We are thrilled to introduce our latest casting director interview, this time with Allison Estrin of Barden/Schnee Casting in New York. She has worked on over 50 films including the Academy Award winning film THE HELP and WINTERS BONE starring Jennifer Lawrence. Current and upcoming projects include AUGUST OSAGE COUNTY starring Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep; THE JUDGE starring Robert Downey Jr, Robert Duval and Vera Farmiga; LOVELACE starring Amanda Seyfried and PRISONERS starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal. TV credits include INSIDE AMY SCHUMER on Comedy Central; CUPID on ABC and the upcoming THE DIVIDE for AMC/WE.
Allison will be on the panel “Casting a Wide Net: Regional Casting” at the year’s Film Industry Expo on Sept. 7th in New Orleans. CLICK HERE FOR TICKET INFO.
How did you get into casting?
Allison: I had gone to acting school at Webster Conservatory, sadly I just wasn’t very happy working as a professional actor and if you don’t absolutely love being an actor and doing everything you have to do to become successful, then you should not do this profession. It is just too hard if you don’t love it. However, I always loved the craft and working with directors. When I first moved to NY almost 9 years ago I was subletting from an old friend, Megan Larche, who was a casing director at Binder Casting. To make ends meet I started helping her out for big dance auditions as a reader and a monitor. I did that for them for a few years and really got to know the business and Jay Binder very well, so when a job came up as Jay's assistant I took it! I worked with Jay and Company for 2 years and then started working with Kerry Barden and Paul Schnee when they opened up their office 5 years ago.
What is your casting process?
Allison: I don’t really every an exact process as every film is very different and we try to meld with the director and his/her process.
What do you personally feel is the best way for actors to contact you?
Allison: I think postcards are the best. Something small and easy and has your picture on it. I never want actors to spend a lot of money doing a mailing for me; postcards are an easy way to let me know what’s going on and saves on paper too!
What made you want to be a part of this year’s Film Industry Expo?
Allison: So many films and TV shows these days are shooting outside of NY and LA. Due to budgets directors and producers are always asking us to explore local talent, the only way to really do that is to go out and meet them!
Why do you think there has been such a surge in regional TV and film projects in the last five years?
Allison: I think the main reason is tax incentives other states give productions to film there. However I do think it is great when things are filmed in the actual location of the TV show or film. It gives the movie color that a soundstage can’t.
What auditioning advice do you have for actors?
Allison: The biggest thing I wish every actor knew going in to the room is that we as casting directors are your advocates, we are on your side. We want you to get the job! I think unfortunately a lot of actors think of casting directors as the enemy, when really every time you come in the room we are your biggest supporters.