Emmy-Nominated Casting Director Claire Loeb on “Love is Blind”
Posted on: Aug 15, 2023
Claire Loeb has been working in the film and television industry for fifteen years, with over a decade of experience in unscripted casting. She is currently a Supervising Casting Producer for hit shows including Love Is Blind and Married At First Sight. Claire and her husband Eric Loeb live in Baltimore, Maryland with their two children Liam and Luna, Zorro the Great Dane, and Toast the python.
Congratulations on the Emmy nomination for Outstanding Casting for a Reality Series for season 3 of “Love is Blind!” How does it feel to be nominated?
Thank you so much. I am over the moon. I’m still pinching myself because I think, when I made the transition into unscripted, I just never even thought that would be a possibility. Reality has become such an integral part of our industry that they even have a casting category for it now on the TV Academy. I’m really grateful that it’s getting the attention that it deserves, because putting a cast together is where it all starts.
It’s true, and especially for reality, because it’s like you’re not casting someone and seeing who they could become in a scripted world, but you’re casting them for who they already are. How do you go about looking for potential chemistry between people when you’re casting?
It really varies from show to show. I’ve worked on everything from American Ninja Warrior to The Ultimatum, and Love is Blind and Married at First Sight. Sometimes you’re looking for couples, sometimes you’re looking for single people. I think what’s really special about dating shows is that the apps have really destroyed dating for single folk and you get catfished and everything’s superficial. To be able to put people in an experience where we’re trying to find them their soul mate and we’re genuine about it and our intentions are pure and it’s unconventional, is really exciting and special. I think that’s why I’ve stayed in the dating world [of casting]. Once I got a little taste of it, I didn’t really go back to game shows and stuff, because I was like, “Oh my God, we’re changing lives here.”
I can see how it’s more rewarding because there is something beyond just a monetary prize or winning some type of game.
A hundred percent, it’s so special. I think the one thing we look for most is just people that genuinely are looking for love. When you cast reality, people are always trying to say, “Oh, I’ve never acted before, I don’t have an IMDb,” and we’re like, “That’s great.” We are looking for real people with real stories, with the proper authenticity. We definitely look for people that are trying to find love and not trying to get famous.
How do you go about that? Are there certain questions or parameters you look for when you’re like, “Are you authentic or are you just here for your platform?”
I think we do a good job of weeding out those people from the jump. Obviously, you always have a couple rotten apples that spoil it, but I think for the most part that’s the beauty of unscripted casting, is producers sit down with them face to face and find out where they come from, where they want to go, what they’re looking for. We’re all so invested in finding people that genuinely want to find love that you can sense when someone’s not in it for the right reasons.
Do you feel like from a casting standpoint, people are more excited and willing to join the concept of “Love is Blind” now that it’s an established show? In the beginning, I’m sure that was a hard sell to get people to date in “pods” and get engaged, sight unseen.
It’s still a challenge because when shows are popular, there’s always positive and negative press and people create their own ideas of what your intentions are. You just have to still dig deeper as a casting director and try to find people that aren’t seeking out TV opportunities. So you still go out of your way to find these people that otherwise would never have known this opportunity existed.
When you have that pool of people that you like, how do you go about determining random strangers who might have long-term chemistry with each other?
You can’t really see it until you have the whole cast and then it’s a puzzle and there’s so many people involved in that part of the process and as a casting team member. You want to stack the deck so that no matter who the [network] chooses, they’re quality people inside and out. There’s a lot of steps, but I don’t want to reveal too much of our casting process.
It’s such a magical thing to watch. It felt like it was meant to be for some of those couples. You feel like you really can relate to them by the end of it.
Yeah, that’s one of the reasons I love working at Kinetic Content, because we strive to find people who have genuine intentions, regardless if it’s a dating show or [what] it’s about. Unscripted is about finding real people, not wannabe celebrities.
Can you share a particularly memorable moment you’ve experienced in your casting career?
That’s a fun question. I have a two-part answer. In my casting journey, I did several seasons of American Ninja Warrior and the casting team gets to travel to the competitions, city to city. Then when you’re on-set, you wrangle the ninjas and you get to go to really fun places like Miami or Denver. Working with athletes all the time was incredibly inspiring and I really loved that part of reality casting. But I think, probably, my favorite part was when I made the jump to Kinetic Content and started working with Married at First Sight, for which I’ve casted many seasons. That show is such a special part of my career. It was the first time I really felt like what I was doing was life-changing and having a positive impact on people. My boss, Donna Driscoll, she always calls us “cupids” because when you cast dating shows, you really want to help people find love and when they find it, it’s rewarding.
Is that part of what got you interested in reality casting in the first place?
I thought I was going to go the scripted route. I was like, “What’s casting for reality?” I got a taste of unscripted and I got hooked. It’s so much fun and I love learning about people’s backgrounds and you get to hear real stories and when you interview someone, it’s like a therapy session. You’re finding who they’re looking for and their highs, their lows and you build a strong connection with the people that you cast and you root for them. It’s really a team effort. I am definitely grateful to Kinetic Content because I stand behind the shows they make, and I love that at the end of the day there’s nothing more important than finding genuine people and real stories. To work somewhere where you’re passionate about what you’re doing, is hard to find these days. I am happy to say that I do really love my job and I’m happy to be doing something that I’m passionate about and with a team I love.
I can imagine that that’s a really special feeling. On that note, what advice would you give to someone looking into getting into unscripted casting?
I think the best advice I have to people breaking into unscripted is to try to get as much experience working on different things as you can. Whether it’s a weight loss show, dating show [or a] game show, I think every genre teaches you something different and helps with your interview styles and you get to work with different people. It’s definitely challenging, especially when you first start out, but the more connections you make and the more experience you get, working on different things with different people helps you along the way.
I’ve been in casting for over a decade, started as a PA and then worked my way up from a casting associate to casting producer to supervising casting producer. I think that journey has helped me get where I am today. I am someone that believes that if you want to accomplish something, you put your mind to it and you work hard and you go after it. Especially in this industry, I do think hard work and passion is all it takes to get where you want to go. You just have to believe in it. Casting is a team effort through and through. Every single person on the team is valuable, from casting associates, to the managers to the editors. It takes a village to make a good cast. I am so grateful for all of the people that are a part of my team.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
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