Women in Business Q&A: Carrie Faverty, Casting Director, Sound Lounge

In her years at Sound Lounge, Carrie has cast for both voiceovers and on-camera commercials for thousands of products, as well as for webisodes, animated pilots, narrations, promos and the award winning short film, They Say.

Carrie is also New York's premiere director for foreign language voiceover casting, and has cast for projects for casting languages/dialects in Austrian, Swiss French, Swiss German, Italian, Danish, Australian, Swedish, Russian, Brazilian Portuguese, Portuguese, Spanish and many others.

In a continuing effort to find and develop new talent, she has also become a teacher of voice over classes. Combining this experience with her previous years of employment at one of New York's premier talent agencies, Carrie has developed the expertise to provide thoughtful and precise direction for auditions.

She's been featured in industry publications such as Fast Company and MediaPost and speaks frequently at industry events about voiceover casting.

Before Sound Lounge, Carrie worked as a commercial assistant at Don Buchwald & Associates. Carrie received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from New York University.

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
I was raised by a bossy Jewish mother and a creative silly father, which created a very encouraging environment to grow up in. My sister and I were not raised to strive for money or fame or to marry well but instead were taught work towards what makes us happy. That's a life lesson I carry with me to this day. I work in an industry that I can be passionate about because I want to be the best at my job and you can't be the best if your heart isn't in it.

How has your previous employment experience aided your tenure at Sound Lounge?
I worked for three and a half years at Don Buchwald & Associates, one of the top talent agencies in the city that has a very strong voice over division. I learned everything about the business from my bosses there, from scheduling auditions to dealing with the ad agency clients to negotiating deals and contracts for the talent. While I was there, I also had a chance to work with the actors in the in-house studio, which is where I really started thinking about casting as a profession. I would not be where I am today without that job.

What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure at Sound Lounge?
Any time I see a spot on TV that I cast is a highlight. Cheesy but true. I also love discovering new (VO) talent. Finding someone new from either a class that I've taught or seeing them in a show, and then working with them to be better at VO is a huge bonus for me. I teach a class called Voice Over Bootcamp and it's an all day intensive on Saturdays throughout the year. It's a fun and challenging day for me, because it's six hours long, but it's worth it to hear how much the students improve over the course of the day. As far as challenges go, I often struggle with finding ways to give fresh direction during auditions. You find yourself repeating the same notes over and over again and you risk boredom setting in, which can be detrimental to your session.

What advice can you offer to women who want a career in the industry?
The life you want will never just land in your lap. You have to be proactive and go out and get it. There are opportunities all over the place for someone who is driven and passionate about the media, but you have to pursue them. And be nice. This seems simple but it's so true and I think this applies to anyone entering a new industry.

What is the most important lesson you've learned in your career to date?
Be yourself. Never be fake - not to clients, to actors or to your bosses. Because if you can't be yourself, then your heart isn't really in whatever you're doing, and what's the point in that? Oh, and don't run a casting session on a hangover. I'm kidding...sort of.

How do you maintain a work/life balance?
I travel constantly, sometimes for work but mostly for myself. I find that when I am at home, I have a tendency to still look at emails, so traveling gives me a good excuse to really be removed from the office (though I still check my emails once in awhile... a bad habit).

What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
I think knowing your worth and asking for it is a struggle all women in business face. We tend to be apologetic when asking for things and that diminishes our value. I also think that we have to deal with double standards when it comes to things like salaries and respect. We have to walk this fine line between being ambitious and aggressive because we're scared of how we will be perceived.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
My greatest mentors have been people who have championed me both personally and professionally. They're the people that I still go to when I have doubts or questions about what I'm doing and where I'm going. My first boss at DBA, Katherine Ryan, has been my champion from my first day of working with her. On top of teaching me techniques for directing talent and working with agency clients, she also helped me understand that the negotiations we were constantly doing for talent could also be translated into everyday life. She taught me how to know my worth and not being afraid to ask for it. She still pinches my cheeks when I see her, but I allow it because she means so much to me.

Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
I think any woman working in comedy is someone worth admiring. It's such a male-driven profession and it can be so misogynistic that any woman who willingly enters into the ring should be praised. Carol Burnett, Tina Fey, Lily Tomlin, to name a few, are women who had to fight to be seen as people and taken seriously in their chosen professions. Not only have they succeeded but they've also paved the way for other female comedians to follow and thrive in the industry.

What do you want Sound Lounge to accomplish in the next year?
Of course I want my business to grow and expand to bring in more casting directors but a loftier goal would be to see a change in the gender gap in the voice over world. It too is a very male-dominated profession and I would like to see that change. I think a woman could sell a car or insurance just as well, if not better than a man!