casting director
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  • New York Film Academy Division of Veterans Services Welcomes Casting Director Robert McGee, C.S.A as Guest Speaker

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    The New York Film Academy (NYFA) College of Visual and Performing Arts’ Division of Veterans Services (DVS) recently welcomed NYFA’s veteran students and alumni, together with members of Veterans in Media & Entertainment (VME), to a screening of the hit animated series Rick and Morty. Following the screening, the audience was treated to a Q&A with casting director extraordinaire, Robert McGee, C.S.A.

    The event was part of the NYFA DVS series of events that includes guest speakers, film screenings, master classes, workshops, and employment trainings — all of which promote industry engagement for NYFA’s veteran students, as well as the wider veteran communities, in Los Angeles, New York City, and South Beach (Miami).

    In addition to Rick and Morty, McGee has cast such hit shows as The Cleveland Show and Wizards of Waverly Place, as well as successful films such as The Virgin Suicides and World’s Greatest Dad, which starred Robin Williams. McGee is currently casting the newest rendition of The Adams Family, which stars Chloe Grace Moretz, Oscar Isaac, Nick Kroll, and Academy Award-winner Charlize Theron.

    With over 20 years of experience in the casting business in both live action and animation, McGee enjoyed sharing valuable insight on the casting process for both live action and voice over work. McGee is very passionate about the casting business and enjoys meeting actors.

    “The Q&A with Mr. McGee was very insightful,” said NYFA BFA Producing student and U.S. Navy veteran Jonathan Garza. “As a Producing student it was very informative, learning the complexities of what a casting director goes through and how intricate the casting process is.”

    The New York Film Academy thanks Robert McGee for his generosity and willingness to help veterans pursuing careers in the film industry.

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  • The New York Film Academy Welcomes Echo Lake Entertainment Talent Manager Iris Grossman

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    The New York Film Academy (NYFA) had the honor of hosting esteemed talent manager Iris Grossman. Grossman works at Echo Lake Entertainment, a management and production company that represents veterans such as Mandy Patinkin and Patti LuPone as well as young artists such as Dakota and Elle Fanning. NYFA Director of the Q&A Series Tova Laiter hosted the evening.

    Laiter began by asking Grossman about her start in the industry, and Iris described working early on at ICM as an assistant to agent Daniel Petrie Jr., who soon departed the company to write Beverly Hills Cop. Following that, she worked for agent Michael Black, who nurtured her and helped launch her career as an agent, where she developed her love of working with actors. 

    Years later, she took the job of senior vice president of talent and casting at Turner Network Television (TNT), where she had the joy of casting of stars such as Angelina Jolie, Alec Baldwin, Tommy Lee Jones, and Diane Keaton, at a time when actors did not do cable in the same way as today. She also discovered emerging talent: “I had the most incredible job. Every day I would get calls asking if I would like to meet with actors like Clive Owen, or Jude Law, who were unknowns at the time. It was pretty incredible.”

    Laiter followed up by asking Grossman about transitioning from being an agent into casting, and she responded, “I called casting ‘being an agent with a larger client list.’” When she would read a script at the agency, she would have to think about who at the agency would be right for the part, but in casting, she now had the world opened up to her.

    When asked about what it takes to have a keen eye for talent, Grossman answered that part of it is learned, and part of it is instinctual.

    “When you watch a movie, and you believe what you see, you know the person is talented,” she said.

    In regards to the teaching element, she remarked that you have to know about the history of the industry, and understand what made certain people stars, and then translate that into the moment.

    Her advice for actors upon graduation was to stay proactive, do theater, and create their own web content. “While I don’t cast people just based on their Instagram followers but their talent, if you have a video with a million views, people will start knocking on your door.”

    A student asked Grossman about what changes she saw with women in the industry, behind the camera, from the start of her career to now. Iris responded, “There are things that have changed, and things that haven’t changed.” She went on to say how women have always been producers in the industry, but how there aren’t enough women directors. She also noted that in television some of the top writers and showrunners now are women. “When I started out there were maybe five women agents. Now I see there are so many women agents and executives and managers. I think it’s changed, but it still has far to come.”

    When asked about what happens in her first meeting with an actor, she said she wanted to learn about them as people: “I already know they are talented from their reel.” She wants to make sure they get along, because it’s all about the relationship and making sure they have the same goals.

    The New York Film Academy would like to thank Grossman for taking the time to speak to our students and share her wealth of knowledge and experience.

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    May 1, 2018 • Academic Programs, Acting, Film School, Guest Speakers, Producing • Views: 582

  • Screening of ‘The Talented Mr. Ripley’ with Casting Director David Rubin

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    David Rubin

    Casting director David Rubin visited New York Film Academy Los Angeles to screen the classic film The Talented Mr. Ripley, which he cast, and participate in a Q&A session with students. David is chairman of the Casting Directors Branch at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and is also the casting consultant for HBO, working on their upcoming series, movies and miniseries. He cast such films as the upcoming Wild with Reese Witherspoon and Warren Beatty’s Howard Hughes film. He also cast other acclaimed films like The Addams Family, The War of the Roses, My Cousin Vinny, The Firm, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Get Shorty, The English Patient, Men in Black, and My Best Friend’s Wedding. David won an Emmy for casting Game Changer for HBO and received the Hollywood Film Festival Award for Outstanding Career Achievement, as well as an honorary Career Achievement Award from the Casting Society of America presented to him by Baz Luhrmann. Producer Tova Laiter and NYFA acting instructor Michael Zelniker moderated the discussion.

    Mr. Rubin has been a fan of live theater all of his life and admits to being a complete “theater geek.” In fact, he’s kept a program from every show he’s attended since he was a boy in a plastic sealed scrapbook. As a young man in New York, the encyclopedia-like knowledge of the city’s pool of acting talent and enormous vocabulary David acquired from seeing so many plays, and also directing his own, unconsciously prepared him in a perfect manner for a career in casting. It wasn’t until he took on a job as a casting assistant that he realized how well suited for casting he was and the deep-rooted passion he had for the profession.

    david and tova

    David has a unique approach to casting that has led him to immense success. When he first receives a script, he crosses all of the writer’s character descriptions out. David knows that these labels are obvious, surface interpretations of the character and he’s going for something much deeper. He lets the character’s story arch clue him in to the type of actor appropriate for the role. And instead of bringing in a bunch of actors that all look and sound the same, which is the norm the casting world, he auditions actors of all shapes, sizes, races, and personality types. In this way, David uses the casting process to further investigate the right kind of person he’s looking for.

    Mr. Rubin’s best advice to actors in the audience was this: “Be yourself.” Many actors fail in attempting to conform themselves to what they believe the role is and the result is always inauthentic. Expressing yourself fully is your most valuable commodity by far as an actor because there is no one else exactly like you. What David always looks for in auditions is the “Actor’s essence” and he then determines whether that matches what he has determined the “character’s essence” to be.

    Hearing how David Rubin rose to success as a casting director and the invaluable advice he acquired along the way was an incredible gift to NYFA students. We sincerely thank David for his time and look forward to seeing all of his amazing casting work to come.

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    January 2, 2015 • Acting, Guest Speakers • Views: 5540

  • Musical Theatre Master Class in Brazil

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    Rio is the third largest market for Musical Theatre, behind New York and London. After witnessing the talent on hand, we know why. The New York Film Academy had a wonderful time in Brazil, auditioning actors and meeting future Brazilian filmmakers. “I was amazed at the level of talent and enthusiasm that I found in Brazil,” said Director of Acting Admissions, Roger Del Pozo. ”Everyone was passionate and ready to advance to the next level.” In addition to his work at NYFA, Roger has been a casting director for over a decade, having casted many television commercials, as well as films, plays, voice-overs, video games, music videos and industrials for top casting companies and advertising agencies in New York City. This is Roger’s third trip so far to Brazil and based on the enthusiasm it will not be his last. “There are so many students I’m anxious to see enroll here in New York City.”

    “The United States, specifically New York and Los Angeles, is still the epicenter of the entertainment business. If you are looking to do film and theatre at the highest level, you have to try it in the U.S. Also, the level of faculty in NYC and LA is unsurpassed. All of our teachers are working professionally and that makes such a difference in terms of training and opportunity.” In fact, joining us along the journey was Broadway actress, Kristy Cates. Kristy taught an exclusive Musical Theatre Workshop at the prestigious CAL Casa das Artes de Laranjeiras in Rio. She is best known for her role of Elphaba in the Broadway, Chicago, and National Tour of Wicked. She holds the honor of being only the third person to perform the role on Broadway. Prior to playing the role full time, she was in the Original Broadway cast as the understudy to TONY winner, Idina Menzel and can be heard singing several solo lines on the cast recording. “Because I’ve gotten to work with several Brazillians in my time at NYFA, I was expecting very exuberant and welcoming students,” said Kristy. “I was certainly not disappointed!”

    Kristy auditioned twelve students who were completely prepared to get into the work. On hand was an audience of approximately 75 observers who actively watched, asked questions, and even participated in the vocal warm up. Together with the group, Kristy explored vocal technique and creating a sound that is not only unique to each individual, but is commercially viable and healthy. She then went on to storytelling within their musical selections, discussing how their individual interpretation of each song is what truly sets them apart from all others. At the end of the class, the group was treated to a performance by Alessandra Maestrini, a well known Brazillian artist and an extremely gracious human being. As a special encore, Kristy sang one of her popular tunes from Wicked, “Defying Gravity.”

    We’d like to thank our hosts at CAL who were so accommodating and we hope to return soon! If people are interested in meeting with representatives at the New York Film Academy, send an e-mail with your information to brazil@nyfa.edu.

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    October 3, 2012 • Acting, Musical Theatre • Views: 3535