Wendy is an Emmy-nominated casting director with more than 25 years of experience in feature films, movies for television, mini-series, and theater and has worked with many distinguished directors such as Paul Schrader, Diane Keaton, Sally Field, and Roland Emmerich, for whom she cast the blockbuster Independence Day, starring Will Smith. In 2013 Wendy launched College to Career Acting to help merging BFA/MFA artists navigate the transition from Academia into the Entertainment Industry. Recently, Wendy joined PhilmCo Media as Head of Casting while also serving as Faculty at UCLA and Pace University, where she teaches personal narrative, audition technique, and transition to the Industry.
We’re excited to have Wendy on the podcast today to share what a casting director really does and how they liaise with agents, managers, producers, and directors. We dive into how the pandemic has changed the landscape for casting directors, and Wendy gives some actionable tips, coaching, and guidelines for actors who are self-taping auditions so they can be at their best. Wendy also shares her insights into what makes a successful in-person audition and adds a few secrets for success that actors could adopt when they’re meeting casting directors.
“We create a vision of what a script is going to look like in our mind and the way we hear the voices of the characters coming out through the actors that we know. Then we filter that vision between what the producers and directors are looking for.” – Wendy Kurtzman
“I think the way people approach casting is completely individual.” – Wendy Kurtzman
“I’ve always been somebody that thought it’s worth opening the door, just to take a quick peek, no matter what you’re doing, because you never know what you’re going to learn.” – Wendy Kurtzman
Highlights This Week
- How Wendy’s interest in theatre has informed her taste and her casting
- Wendy’s thoughts on whether there is a difference in style in casting in LA versus New York
- The importance of building relationships with managers and agents
- How the business has changed over the years — including some of the high profile characters Wendy used to know
- Wendy’s tips for Zoom interviews, including where to focus and position your reader
- What inspired Wendy to be a casting director and how she transitioned from acting to casting
- Casting directors and producers who really believed in Wendy and gave her the opportunities that gave her a start in the business
- Actors that Wendy immediately saw the hit factor in, and what they went on to do
- Wendy’s advice for aspiring and emerging person casting directors