map

1430 SE 3RD AVENUE, No.100
PORTLAND, OR 97214
get directions

office

{503}
221 3090

Friday, March 8, 2019

Exciting news for NW actors on International Women’s Day

by ranielle

In honor of International Women’s Day, Cast Iron Studios is excited to share some great news for Northwest actors!

Cast Iron Studios Incorporates Inclusion Rider

From its yearly Talent Diversity Initiative, to its participation in nationwide casting calls for transgender actors and performers with disabilities, to its commitment to always questioning the way roles are written—in order to create more opportunities for women, LGBTQ performers and others—Cast Iron Studios has long been an advocate for underrepresented performers.

Now, inspired by the work of the Annenberg Institute, Cast Iron Studios is working on incorporating an inclusion rider into its casting deals. “The idea is to challenge ourselves,” said President and Founder Lana Veenker, “as well as the production companies we enter into contract with, to more affirmatively seek opportunities for actors who have been historically underutilized.” 

This inclusion rider will serve as a benchmark for all future projects; celebrating and ensuring the widest possible range of equity, diversity and inclusion. Based in part on the Annenberg Institute’s open-source template, Cast Iron Studios’ rider will also invite clients to make an optional financial contribution towards the Talent Diversity Initiative (TDI), which provides high-quality, intensive actor training to performers of color (and potentially, in the future, to other underrepresented groups) at no cost to the actors.

The goal of the TDI is to create a larger pool of qualified diverse talent for productions to choose from when shooting in the Northwest by removing the financial barrier to high-quality training, opening doors to networking opportunities in the local film and television community, and funneling participants towards bona fide acting coaches, talent agents, managers and casting companies. 

“Graduates frequently go on to book roles in local productions,” said Veenker,” reducing the need for our clients to hire outside of market. By including this provision in our rider, we’re asking clients to not only hire more underrepresented artists today, but to help us build the talent pool of tomorrow; one that more accurately reflects the demographics of the world we live in.”

Roles for Women Hired Locally Increase by 20%

We’re also very happy to report that a recent snapshot of the stats for roles for women cast out of Cast Iron Studios shows an increase in roughly 20% over the past couple of years—and we’re determined and passionate about keeping this momentum going in all areas.

However, there’s still plenty of work to be done, as the stats for women across the board in Film/TV are still pretty dire, both in front of and behind the camera.

According to a recent study by The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, male leads vastly outnumber female leads—71.3% compared to 28.8%—over a ten year span. This means that men’s stories were featured twice as often as women’s stories.

Behind the camera, according to a survey released by the Center for the Study of Women in TV/Film at San Diego State University, “The Celluloid Ceiling” by Martha M. Lauzen, Ph.D., women made up only 20% of all the directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors and cinematographers who worked on the top 250 films in the last year.

In the words of Geena Davis:

“How do we encourage a lot more girls to inspire to lead? By casting droves of women in STEM, politics, law and other professions today in movies.” 

For women, performers of color, LGBTQIA+ performers, and performers with disabilities, here’s to (cast) ironing out the gaps!

Happy International Women’s Day!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Cast Iron Studios announces 2018 Talent Diversity Initiative Scholars

by Cast Iron Studios Staff

While TNT is no longer participating as a fiscal sponsor of Cast Iron Studios’ Talent Diversity Initiative (TDI), the Portland Film Office and Oregon Film Office both expressed a wish to continue supporting the program, whose goal is to increase opportunities for actors of color in our market.

Thanks to them, and to the generous sponsorship of several of our top local acting coaches, including Katie O’Grady of The Studio NW/Acting for Kids & Teens, Ted Rooney, Scott Rogers Studios, Kristina Haddad of The Actor’s Lab, and Shelly Lipkin, we were able to offer scholarships to 17 local actors to attend the acting course of their choice.

Special thanks go out to Brian Lord of the Portland Film Office/Prosper Portland, who encouraged us to keep the program going, even if on a smaller scale; to Tim Williams, Executive Director of Oregon Film, for his unwavering support over the years; and to the coaches, who helped us to nearly double the value of our available funds.

We are thrilled to have these wonderful and talented actors as part of this year’s Talent Diversity Initiative!

Kady Lorenz
Eva Calderon
Kayla Banks
Angela Chandra
Anthony Martore
Bobbi Mackenzie
Billy Boudavong
Tom Avila
Connie Wellman

Grace London
Tonea Lolin
James Dixon
Jenny Meeker
Renee Rose
Gihee Jong
Noelle Rainey
Anna Clark


From left to right: Kady Lorenz, Eva Calderon, Kayla Banks, Angela Chandra, Anthony Martore, Bobbi Mackenzie, Billy Boudavong, Tom Avila, Connie Wellman, Grace London, Tonea Lolin, James Dixon, Jenny Meeker, Renee Rose, Gihee Jong, Noelle Rainey, and Anna Clark.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Another Successful Year for the NW Talent Diversity Initiative

by Georgia Luke

It’s a wrap!

On November 12th, the 2016 Talent Diversity Initiative students completed their six-week program with a reception at Cast Iron Studios.
Our 32 first-year students were joined by a group of 16 intermediate students who were able to come back for more training, thanks to the support and generosity of the Portland Film Office and the Governor’s Office of Film and Television.
tdi-class-a
The need for more diverse actors in shows like The Librarians and Grimm is what led to the creation of the Initiative in 2015.
Turner Network Television, whose series The Librarians shoots in Portland, has been a primary financial partner in the project both years, thanks to their Manager of Casting, Alexis Booth.
Additional support was provided by Milagro Theatre, The August Wilson Red Door Project and Artists Repertory Theatre.
tdi-class-b
The TDI has been lucky enough to provide excellent coaching by some of Portland’s best: Scott Rogers of Scott Rogers Studios and Jana Lee Hamblin of Act Now Studio returned this year to teach our intermediate program. Kristina Haddad of The Actor’s Lab Portland, and Ben Newman of Portland Actors Conservatory came on board in 2016 to work with our first-year students.
Their passion and enthusiasm was contagious, which really helped spark the desire to succeed in their students. Ben recently wrote:

“Being asked to teach–anything really–but especially something I’ve spent the majority of my life pursuing, is the greatest affirmation one can hope for. Empowering ‘young’ actors to reach full potential has quickly become the most rewarding thing in my life over the past few years. This group was no exception. Humility is key, but I’d venture to say that a few of these people had some big moments of self discovery. It also seems like they made some new and important friendships.”

As part of the application process, the nominees were able to list what specific things they felt they needed to work on in order to become more successful. Acting on camera, audition jitters, memorizing lines and taking direction are just a few examples of skills that they wanted to work on. Coaches Ben Newman and Kristina Haddad took this list into consideration when they planned their classes.
lv-at-tdi
The first-year program culminated on Saturday with mock auditions, two break-out sessions on special skills by Fight Choreographer Kendall Wells and Dialect Coach Mary MacDonald-Lewis, a Q&A with the Cast Iron Studios team, plus special guest speaker Norberto Barba, Director and Executive Producer on five seasons of Grimm. Norberto serves on the DGA Diversity Committee, as well as their Latino Committee and Creative Rights Committee, and shared invaluable information with our graduates.
screen-shot-2016-11-15-at-5-03-07-pm
The second-year students joined our first-year students at a post-graduation reception at CIS.

party

Cast Iron Studios is committed to promoting a diverse and inclusive talent pool in the Northwest, and wants to thank all of its generous sponsors. We would love to see this program expand and flourish in the coming years, perhaps one day becoming its own entity!
PS: Check out our full photo gallery here, courtesy of NebCat Photography.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Cast Iron Studios, TNT & Film Offices team up to repeat Talent Diversity Initiative

by Georgia Luke

Last year, Cast Iron Studios and TNT–along with Act Now Studio and Scott Rogers Studios–hosted the first Northwest Talent Diversity Initiative. The 36-hour intensive acting course gave 32 performers of color the opportunity to hone their chops with two of Portland’s finest acting coaches and a myriad of guest speakers, at no cost to the actors.

Within weeks of graduation, the Class of 2015 began reporting an increase in their callback and booking rates on film, television, web and commercial projects. Cast Iron Studios therefore set out to repeat the initiative this year.

TNT agreed to return as the program’s main financial partner, thanks to Manager of Casting Alexis Booth, allowing Cast Iron Studios to send 32 new actors through the intensive this fall.

tdi-class-of-2016

Acting coaches Kristina Haddad of the Actor’s Lab, and Ben Newman of Portland Actors Conservatory–both experienced performers in their own right–will be leading two classes composed of 16 actors each.

The success of the program also garnered the attention of the Portland Film Office and the Governor’s Office of Film and Television, who both stepped up to provide additional funding to bring last year’s graduates back for an intermediate class. Sixteen students will be returning this fall to undertake 36 more hours of training, under the tutelage of coaches Jana Lee Hamblin and Scott Rogers.

tdi-intermediate-class-of-2016

 

Participating actors were nominated by their agents as committed and talented individuals who would benefit from the initiative.

In-kind sponsors this year include The August Wilson Red Door Project, Artists Repertory Theatre and Teatro Milagro, without whose assistance this initiative would not be possible.

 

 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

KPTV covers Talent Diversity Initiative Graduation at Cast Iron Studios

by ranielle

On Saturday, November 21st, the 32 actors from our Class of 2015 Talent Diversity Initiative graduated at Cast Iron Studios.

The fun-filled day featured mock auditions, a Q&A with the team at CIS, and guest speakers Mary McDonald-Lewis (dialect coach), Kendall Wells (fight choreographer and instructor), and Grimm Executive Producer Norberto Barba.

The celebration ended with a press reception, with guests including Mayor and First Lady Hales, Representative Lew Frederick, Portland Development Commission’s Brian Lord, Portland City Council candidate Fred Stewart and many others.

We had a blast producing this Initiative, along with our partners at TNT, Act Now Studio and Scott Rogers Studios. Here’s to making it a yearly event!
KPTV – FOX 12

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

XRAY FM’s Jenn Chavez covers the Talent Diversity Initiative

by ranielle

xrayfm

Lana Veenker, the President of Cast Iron Studios, discusses diversity in Oregon film and television casting and her studio’s Talent Diversity Initiative with Jenn Chavez of XRAY FM’s The Five Quadrants of Portland. Running through October and November and culminating in a graduation on November 21st, the Initiative offered intensive acting training and coaching at no cost to Oregon actors of color, whom she’s found have been underrepresented in the top acting schools and acting classes, places that are often the gateway to talent representation and introduction to casting directors.  She argues that these and other barriers faced by actors of color can make diverse casting in Oregon a challenge, and hopes that graduates of the initiative are provided with the tools and confidence to book roles in regional film and television.

(Interview on 11/19/15; story starts at ~51:13)

 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Talent Diversity Initiative Coach: Jana Lee Hamblin

by Kelsey Norene

Meet our Talent Diversity Initiative Class of 2015 acting coach, Jana Lee Hamblin, owner/founder of Act Now Studio.

Jana Lee Hamblin 2Jana brings 20 years of experience, along with a true love of acting to create an environment for the actors that is wildly safe and groundbreaking. Her commitment to each student builds confidence and trust in the simplest of ways. Her ability to see each actor with clarity and love is what makes her classes unique.

Jana is known to be the person that can work with actors at all levels. As a working actor herself, Jana stays current with what is happening in the audition room now. She’s teaching our Talent Diversity Initiative actors how to walk into a casting office and to be of service – to the character, to the scene, to the director, to the moment.

From script analysis to finding the way the writer wants the text to be spoken, Jana is teaching our actors tools that are guaranteed help them to go from audition, to callback, to booked it! Using various techniques, her goal is to help our TDI actors get to the place where they can seamlessly fulfill a role; be it co-star or guest star.

Jana is high energy, engages with the actors, helps them connect with each other, and encourages everyone to get on their feet and be willing to fall on their face. She does repetition warm ups, cold reading exercises, on camera slates, mock auditions, and physical workouts that keep the actors bodies energized. She is helping our TDI actors learn how to have a strong point of view about the world around them, as this is one of the essential keys to good audition work!

Thanks, Jana, for your commitment to our program and to the community!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Talent Diversity Initiative Coach: Scott Rogers

by Kelsey Norene

Meet our Talent Diversity Initiative Class of 2015 acting coach, Scott Rogers of Scott Rogers Studios!

scott-rogersScott served as Acting Coach for 20th Century Fox Studios under a 3-year, exclusive contract, coaching actors for film and television projects. Scott has coached principal actors, for more than 3000 hours on the sets of motion pictures and national television shows. He has produced, cast, and/or directed more than 100 professional productions and written, directed, and produced dozens of TV commercials. He was the full-time, on-set, Acting Coach for the TV series North Shore and was previously the full-time Acting Coach for the hit TV show Baywatch. In 1994, after living and working in Los Angeles for more than 25 years, Scott moved to Hawai`i with his wife, Jeanne, in order to raise their (soon to be) two children in a safe and sane environment. They opened their school in 2000, to train actors for film and television. Scott has extended his school’s teaching to Portland, Oregon and serves as an acting coach in both regions!

Scott is using exercises from all around the world to help our Talent Diversity Initiative actors work more efficiently on camera and develop a deeper understanding of how to get from a page in a script to a real and captivating character that draws the audience in. Pulling from the teachings of masters such as Constantine Stanislavski, Lee Strasberg, Sanford Meisner, and Michael Chekhov, Scott uses text analysis, scene study, audition drills, camera exercises, specially designed improvisations, physical and imagination exercises to give actors the ability to trigger real and truthful emotions on demand.

His students are about halfway through the training program now, and we can’t wait to see how their skills have improved.

For more information about Scott and his acting classes, check out his website. Thanks, Scott, for being a part of our Initiative!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Portland Radio Project features Diversity Initiative Coach Jana Lee Hamblin

by admin

UPDATE: In case you missed it, here’s the link to Jana’s interview on Biz503! Her segment starts at 20:29.

Be sure to tune in on Friday, October 23rd at 1:00 PM to Portland Radio Project‘s new show, Biz503, talking about jobs in the arts.

Jana Lee Hamblin

Our Talent Diversity Initiative acting coach Jana Lee Hamblin of Act Now Studio is one of the guests, along with Portlandia producer David Cress, RACC Executive Director Eloise Damrosch and several others. Rebecca Web is the host.

PRP.fm is a music-based station, with a mission of giving a voice to local artists, nonprofits and businesses. With deep roots in the local music and nonprofit communities, they are now focusing on the the third prong of their mission: local small businesses and startups.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

More Good Day Oregon on NW Talent Diversity Initiative

by admin

In case you missed it, here’s the segment about our Talent Diversity Initiative on More Good Day Oregon with Stephanie Kralevich, which aired on KPTV Fox 12 on Tuesday, October 20th:

Portland Casting Director Lana Veenker of Cast Iron Studios is partnering with TNT on a talent diversity initiative that provides acting opportunities for local actors.

KPTV – FOX 12

Link to source.

Monday, October 19, 2015

NW Talent Diversity Initiative on More Good Day Oregon!

by admin

Stephanie Kralevich stopped by our studios recently to interview students from our Northwest Talent Diversity Initiative Class of 2015!

Stephanie KralevichBe sure to tune into More Good Day Oregon on KPTV/Fox 12 this Tuesday, October 20th, 2015 at 9:00 AM.

We are the lead story, so don’t be late!

Please spread the word!