Award-Winning Casting Director IIene Starger’s Casting Tips
Acclaimed Casting Director IIene Starger visited Met Film School to provide our students with a casting masterclass, drawing on experiences gained across her highly acclaimed career. IIene has worked on a range of blockbuster movies including: School of Rock, Sleepy Hollow and The Parent Trap as well as casting for TV and stage. She provided students with a range of casting tips.
Some of IIene’s top tips included:
- Personalise your pitch when trying to attract established actors to your project
Whilst it’s highly unlikely that a screen content creator starting their career will be able to attract a major Hollywood name to work on their project, this doesn’t mean it’s impossible to work with experienced actors. It does mean however, that individuals need to work harder to sell in their projects to agents. Focusing on the fit between the performer and your project can help get you get noticed. For example, explaining that the role was written with the actor in mind and fits well with their other recent projects might help you grab their agent’s attention, even if your acting budget is very small.
- Don’t discount casting un-trained actors
Whilst classical acting training is beneficial, don’t discount someone just because they haven’t gone to acting school. For example: Alexander Godunov was a dancer at the Bolshoi Ballet and the American Ballet Theatre before he got his break in Witness starring alongside Kelly McGillis. He went on to star in a range of work from The Parent Trap to an imposing terrorist in Die Hard.
- Consider actor’s motivations when casting
Also don’t cast aside an actor simply because they typically focus on a particular genre. Often actors are looking for a new challenge and may be happy to work on a project that challenges them and pushes them outside of their comfort zone. Some great cinematic performances have often come from casting actors who wouldn’t typically star in a particular genre. For example, Robin Williams Oscar ® winning performance in Good Will Hunting or Steve Carrels acclaimed performance in Foxcatcher show testament to this.
- Consider in what format your actor’s work will be presented when casting
For example, if you are casting for an animated work the voice of an actor is far more important than their overall look. You need to look for a voice that conveys personality and by necessity you will need to steer clear of artists with voices that are less dynamic.
(Ilene Starger photo Copywrite Lois Greenfield)