Today we’d like to introduce you to Katie Causey.
Katie, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I grew up in Warner Robins, GA with two hilarious and influential older brothers and very supportive parents. They spent countless hours chauffeuring me from tennis practices to rehearsals to gymnastics classes. In elementary and middle school I did it all. I played tons of sports and participated in a variety of school clubs. This exploration allowed me to discover what I enjoyed most, acting.
I remember sitting on the couch with my mom one night when I was around 12 years old. It was late and it felt like confession time. I turned to her and said, “Mom, I’m going to be an actor.” And, well, yeah that’s what I did.
In high school I became a full-time theatre kid then I went to The University of Georgia and got degrees in Theatre and English. While at UGA I discovered two more passions within the theatre realm, improv and educating. I was very lucky when it came to my improv education. I spent four years performing and training with our college improv team, Improv Athens. We received weekly instruction from two amazing coaches, Amy Roeder, and F. Tyler Burnet. Both of whom were instructors with The Second City. From these two I learned all about performing improv but I also learned how to teach acting and improv through a supportive and positive lens.
After college, I participated in the very first Apprenticeship at the Aurora Theatre in Lawrenceville, Georgia. This is where I started to apply my talents to the business of acting. We learned a variety of skills outside of performance that helped me successfully pursue my goal of making a living solely in the theatrical field.
After the Apprenticeship, I’ve spent the last so many years bumbling around Atlanta making positive strides towards my goal of financially surviving as an actor. I have made plenty of mistakes and experienced my fair share of happy accidents, but the last six years have been full of exciting opportunities.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Breaking into this business is a continuous struggle. Actors are constantly met with roadblocks that they must overcome: finding an agent, getting to know casting directors, mastering self-tapes, honing audition technique, maintaining personal marketing that fits your “brand” and is endearing and truthful but not annoying…
We do all of these things BEFORE we even book the job and do the actual work of acting. I’ve learned (and am continuing to learn) that my job if I want to create a career, is to be my own business.
All of this work can be overwhelming. I made the shift of viewing myself as a business instead of just an actor a few years ago. My agent said something that stuck with me. She said an agent gets paid 10% of a booking (sometimes 20%, I know I know, depending on union affiliation), so that means, they are doing 10% of the work to get you that job. Which means, we should be doing 90% of the work! That means, training and networking and branding on top of memorizing those lines for the audition.
Making myself a business is the main obstacle I am faced with. We need to be comfortable with taking the reins of our own careers. It’s still a struggle, but I’m trying to learn more and more and take more constructive action to overcome this challenge.
We’d love to hear more about your work.
I am primarily an actor and educator. I specialize in comedy including improv and stand-up, but I pride myself on enjoying and excelling in all forms of performance. I work on camera in commercials and film/TV, and on stage performing in plays, improv, and stand-up. I teach all ages in classes at various theatres and studios, including the Alliance Theatre, Aurora Theatre, and Company Acting Studio, as well as private coaching and on-set coaching.
I am proud of my desire to share the knowledge that I’ve gained so far during my time in this industry. One of my favorite things to do is tell people what I’ve learned and potentially provide a new handhold for their ascent into the industry. I’ve had to learn a lot through trial and error as I’m sure many people have and as I look back I remember and appreciate the people who sat down with me and provided information that I needed to continue growing that was not openly available. I am an advocate for the Atlanta film scene. I want us to excel and grow together! I may not have all of the answers but I do have some and I want to share them with other people trying to navigate this field.
What were you like growing up?
Joyful, nerdy and slightly odd.
Vivify Photography, Patrick Molnar, Greg Mooney, Casey Gardner