Making Moves

Meet the Ocala-based casting director who has steadily been building a solid career in the film industry, working on a variety of cool projects that include the recently released big budget comedy Summer Camp starring Diane Keaton, Kathy Bates and Alfre Woodard.

Karlie Loland-Ringer was born in South Louisiana but spent most of her formative years in the Pensacola Beach area. At 18, she relocated to Tampa and then made the move to New York City at 20 years old. Now in her 30s, she says she still feels at home in those cities, but her heart is in Ocala. We chatted with Loland-Ringer about what drew her to the area and her emerging career in the entertainment industry.

How did you come to live in Ocala?

Ocala was never on my radar but when I met “the one” we had some big decisions to make together. My wife is a world champion equestrian and needs to be here in the Horse Capital for her career. I also knew I could always hop on a flight to be where I needed to be for work or jump in the car. Now, coming home to Ocala always feels like a breath of fresh air. With the growth of the general Tampa Bay area, I often make jokes and call Ocala the Hamptons of Tampa. This year marks five years that I’ve embraced being a Brick City local.

Summer Camp promo photo, courtesy of Roadside Attractions

What was your career path before you got into casting?

I spent the majority of my 20’s as a lifestyle and commercial talent agent. When I moved to Ocala, I wasn’t fully sure how everything would fall into place. I felt like a lost puppy dog here. My wife showed me nothing but grace in my time figuring it out and then the pandemic struck. The part about my journey that’s so interesting is the way my life has come together in an unexpected scenario. Collectively, the world experienced such devastating hardship through the pandemic and the functionality shift we overcame is now what allows me to do what I love. 

As a prior agent, I did have my hands in a few films and had many business relationships that have carried over through the years. Producer Joseph Restaino put me on my first film about 10 years ago as a production assistant and, coincidentally, it was a story about an enchanted Friesian horse titled Albion: The Enchanted Stallion. Producer Dori Rath and writer/director Castille Landon of Summer Camp were also the creators of Albion and have strong equine roots themselves. Producer Elayne Schmidt played a crucial role in both of those films and is the person who first introduced me to casting and gave me my first Hallmark film. Producer Melissa West and I came up together and I wouldn’t have found the success I have today without each of these people having a hand in my full circle journey. 

Behind the scenes for Karlie’s reality show Pride of Tampa

I’ve been blessed to work with some of the best in the businesses over time and can only hope to continue my growth. Since establishing my casting company, KLR Creative Group, I’ve worked on over 40 feature films nationwide while living in Ocala these last five years.

Did you begin by casting background players? 

I have paid my dues when it comes to background casting. I started from the bottom and truly have pounded the pavement every step of the way. The value in learning by doing is irreplaceable. I’ve been able to structure my business where we can always successfully run a background talent division and give clients a full-service experience with their projects from start to finish if they choose. While my personal focus is now on principal casting, I’m pleased to have the resources to build a team that can really carry the company and maintain the level of service and artistry I started with.

What’s the most challenging aspect of casting? 

Karlie on set

There’s a lot of significant moving parts you may not realize exist unless you’re in it, just like any other business. Casting within the means of a project or the Screen Actors Guild union scale at hand is a big one when people come to me with a script. There are negotiations, budget conventions, sales conversions, etc. The business side can provide its challenges from time to time. On the creative end, what I’ve learned is, never be married to only one idea and that things work out as they should, even in the worst-case scenario, which I have experienced. 

Describe your role in casting the A-listers. 

Nurturing and maintaining relationships is so important in this business. A great casting director should be able to bring names to the table. With that said, every project’s needs are different. When working with A-listers, many times producers and directors already have name actors in mind when casting is signing on for a feature film. When handling names of this caliber, it’s rare that actors will audition, and the norm is to go straight to offer. As a casting director we also work diligently to stay current on up-and-coming talent with the “it factor” and those already on the rise. Our job is partially to advise but also to spark ideas while offering up options that partner with the rest of the process in hopes of creating a salable feature film. Casting directors and associates also handle the communication between actors’ representation and the production through the closing process. 

Behind the scenes on Mother Nature and the Doomsday Prepper with producer/director Christian Cashmir, actress Tanya Christiansen, Karlie and Tik Star/Comedian Danae Hays

You’ve also recently been working as a producer on some projects. How did that start? 

Casting is still very much at the forefront for me and my main focus, but I’ve gained a lot of experience and knowledge over the years that I’m able to offer wearing an associate producer or co-producer hat. I love puzzling things together as producers do and it’s been a fruitful addition to my skill set more recently. What I’m able to offer as a producer lies a lot within the network I’ve built, pitching, selling and bringing perspective to the casting process from the business side when it comes to finances and delegating what makes sense for the project at hand. I also feel these are things that make me a stronger casting director because I’m able to truly advocate for talent internally.

What are some of your favorite things to do in Marion County?

During the summer months you can always find us boating or paddle boarding in the springs. We spend a lot of our time at the World Equestrian Center, both socially and for business. We enjoy Sunday brunch on the square and currently frequent District Bar & Kitchen. We do our best to spend our time at the local businesses in the area like Juniper General Store. I love getting my work done there. And then of course, there’s the farm. My wife has made me an Ocala-loving horse girl through and through. OS

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