It’s a Saturday afternoon, and I decided to join a workshop with Casting Director Brette Goldstein. There are many CD’s in town, but I chose Brette after doing my research because, on her website, she says, “a casting relationship with me is built on trust, fun… by creating a safe space for the actors to be the best versions of themselves.” After taking her class, and seeing her interact with actors at ease, and having a blast, I was eager to spread the word about how cool she is! Luckily, she was down to do this interview. Actors, read on about how to work with Brette…
Why do you love being a Casting Director?
I love the joy that comes with helping people do what they dream of doing. Most people do not get to experience this kind of artistic gratification. I love to support the actors and people behind projects, and take part in the creative process and journey of getting there.
What makes an actor stand out?
Actors stand out that are really in their own skin, and grounded in themselves. These actors see the character through their own eyes, and they know that they, as a person, are unique. They are up there, listening and being truthful, moment to moment.
These grounded actors have a relaxed quality to them as a person. When you are around these actors, you can breathe and you feel safe. From behind the table, we want someone to make our lives easier. We want to feel safe. We want to trust someone on set. That’s when we get excited!
What are the top three things an actor should know when auditioning for you?
- Prepare for the camera, not just your scenes. In addition to the preparation of material, it’s important to have the preparation of your looks, so that people who see the footage see the closest thing they will get on set. For example, if it’s a summer day and you are perspiring, take a moment to freshen up before you go in the room.
- Be professional by respecting the space. I once had an actor cough right into his hand, and then try to shake mine. I even had some try to take my own water bottle! I recommend you be responsible for yourself and the three feet around you, and I will honor the actor and the three feet around them. I have a fun, warm room – if we both respect it, there is real professionalism.
- Part of professionalism is knowing your schedule. Sometimes an actor is really not available, so before they even start, we have an awkward discussion. Or if an actor is in a show, they’ll never make curtain time if they book my project in Brooklyn. Five out of ten actors are not available when they submit, so check your calendar carefully!
How do you recommend actors meet you, and keep in touch?
I release all my breakdowns, on various casting platforms for public submission, so there are many ways to get in front of me. I also keep in touch with actors I’ve met with postcards and from workshops and classes. I recently went to lunch with an actor, for the first time, who I knew for years. We were there for two hours! I’m a talker, and so are many actors. We couldn’t say goodbye!
What if an actor is not “perfect” or requires adjustments when they read for you? Would you still call them in?
I love working with actors, and I don’t expect perfection. So yes, I will still consider actors whether or not they require an adjustment. It’s subjective and depends on the person. There have been situations where you see someone more green, but the raw talent is there. I can see an actor perform a scene for me in a workshop, and that is all I need to get an instant read, Malcolm Gladwell style. I just need to see your chops!
Brette is currently working with producers in the development of several independent films. Brette just wrapped “History of Cars” for the History Channel, and the third season of LMN’s “I Love You…But I Lied”. She recently cast “Donny!” on USA. Brette has cast over 45 independent films (including the recent CRAZY FAMOUS and HEDGEHOG with Ann Dowd and Madeline Brewer), 150 commercials, 100 plays, several television and new media projects. She was the resident casting director at Washington, DC’s Folger Elizabethan Theatre for nine seasons. Films Brette has cast have won awards and been official selections at most of the major film festivals, including Sundance, Tribeca and Cannes. Brette is the former Co-Producing Director of Washington Jewish Theatre, Production Manager at Washington Shakespeare Co., and Associate Producer of the Washington Theatre Festival. Brette teaches audition technique at various NYC studios and several universities and has done some serious damage at the craft services table in brief stints as on-set coach. She watches “The League” for at least two hours a night and tries not to stalk Nick Kroll.