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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Slate Please!

by admin

Greetings!

Just a quick fly-by here. The wrap party for “Paranoid Park” was last weekend; it was really fun to see all the kids and meet their parents, reconnect with the crew, and celebrate our hard work. Can’t wait to see how the film turns out! Sounds like the shoot went exceptionally well, so everyone’s excited to see the results.

We’re starting on a new feature film for Lakeshore Entertainment, “Untraceable”” starring Diane Lane. Have got several other independent films underway and the usual slew of commercial clients. It’s a conveyer belt!

I shot down to LA last week to do some casting down there and got to drop in on a few casting directors I know and catch up with friends. Had to cut my trip short, though, when I heard the wrap party was moved to Saturday: After 14 weeks on Paranoid Park, I wasn’t going to miss that, so I flew back early to attend!

Oh, and we’ve finally entered the digital age and got our new website up and running. It’s mainly geared towards clients, but kinda fun to check out. I hope I don’t get an onslaught of emails from actors in Romania and Venezuela, wanting us to cast them in our next Lottery commercial….it doesn’t really work like that, guys! If you’re not local, it’s not likely we can use you. 😉

Off to work!

Later,

Lana

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Paranoid Park Update

by admin

For those who have been eager for news on “Paranoid Park”:

26 of the roles have been booked.

A few remaining principal roles are currently in contract negotiations.

Background roles may still be available (although not through my office, so don’t write to me; I can’t help you! Sorry!).

Congrats to the cast and break a leg (but not really…it’s hard to skate on crutches!)

Lana

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Rock the Djembe!

by admin

I suppose it’s time for a long overdue update.

Where did I leave off? Oh yeah, “Paranoid Park.”

🙂

We’re getting closer to having a cast. No one has been booked yet, but a few favorites are starting to rise to the surface. We’ll see how it pans out.

Since then, we’ve also worked on a Nike job for Wieden + Kennedy, tied up a few loose ends on “Feast of Love,” cast a print job for Saturn Outlook, several infomercials, a few hospital spots, a home gym show and a video game commercial. Also have a handful of screenplays on my desk that I keep trying to get to. Ack.

More importantly, though, I held a fundraiser for Run for Congo Women and did my first trail run for a cause (a whopping 5.5 miles, but hey, it was HILLY and I hadn’t had time to train!). I think I raised a lot of money for the cause (thanks to all the theatre and film industry folks who sponsored me and to Toby Christensen who provided incredible healing djembe music at the shindig–you’re all so amazing!), but I still have to sit down and figure out the numbers.

The run itself was a very emotional experience, knowing that each mile I ran, several families were going to be affected. As Run for Congo Women founder Lisa Shannon put it, it was like carrying some of the burden for the people of war-torn DRC.

Next up on the philanthropic calendar will probably be some get-out-the-vote efforts. It’s almost that time, people! Your voice matters!

Ciao for now,

Lana

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Last Gus Van Sant Casting Call for Skaters & Teens

by admin

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Last Chance for Regional Skateboarders and Teens to try out for Gus Van Sant’s “Paranoid Park” on August 15

Filmmaker Hopes to Find Fresh Talent for Lead and Supporting Roles in New Independent Film

Portland, Ore. – August 15, 2006 – Today, the final open casting call for filmmaker Gus Van Sant’s upcoming independent film “Paranoid Park” will take place from 2 p.m. – 7 p.m. at the Ambridge Event Center (300 NE Multnomah St, Portland, Ore., 97232), announced Portland’s Lana Veenker Casting.

According to casting director Lana Veenker, the locally-based filmmaker is on the lookout for fresh talent for the film’s lead and supporting roles. “None of the roles have been filled as of yet,” says Veenker. “Any kid walking in off the street has a shot at getting cast.”

“Paranoid Park,” based on the novel by Blake Nelson, is the story of a teenage skateboarder who accidentally kills a security guard and has to figure out what to do when police start to investigate.

The August 15 casting call is open to skateboarders age 14-30 and students age 14-18 to fill nearly twenty roles for both males and females. Filming is set to begin in October of 2006 in Portland.

For up-to-the-minute information, interested parties may call the Paranoid Park Hotline at 503.222.2462 or visit http://www.myspace.com/ParanoidPark.

###

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Casting Teens for Gus!

by admin

At long last, I’m poking my head back in here. Clearly, blogging is not my medium. 😐 Mea culpa.

I’ll quickly summarize the whirlwind of the past few months, so I can update you on the latest news:

May 2006:

We were hired to do the Oregon and Washington casting on a Morgan Freeman movie for Lakeshore Entertainment, called “Feast of Love,” based on the Charles Baxter novel. Actually, we’re still working on it. It’s been great working with the producers, crew and the very lovely Robert Benton who is directing. Just one last session this weekend and we should be about done.

June 2006:

Besides the regular commercial biz coming in, we did a major spot for Nike, requiring 150 talent for a night shoot at a shopping mall. Oy! I won’t even go into the craziness of that gig; I’ll just say that I bow to the producer for pulling it off with such class. If WE thought it was insanity, I can’t even imagine what HIS job was like.

We also managed to cast a few indie shorts, a music video, a couple TV pilots and some educational stuff, but the big fun came working on James Westby’s new feature “The Auteur” (based on his short by the same title). Hilarious script. I can’t wait to see how it turns out!! And I think I can pretty safely say that, after working on that film, I’m probably the only person on the planet who has been embraced by Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama…and porn star Ron Jeremy(!). But those stories are for another day.

July 2006:

We actually got FOUR whole days off on the 4th of July holiday, so that was amazing and fun. We picked up on “Feast of Love” again when we got back, finished up bookings on “The Auteur” and scrambled through several more commercial gigs, before getting a call from Gus Van Sant’s producer about casting his new film, “Paranoid Park,” based on the Blake Nelson novel.

I don’t have a lot of time to go into it now, because we’re heading into MAJOR cattle calls on August 3rd and 5th to find teens for the film, but anyone interested can check out the MySpace page we’ve set up:


www.myspace.com/ParanoidPark

We need 14-18 year olds of all types, plus we’re going to need skateboarders 14-30 at our next cattle call on August 15th. Check it out and tell everyone you know!

Later!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The movies are coming! The movies are coming!

by admin

Hello all.

I just flew back from Europe yesterday, after a two-week vacation in Germany and Italy. It was lovely, and unlike last year, I actually GOT a vacation. Faithful readers may recall that we landed a CBS/Hallmark movie-of-the-week last time I tried to take some time off, and I spent the end of my vacation talking to my office for hours on my cell phone (international roaming–OUCH!).

Well, we did get several requests for resumes while I was out of town this time, but that was easy enough to handle from the laptop. Got the word on my last day in Italy that three of the four features we are up for have been greenlighted, and the forth has been pushed, but supposedly still happening. Commercials show no sign of slowing down, either. Read: BUSY SUMMER.

I was very glad that business was slow while I was gone, because my staff needed a break. They were on the verge of collapse. Well, they got two quiet weeks with the boss gone (read: two-hour lunches and midday hair appointments…I’m onto you guys!), but now they are complaining that they’re bored and can’t wait for it to be busy again.

Sick puppies. They don’t realize that we aren’t going to sleep until November, once it kicks in. But they seem to thrive on 14-hour days, so who am I to complain? 😉

On my trip, I visited family in Weimar, former East Germany. Made trips to Buchenwald concentration camp (eww), Erfurt (charming) and Berlin (cool, but cold and wet when we were there).

Then flew to Pisa and had a lovely week in Tuscany–SIGH! We rented an apartment in Florence and turned that town upside down (the SHOES, my God!! The shoes! Oh yeah, and the museums. But the shoes. I was drooling over the shoes. Oh, and the gelato. Mmm.).

Also visited Siena, Lucca, San Gimignano and Via Reggiano. All fantastically lovely with wonderful people, food and wine. Great weather. Entirely too many tourists, but what can you do?

Each city looked like the set of any number of Shakespeare plays (Two Gents, Merchant of Venice, R&J, etc.). I fell in love. My office is lucky I came home. 😉

This week, we’ll be strategizing for the summer rush. I’m bracing for it. Just hope I get a few days to recover from jetlag before I have to use my brain too much.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Hugs and Laughter in the Audition Room

by admin

Anyone still reading? [cringe]

I’ve been at the office for 14 hours today. Anyone in their right mind would go home, but I saw a comment someone posted here and it made me feel guilty for such an extended absence.

Here’s the update:

We had a short lull, but now we’re in full swing again. Finishing up on a few commercials from last month and working on several new ones that just came in. Two projects got postponed–thank goodness, because there was no room left on the calendar and we’re all on the verge of collapse. But the other jobs are all a lot of fun.

The project we cast today called for an actor with Down Syndrome and all the young men we saw were positively delightful! They were having so much fun with the process that it put all the other actors (normally a tad nervous in the audition room) at ease. Each audition ended with a lot of hugs, applause and laughter.

We’ve got one tomorrow that calls for a comedian, so that will be a kick, and Thursday’s project is also a comedic spot, with Friday and Saturday callbacks for both spots. Nice way to end a (long) week.

I did catch some theatre and screenings over the past few weeks, though: Saw a production of “Crowns” by Regina Taylor (of “The Color Purple” fame) with great music and an excellent cast. Got to go out with the cast afterwards, too; all of them fantastic artists. That was fun.

Also went to see a production of Frozen by Bryony Lavery with a friend and mentor who is on the drama critics committee for our citywide theatre awards.

In addition, I managed to attend to the opening of a new play, a dance performance, the birthday party of a local musical theatre actress (OMG, you can imagine the entertainment with all of her equally talented friends in attendance!), two screenings of films by local filmmakers (one of which I cast), a graduation showcase at the Art Institute, and the monologue finals at one of our universities, for which I was an auditor.

Oh, and I finally saw Brokeback Mountain. Good flick, but I wish I hadn’t known so much about it going in. There weren’t many surprises for me. Eh. [shrug]

Met with the president of our local theatre arts association about a fundraiser I’m putting on next Monday. It’s to raise money for actors in crisis and we’ve decided to to an awards show! There have already been 100+ RSVPs, so it should be a blast. I’ll give a full report later.

Well, hopefully I will: I leave for Europe six days after the party, so knowing me, I’ll fall behind again, oh faithful readers. I apologize in advance.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Catching up on Oscar

by admin

We seem to have settled into a more manageable pace, but of course, as soon as I say that, the floodgates will burst.

All kinds of commercial work going on. Just had some clients in from Denver shooting two spots. Great people, lots of fun to work with. I meant to drop by the set over the weekend to steal some of their craft service (actually, they invited me), but a lovely friend and colleague gave me courtside tickets to the NBA game! 😮 Couldn’t pass that up!

Now I’m balancing days between keeping up with work and trying to unpack boxes at my new place. Finally got the ‘puter up and running and the wireless working, so it’s starting to feel like home, except that I still can’t get into my kitchen, LOL!

The Oscar party on the 5th was fun. I spent the whole day finishing up my move, so I got home exhausted and covered in soot from cleaning the fireplace at the old place, but I took a quick shower, threw on a dress and made it to the reception a mere hour late. 😉

But I’m so glad I went! I talked about voice casting with one of the animators on the Oscar-winning “Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit”, right after her film won. Also got asked by another Oscar-winner if I’d speak to a class of filmmakers he’s working with at the Art Institute about casting. No prob! The mayor, one of our congressmen, and my fave city commissioner were there, but they were all busy getting schmoozed. The food was fantastic. Oyster shooters for days and wine à volonté! Lots of colleagues and interesting new people to talk to. Needless to say, I didn’t get to watch much of the awards show…. 😮 Anyone care to comment on Best Picture?

This weekend, I spent about an hour on the phone with my good friend, the casting director of NBC’s Medium. I know an actress who may be right for one of the roles on an upcoming episode, so I arranged for them to meet in LA. We shall see!

More soon….

Wednesday, March 8, 2006

A Casting Tsunami

by admin

Good thing I posted the last entry when I did, because we got SWAMPED within a few days afterwards. That’s how it usually goes in production: a lull, followed by a veritable flood.

The phone began ringing on the 16th of February and it hasn’t stopped since. Naturally, this was right at the time I was closing on my new place and trying to move. 😐 Right now, I have ten open jobs on my desk, so I don’t think I’ll be unpacking for quite some time.

The movies have been slow to kick in this year, but at least the commercial world is hopping.

We’re still waiting to finish up on the rather large industrial video we’ve been working on for a local hospital. Shoot dates keep getting pushed, so we haven’t been able to firmly book anyone. We’ve also got an infomercial with endlessly changing dates, so we keep having to change the actors’ avails on that, too, but no worries. It’s all in a day’s work. 🙂

Did some kids casting for another long-form spot a few weeks ago, and now we’re seeing more kids for the same client on a different job tomorrow. This, in addition to a couple commercials for a major video game client (which we cast in two cities simultaneously), two for a telecommunications company, one more hospital spot, two for a new East Coast newspaper that is launching soon, two more infomercials, a VO job for a utilities company and an educational video.

The biggest surprise came a week or so ago, when I got a phone call from someone speaking Spanish on a cell phone in Santiago, Chile. At first I thought it was some kind of joke when they said they needed a casting director up here, but it was a real gig and for a big client: A Colgate spot for all of Latin America! 😮 So we spent a few days tracking down 19- to 22-year-old female kayakers with perfect smiles, all up and down the West Coast for them. Great fun.

Bad news is that one of the Hollywood features we were up for went away. Oh well. I’m supposed to meet with another producer here pretty soon about a film coming to town. Don’t have much info yet, but the producer’s great, so I’m sure it will be a blast.

My online course is plugging along. Had a great group in the last section, with some very motivated students whom I’m confident are going to see results from the tools we’ve been learning about. One was taking the course to help her granddaughter, who plans to audition for Disney soon. Another was just launching her career, but what a fast learner! She’s miles ahead of where she was six weeks ago.

Ack! Just got an email about another infomercial. I was going to write about the Oscar party I went to on the 5th, but that will have to wait.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Citywide Generals

by admin

Just spent the weekend in a dark theatre, watching close to 180 actors perform nearly 360 monologues for the citywide general theatre auditions.

And guess what? There were a lot of great, new people. I’m psyched!

Hardly a one of them came off as nervous. Maybe a couple were a bit green or underprepared, but for the most part, everyone did a fine job. Many even knocked it out of the ballpark.

Here are some of the monologues we saw a lot of this time around (not necessarily a bad thing, but I’d be careful about choosing a popular piece, unless I were pretty sure that no one before or after me could do it better!):

* Henry V (Chorus)
* All’s Well That Ends Well (Helena: “I love your son…”)
* Reindeer Soup (the elephant getting shot by poachers)
* Baby With The Bath Water (Daisy confronting his mom on the fact that he’s a boy)
* Crimes of the Heart (Babe telling how she shot her husband)
* An Ideal Husband (Mabel: “Well, Tommy has proposed to me again….”)
* Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (the “dead in a box” scene)
* The Rivals (Mrs. Malaprop)

A few other plays that popped up rather frequently were:

* As You Like It
* Bright Room Called Day
* Measure for Measure
* Richard III

Overall, I was very pleased with the variety of material and the level of professionalism we saw. Well worth the auditors’ time.

This afternoon, I’m coaching a young girl I know for her audition for “Midsummer Night’s Dream.” I think she’d make a fantastic Puck, although I think she’s going for one of the other roles. Too fun!

More later….

Thursday, February 9, 2006

Business Lunch

by admin

Fly-by alert. I’m on my way to have lunch with a producer from one of the biggest ad agencies around, so mustn’t dally!!

January was a little slow to kick in, but we ended up casting a music video, a sportswear spot, a handful of Lottery commercials, a couple infomercials, a healthcare training video that called for 20+ actors and a few other small projects.

I’ve also been squeezing in some theatre. Saw a production of Chekhov’s “The Seagull” and Tom Stoppard’s “The Real Inspector Hound” last week. Tonight, I’m seeing a one-man show and something else on Friday. Then auditing the citywide theatre auditions on Saturday and Sunday.

The big news is that we got called about casting a major feature with several name actors already attached. Fingers crossed on that one. Somehow the papers know more about it than I do; they’ve been calling and we haven’t even been awarded the job yet! Sheesh.

Word is that there’s more where that came from, too. Everyone in the know seems to think it’s going to be a big year, so we’re gearing up and increasing capacity accordingly. I just got the keys to our two new offices (an extra office/mini-studio and a recording booth for VO, actually), new staff is being trained and we’re investing in a lot of new equipment.

Let’s hear it for a prosperous 2006 for everyone!

More later….

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Same old, same old

by admin

Well, heck. December turned out to be busier than expected. I thought we were going to sail right through the holidays without much fuss, but everyone called a week or so before Christmas with rush jobs. Of course.

First, I was asked to teach another class at the Art Institute for their directing students in the Media Arts program. Always good fun. I walked them through the casting process, since they are working on producing and directing their first films.

I also attended the Film Office annual meeting, where we rubbed shoulders with the Governor, a few State Senators (who helped create and pass a new film-friendly bill that should bring lots of production here over the next few years–yeay!), and the odd Oscar-nominated, Palme D’Or winning-director who sits on the board of the Film Office.

Then we got the national campaign we were waiting on. It required a bunch of three- and four-year-olds, and some actresses to play moms. Luckily, the kids casting was turned over to a “baby wrangler” (who KNEW there was such a profession?!?). She saw about 300 kids, if memory serves, over a few days of open calls. We saw a ton of women for the moms, and clients eventually settled on two. The whole process of casting and callbacks and second callbacks and bookings took about a month to complete.

Meanwhile, we got a job for a high-speed Internet company, another spot promoting a health supplement, and a voice casting job for Disney World. And they ALL needed it before Christmas, so we had to hustle.

Got those taken care of, then I managed to sneak out of town over the holidays for a few days of skiing. Yeay!

Finished off the year with a few more parties and networking events, and by spending lots of money on new equipment and furniture. Yes, we’re expanding: I’m taking on two more offices in my building this month. Still have painting and stuff to do before we can move in, but we’re gearing up.

I’m afraid I don’t have much other news to share. I did watch most of the Golden Globes the other night. Still haven’t seen “Brokeback Mountain,” but I might have to make a point of it now.

My online course has a lively group in one of the sections this month. I have a few moms taking the course for their kids, and some adults with varying levels of on-camera experience. It’s fun when everyone’s motivated and making things happen for their career.

Been getting a few calls about upcoming casting jobs, so stand by for more!