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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Casting Call in Lincoln City, Oregon for Charlize Theron Film

by admin

“The Burning Plain” will shoot in Portland and Lincoln City in January 2008

PORTLAND, ORE. Rutabaga Background Casting, a division of Lana Veenker Casting, announced today that an extras casting call for a new feature film entitled “The Burning Plain” will take place at the Hotel Chinook Winds Ballroom, 1501 NW 40th Place, Lincoln City, Oregon 97367 on Saturday, December 15th from 10am to 6pm.

The Burning Plain” is the directorial debut of acclaimed screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga (“Babel,” “21 Grams”). Filming is slated to shoot in Oregon for ten days in January 2008. The film is currently shooting on location in New Mexico and is headlined by Academy Award-winning actress Charlize Theron.

Extras Casting Director Diana Hammons says that the Portland-based extras company is primarily seeking Lincoln City residents who are business professional types (ages 18 and older) to appear in an upscale restaurant scene. Owners of luxury or high-end cars in Lincoln City are also encouraged to apply, as their vehicles may be seen in the restaurant parking lot. Finally, several Latino extras (ages 18 and older) will be required in both Portland and Lincoln City. There is no charge to be considered for any role.

Lincoln City residents who would like to be considered for the film should attend the December 15th casting call (ideally in their best professional or cocktail garb, if applying for the restaurant scene, or casual wear, if applying for the Latino roles) to have their photos taken and fill out a casting information sheet.

There is no Portland casting call anticipated at this time, but interested Portland residents may submit their photos and casting information via email, by following the instructions on the Rutabaga Background Casting website at

Additional information about working as an extra is also available on the Rutabaga MySpace page at


Thursday, December 6, 2007

Long Overdue

by admin

Time for an update!

We had an absolute blast working with Stephen Belber, Nan Morales, Jordana Glick-Franzheim and the rest of the team on “Management“. Can’t wait for another opportunity.

Jennifer Aniston and Steve Zahn were loads of fun on and off duty–and such pros to boot. I only got to meet the other leads briefly, but we hope the entire cast enjoyed their time in Oregon! We certainly loved having them here.

Next up is “The Burning Plain” by Guillermo Arriaga, starring Charlize Theron. We’re looking at just a few people for them, since most of the shoot takes place in New Mexico. But our background casting division will be handling the extras in Portland and Lincoln City. Info will be posted on the Rutabaga website and MySpace page.

Commercials have been busy recently with multiple projects for Nintendo, and clients like Samsung, HP, Adidas, Intel, Oregon Lottery, Microsoft, etc. Of course, they all seem to kick in at the same time after a lull! I keep telling producers to confer amongst themselves and spread the jobs out equally throughout the year, but that never seems to happen….

The New Year is gearing up to be busy as well, with a few features sniffing around, a handful of indie scripts (which I still need to read) and a possible music video. So we’ll be hitting the ground running after the holidays.

Speaking of holidays, we had a fun Argentine-themed client appreciation party last week, called “Noche de Luna”. The high-heeled shoes and fedoras were fantastic, and our 200 guests were even treated to a celebrity appearance or two, before the night was through. Here’s a shout out to the talented tango dancers who added to the ambiance and to Ron Toms and the staff of rontoms for all their help. You rock!

Here are a few photos of the festivities:

Stylist Kathleen Chetlain and Photographer Frank di Marco
Actor John Breen and Director James Westby
Director David Poulshock and Literary Agent Moreen Littrell
Music Manager Ken Erlich and Casting Director Lana Veenker
The ever-festive David and Sara Dochow, Set Designers
Casting Director Lana Veenker and Actor Steve Zahn
Producer Juliana Lukasik and Director Todd Korgan


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Paranoid Park en France

by admin

Paranoid Park was released in France this week. Hopefully, we’ll see it soon in theatres on this side of the pond!

Alex, jeune skateur, tue accidentellement un agent de sécurité tout près du terrain de skate le plus malfamé de Portland, le Paranoid Park. Il décide de ne rien dire.

Festival de Cannes
Prix du 60e Anniversaire

I’m getting reports from Orléans (the French town I was an exchange student in many moons ago) that the poster is hanging outside the movie theatre I used to go to as a student. Way cool!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Untraceable…coming to theatres soon!

by admin

The upcoming Diane Lane film, directed by Gregory Hoblit, that we cast in Oregon last year:

The film is set for release in January of 2008. We can’t wait! Allison Burnett’s script was tight; the cast and crew were a pleasure to work with. We hope it’s a huge success.

Thanks to Hawk Koch, Greg Hoblit and Lakeshore Entertainment for the stellar experience.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Just Say "Rutabaga"

by admin

Just Say “Rutabaga”
New Background Casting Division seeks Extras for Jennifer Aniston Film
Sept 17, 2007

PORTLAND, ORE. Lana Veenker Casting announced today the launch of a new extras casting division, Rutabaga Background Casting. Its first assignment will be to provide background actors for “Management,” the upcoming Stephen Belber film starring Jennifer Aniston and Steve Zahn, which is slated to start shooting in Oregon in October.

Rutabaga Background Casting (named for the indistinguishable background chatter–“Rutabaga, rutabaga, rutabaga”–that extras are often asked to utter in crowd scenes) is teaming up on the film with Diana Hammons as its extras casting director. Hammons began her career in extras casting assisting on the Gus Van Sant film “Elephant” and went on to work in production on several other prominent films, such as “Memoirs of a Geisha,” “Bobby” and “Untraceable,” starring Diane Lane.

“This collaboration will pair Diana’s expertise and passion for background casting with our resources, reputation and infrastructure,” says company founder Lana Veenker.

Rutabaga is seeking people age 18 and older to depict a variety of background characters in office, street and restaurant scenes in both Portland and Madras, as well as special ability extras, such as female soccer players and Asian males to portray volleyball-playing Buddhist monks. There is no charge to be considered for any role.

Interested adults can contact Diana Hammons at 503-274-4050 or More information is available on the Rutabaga MySpace page at


Rutabaga Background Casting
A division of Lana Veenker Casting
2580 NW Upshur Street
Portland, OR 97210

503-274-4050 tel
503-224-5249 fax

Monday, September 3, 2007

Headshots are Great. Buzz is Better!

by admin

[W]hen we receive general submissions from an actor we haven’t met, yes, we look for good photos, solid training, and credits, but we also ask ourselves: Who is this person?

The Actors Voice
Lana Veenker’s POV: Portland
01 September 2007

Thinking of doing another round of headshot mailings?

Check out this article on Showfax at The Actors’ Voice – POV first.

(Casting Director Bonnie Gillespie was kind enough to commission another installment, after the one I wrote back in February on working as an actor in regional markets.)

Yeay, Bonnie!

Feel free to post questions or comments about the article here!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Lana Veenker Casting to provide local casting on "Management"

by admin

Portland actors will appear opposite Jennifer Aniston and Steve Zahn
August 27, 2007

Lana Veenker Casting announced today that it is beginning casting on the new Jennifer Aniston film, “Management.” The film, financed by Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and directed by Stephen Belber, features approximately 20 roles to be cast locally.

“Most of the actors will work for just one day,” says Casting Director Lana Veenker, “but the opportunity to perform opposite such A-list talent is priceless.”

The eight-year old casting company intends to draw primarily from Portland’s pool of professional union talent, but there are a few roles that present challenges.

“We need two senior Chinese actors to play the parents of Steve Zahn’s best friend” says Veenker, “and a 35- to 45-year-old Vietnamese actor to play a Buddhist monk who gives Zahn advice.”

Actors who meet the requirements for these three speaking roles can send their contact information to talent at The remaining roles will likely be cast through local talent agencies and the company’s database of professional actors.

Extras casting will be handled separately by a soon-to-be-announced company.

Lana Veenker Casting, Portland’s premier film and television casting company, was founded in 1999 and has cast over 400 projects, including several award-winning feature films and major international commercial campaigns.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Hold Onto Your Hats

by admin

The rest of 2007 looks GREAT for film production in Oregon!

We’ve already started casting on the new Jennifer Aniston flick, “Management”, starring Steve Zahn and directed by Stephen Belber.

And word from the Oregon Film & Video Office is that there are two more features on the way.

I got it straight from the horse’s mouth (i.e. Executive Director Steve Oster) at last Thursday’s press conference with Governor Ted Kulongoski, as the Governor was announcing the addition of actor Ed Asner (who was a hoot, by the way!) to the Film Office board of directors.

One of the films can’t be discussed yet, says Steve Oster. As for the other one: apparently, we should keep our eyes peeled towards the end of the year for a certain South African actress in town….

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Tip of the season: Your first day on set

by admin

One of the students in my online course (no longer available; see our Workshops page for current offerings) recently posted a question on the class discussion board that I thought others might benefit from. She was stressed about going to work on set for the first time and wondered what she could do to calm her nerves.

First, I recommended that she print out the Set Glossary and Etiquette cheat sheet provided in that week’s lesson and sneak it into her pocket to refer to in case of emergency. (Non-students could look for similar material in other film and television acting books.)

I also recommended that she tell the 2nd AD (or whomever she had been asked to report to) that this was her first time working on a film set.

It’s better to let those in charge know right up front, so they can take you under their wings, show you around, introduce you to others and make you feel welcome. That’s much better than pretending you’re jaded and know how things work, then have someone bark at you if you don’t understand an instruction or you step in the wrong place (which probably won’t happen, but I would be nervous the whole day that it would!).

By owning up to it right away, people will be extra friendly and your anxiety will disappear. I would even ask to be introduced to a more experienced talent who can show you the ropes. That way you can hang out with him or her all day, gain inside tips and follow his or her lead when you’re not sure what to do.

Here are a few more tips:

* Get lots of sleep the night before.

* If you have an early morning call, set TWO alarms, so you don’t oversleep.

* Make sure you know exactly how to get to set (some people even do trial runs the day before to make sure they won’t get lost on the day of the shoot).

* Plan to arrive on set 15 minutes BEFORE your call time. This gives you a nice cushion in case there’s traffic, shows that you’re a professional, and will hopefully give you a few minutes to start meeting people and asking questions before all the other extras with the same call time start arriving.

Nothing’s worse than arriving late and frazzled, when you’re already nervous about being on set. 🙂

* Don’t forget to bring a magazine or a crossword puzzle or some knitting to do, in case there’s a lot of waiting around. If it’s your first time on set, I’d suggest you try making connections with others, rather than zone out to music with your headphones on between shots. If you’re waiting somewhere where it’s not disruptive to the shoot or the crew, feel free to chat with the other talent and see what you can learn. You might even learn about more acting opportunities!

* Break a leg! (Just not by tripping over a lighting instrument, okay?)

Hope you find this helpful!


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Feature Fest!

by admin

Hey gang,

Things are finally getting back to normal. I had a lot of catching up to do after more than five weeks out of town. The bookkeeper came by and sorted through several months worth of credit card and bank statements. I’ve been following up with clients, sending thank you notes, issuing invoices, researching employee benefits, buying new office furnishings and other fun admin stuff.

Business is also picking up: We’ve got a feature and several commercials going on, and word is that more projects are on the way. We just finished casting for skateboarders again, interestingly, since the cast and crew premiere of “Paranoid Park” took place last night. It was great to see the film away from the glitter and nerves of Cannes, surrounded by friends and colleagues.

A few other features we worked on over the past year are nearing completion and we can hardly wait! “Selfless” by the Pander Brothers is one of them and “The Auteur” by James Westby is another. These guys are so talented and we had a blast working with them!

The “Feast of Love” trailer is starting to be seen in cinemas. Word is that it will be released in October.

“Follow the Profit”, directed by Drew Rosenberg, has wrapped principal photography and is in post.

Now where are those three NEW feature scripts we’ve heard are coming down the pike? Fingers crossed that they don’t all land in our inbox on the same day! 😮

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Paranoid Park Takes Home Special Prize from Cannes

by admin

“Jury President Stephen Frears awarded a 60th Anniversary Prize to Gus Van Sant for Paranoid Park.”

“Gus Van Sant accepted this Anniversary Award and expressed his appreciation: ‘Thanks, Stephen, and thanks to the Jury and thanks to the family Karmitz for backing this film. It had very humble beginnings and for the short film as well. Thanks to my producers. Of course thanks to Gilles Jacob and Thierry Frémaux for this Festival; it’s been a really good one this year. Thanks to Chris Doyle and Rain Li for the cinematography and Blake Nelson for writing the original book that it’s from and all the others who helped make it. Thank you.'”

Congrats to Gus, Blake, cast and crew!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Festival de Cannes

by admin

Bonjour from the Riviera! I’m in Cannes along with about 30 others from production for the screening of the Gus Van Sant film “Paranoid Park,” which we cast last year and which is competing for the top prize: the Palme d’Or.

I’ll be sending updates to Oregonian film critic Shawn Levy’s Mad About Movies blog, if you’d like to keep abreast of the developments.

A plus tard!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

La Croisette nous attend….

by admin

I’ll let others do the talking:

E! Online
Cannes Courts Quentin, Coens, Brangelina
by Josh Grossberg
Thu, 19 Apr 2007

The world’s biggest film fest will launch next month with a lineup that includes films from Quentin Tarantino, David Fincher, the Coen brothers and Gus Van Sant facing off for the illustrious Palme d’Or. […]

Van Sant, a 2003 Palme d’Or winner for his Columbine-channeling Elephant, is back with Paranoid Park, a new teen drama about a skateboarder who accidentally kills a security guard.
Read the rest of the article

Cannes lines up American feast
‘Nights’ opens festival, ‘Death Proof’ restored
by Alison James
Apr. 19, 2007

PARIS — The Stars and Stripes will be flying high over the Croisette when the Cannes Film Festival’s 60th anniversary edition unspools May 16-27.

High-profile U.S. helmers and stars – even some dead ones – are so prevalent, it would almost be easier to list those that won’t be there.

In a lineup of 21 competition titles, unveiled with the rest of the Official Selection in Paris on Thursday, there are no fewer than five American films: Joel and Ethan Coen’s “No Country for Old Men”; David Fincher’s “Zodiac”; James Gray’s “We Own the Night”; Quentin Tarantino’s “Death Proof,” in a version of his “Grindhouse” contribution with an extra 10-15 minutes of footage; and Gus Van Sant’s Paranoid Park.”

The Coen brothers, Tarantino and Van Sant are all previous Palme d’Or winners, while Fincher will be making his Cannes debut.
Read the rest of the article

The Hollywood Reporter

‘Blueberry Nights’ Opens Festival de Cannes
Tarantino, Soderbergh among US entries
By Rebecca Leffler
April 20, 2007

PARIS — The Festival de Cannes will be ringing in its 60th anniversary with what promises to be a star-studded, U.S.-heavy official lineup as organizers announced the schedule Thursday. […] Returning to Cannes are previous Palme d’Or winners the Coen brothers with “No Country for Old Men” and Gus Van Sant with “Paranoid Park.”


A complete list of today’s lineup announcement follows.

Opening night:
“My Blueberry Nights,” Wong Kar Wai, Hong Kong

In Competition:
“An Old Mistress” (Une Vieille Maitresse), Catherine Breillat, France
“The Love Songs” (Les Chansons d’amour), Christophe Honore, France
“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” Julian Schnabel, France
“Auf Der Anderen Seite Des Lebens,” Fatih Akin, Turkey
“Breath,” Kim Ki-duk, South Korea
“No Country for Old Men,” Joel and Ethan Coen, U.S.
“Zodiac,” David Fincher, U.S.
“We Own the Night,” James Gray, U.S.
“Mogari No Mori,” Naomi Kawase, Japan
“Promise Me This,” Emir Kusturica, Serbia
“Secret Sunshine,” Lee Chang-Dong, South Korea
“4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days,” Cristian Mungiu, Romania
“Tehilim,” Raphael Nadjari, France
“Silent Light,” Carlos Reygadas, Mexico
“Persepolis,” Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud, France
“Import/Export,” Ulrich Seid, Austria
“Alexandra,” Alexander Sokourov, Russia
“Death Proof,” Quentin Tarantino, U.S.
“The Man From London,” Bela Tarr, Hungary
Paranoid Park,” Gus Van Sant, U.S.
“The Banishment,” Andrey Zvyagintsev, Russia

Out of Competition:
“Sicko,” Michael Moore, U.S.
“Ocean’s Thirteen,” Steven Soderbergh, U.S.
“A Mighty Heart,” Michael Winterbottom, U.K.

Closing night:
“The Age of Darkness,” Denys Arcand, Canada

Un Certain Regard:
“Calle Santa Fe,” Carmen Castillo, Chile
“Munyurangabo,” Lee Isaac Chung, U.S.
“Night Train,” Yinan Diao, China
“El Bano Del Papa,” Enrique Fernandez and Cesar Charlone, Uruguay
“Bikur Hatizmoret,” Eran Kolirin, Israel
“Mister Lonely,” Harmony Korine, U.S.
“Magnus,” Kadri Kousaar, Estonia
“Mang Shan,” Yang Li, China
“Mio Fratello e Figlio Unico,” Daniele Luchetti, Italy
“California Dreamin’ ” (Nesfarsit), Crisitan Nemescu, Romania
“La Soledad,” Jaime Rosales, Spain
“Am Ende Kommen Touristen,” Robert Thalheim, Germany
“Kuaile Gongchang,” Ekachai Uekrongtham, Singapore
“Le Reve De La Nuit D’Avant,” Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, France
“Et Toi, T’Es Sur Qui?” Lola Doillon, France
“L’Avocat De La Terreur,” Barbet Schroeder, France
“Les Pieuvres,” Celine Sciamma, France

Short films:
“Resistance Aux Tremblements,” Olivier Hems, France
“Run,” Mark Albiston, New Zealand
“The Oate’s Valor,” Tim Thaddeus Cahill, U.S.
“The Last 15,” Antonio Campos, U.S.
“Grandma,” Anthony Chen, Singapore
“Ark,” Grzegorz Jonkajtys, Poland
“Ver Llover,” Elisa Miller, Mexico
“The Name of the Sparrow,” Kyros Papavassiliou, Cyprus
“Looking Glass,” Erik Rosenlund, Sweden
“My Sister,” Marco Van Geffen, Netherlands
“My Dear Rosetta,” Hae-hoon Yang, South Korea

Midnight Screenings, Out of Competition:
“Go Go Tales,” Abel Ferrara, U.S.
“U2 3D,” Catherine Owens and Mark Pellington, U.S.
“Boarding Gate,” Olivier Assayas, France

Special Screenings, Out of Competition:
“11th Hour,” Leila Conners Petersen and Nadia Conners, U.S.
“The War,” Lynn Novick and Ken Burns, U.S.
“He Fengming,” Bing Wang, China
“Retour En Normandie,” Nicolas Philibert, France
Read the rest of the article

Congrats to Gus, Blake, the producers, actors and crew!


Guess I should start shopping for something to wear! 😮

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Actors who love monologues about actors who love monologues about actors who….

by admin

OK, well apparently I’m not posting much about the Seattle Generals. 😐 Not because they weren’t great; I’ve just had other stuff on my plate since I got back.

I will mention that I didn’t see many overused monologues this year, but I only was able to attend the first day and a half of the auditions (had some fires to put out on the Lakeshore film), so I don’t know how indicative that is.

We did see a lot of actors auditioning with pieces about–you guessed it–actors auditioning. Wheee!

They’re great when they’re really well done, but take note that we do see a lot of that kind of stuff. Kinda like, if you’re going to do Hamlet’s soliloquy, you’d better know what you’re doing.

Actually, not like that at all, but you get the point. 🙂

Things are finally picking up at work–not that we didn’t have other stuff to catch up on–but staff likes it when it’s busy. I’ve been working on R&D, so I’ve got plenty on my plate.

We’ve finished casting on “Untraceable” and the other two films we were working on, and they’re all well into production now. Now we’re starting on a SAG short and a few commercials. Goody, goody!

Went to the official Oscars party here; great fun, except that I was so slammed over the past year, I only saw a handful of the films. I did get to bend the Mayor’s ear for a while about film incentives, though, so that was cool. Enjoyed chatting with our charming First Lady, too.

This weekend, I’m seeing William Hurt in “Vanya” and hoping to see “Pillowman” next week.

More soon….

Friday, February 9, 2007

So you wanna be "Untraceable"?

by admin

Even though we are not doing the extras casting on the new Lakeshore Entertainment film “Untraceable,” we seem to be getting a lot of inquiries, so here’s the scoop on the casting call this weekend:

Starring: Diane Lane, Billy Burke, Colin Hanks

All Types of People, All Ages Needed.
No Experience Necessary.

Convention Plaza Office Building
123 NE 3rd Avenue
Portland, OR 97232

For More Information / Extras Casting Email:

We only did principals on this film and are pretty much finished now. Met with Director Greg Hoblit and the film’s producers yesterday to go back through casting DVDs and notes, and nail down the last few roles. If all the actors come back avail for their shoot dates, we should be drafting deal memos and wrapping it up! Yeay!

This film is going to be amazing. I couldn’t put the screenplay down when I read it. Writer Allison Burnett showed up at our casting meeting yesterday and I forgot to tell him.


Monday, January 29, 2007

Valley of Outstanding Ratings!

by admin

I got a call from “Valley of Light” director Brent Shields the morning after it screened on CBS with some great news: Our show knocked it out of the ballpark, with nearly 15 million viewers, beating out “The Apprentice” and every other show on television.

Here’s the email that came to me from his office:

Last night’s Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation, THE VALLEY OF LIGHT, was #1 in its time period in households with a 9.3 rating and 14 share in the “fast national” ratings. In addition, the HHOF was #1 in total viewers (14,730,000) and adults 25-54 with a 3.9 rating and a 9 share.

NBC and ABC finished in a virtual tie for 2nd in all three categories.


This is the strongest performance for a Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation since SILVER BELLS (10.3/15) in November, 2005 and the largest audience for any movie on any network since since JESSE STONE: DEATH IN PARADISE (14,810,000 viewers) on April 30, 2006.

The weekend movie box office results are page 1 news in USA Today,
Variety and Hollywood Reporter…but more people watched the Hallmark Hall of Fame on Sunday night than attended the top 10 grossing movies combined last weekend (14.7 million vs. 12.5 million).


Congrats to all the cast and crew for a job well done!