position and over the last 3 years my role has developed into me now also becoming an advisor for both resident and touring shows, and I am now based in Las Vegas.
3. What is your favourite thing about your job? What do you enjoy the most about your job?
I really enjoy the interaction with artists and when I can be a part of helping someone achieve their dream of performing on a Cirque du Soleil stage. Sometimes it can take a long time for the right opportunity at the right time to present itself, so when it does, it is a fulfilling feeling for both the artists and us in casting.
4. What do you look for in a show reel? What catches your eye? What makes a good show reel in your opinion?
This is a great question and something that we in the casting department often discuss. There is a big difference between a show reel for YouTube and a show reel designed to show your skills at their finest. Some of the best show reels are those that are not edited, have no effects and just show the raw talent of the artist. If you are a multi-talented artist it is a good idea to show your different skills in sections and try not to chop and change between disciplines. This way directors can clearly see everything you are capable of in each discipline.
5. What don’t you want to see in a show reel?
DON’T use footage from underneath the trampoline or Go-pros stuck to your head, as this doesn’t show your technique and is something for YouTube! Try and shoot your act, or skills in one take so that we can see the consistency and technical level.
6. What do you look for in artists when holding live auditions? What makes an artist stand out the most?
Often with today’s technology we have seen most artists on video prior to our auditions, so we already have a good understanding of their technical level. What is great about live auditions is for us to not only get the opportunity to see the performance live and appreciate the artist’s stage presence better, but also see the artist’s personality, work ethic and ability to take direction. Coming to the audition with a good attitude and energy will go a long way.
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To get in contact with Charlie Burrows, you can find him on the casting section of the Cirque du Soleil Website