Gwen Hillier has been associated with ABC's award winning "General Hospital" for the past 22 years and was Associate Casting Director for "General Hospital/Night Shift", (2007 and 2008) the first original series for the SoapNet channel.
- You’ve been in Daytime casting since the 80s. What is the biggest change in the way that you do your job as opposed to back then, if at all?
- How many actors, in a normal GH casting week, would you audition?
- How many U5 roles per week versus Principal roles per week do you have to fill?
- What should all actors know about gauging the concept of being “pretty enough” to be a Contract Regular on a daytime soap?
- In your vast experience please educate folks on the number one reason why a Contract Regular is likely to get fired from daytime television? And is there also a close second reason?
- Honestly Gwen, if an actor has already done 1-5 episodes as an under 5 or principal character on another Daytime soap, be it in LA or New York, what is the likelihood (percentage) that another Daytime soap will even audition them, much less hire them, in a similar capacity?
- You have a daughter who I believe is quite the live stage performer, and you are a former dancer, but as a Daytime casting director how often do you go see regular live theatre to seek out talent in LA?
- What is the honest likelihood that if you work as a Contract Regular in daytime, and do it for 3 years but then leave the show, that you can have a successful Primetime career?
- If I recall correctly GH used to archive an incredible amount of Headshots in your offices, and sometimes call in actors who submitted to them months/years before. Do you still save physical headshots considering online technology, and if not, how do you archive things now?
- How often do you read someone for a Principal or Under5 role, and then immediately give them a different character to go out in the hallway and prepare and come right back in and do it. Does that happen as often today, as it used to?
About the Guru
Gwen Hillier has been associated with ABC’s award winning “General Hospital” for the past 22 years and was Associate Casting Director for “General Hospital/Night Shift”, (2007 and 2008) the first original series for the SoapNet channel. She was also the Associate CD for the “GH” spin-off, “Port Charles” for its entire six year run. (1997-2003). Her responsibilities are not only casting the adult actors – they include children and babies studio teachers and nurses, animals, stunt performers, choreographers, language coaches and translators, and various other specialty skilled performers. She started her casting career with theater, television, and independent film and is also known for her work as a director and choreographer. Before Gwen went into casting she had a long career in front of the footlights. She has appeared on Broadway and toured the country in such shows as “HELLO DOLLY”, “IRENE”, “PIPPIN”, “MACK AND MABEL”, “EVITA”, “42ND STREET”,”MY FAIR LADY”,”HELLZAPOPPIN”,” SUGAR BABIES” working with everyone from Gower Champion to Bob Fosse. Her television and film credits range from “The Patty Duke Show”(!!) to “Pennies From Heaven” with Steve Martin. She has directed and choreographed for theater (Sacramento Music Circus, The Desert Inn/Las Vegas, Papermill Playhouse, New Jersey) and for commercials, television and film. Her directing credits include the critically acclaimed “BLITHE SPIRIT” at the Old Globe Playhouse in West Hollywood, “THE TAMING OF THE SHREW” for the Shakespeare at Play Company, “CYRANO” the New American Musical at the El Portal Theater. She has had the opportunity to work with and choreograph for such stars as Ethel Merman, Phyllis Diller, Rex Harrison, Mickey Rooney, Ann Miller, Juliet Prowse, Jerry Lewis, Constance Towers and Tommy Tune to name a few!