Why do some films not have casting directors?

What does a casting director do at the Berlinale? Hanna Hansen provides information!

Motif: Hanna Hansen | Credit: Tina Thiele

Hanna Hansen profile

Hanna Hansen has been working in the casting sector since 2001. Originally from the children's casting scene (Tabaluga TV) Coming from Munich, the Kiel native moved in after a casting assistant in 2003 Annette Lohmann (formerly Borgmann) in Berlin back to Munich. There she took over in 2005 over and over Sabine Schroth the common archive, as Risa Kes passed away. Since then, Hanna Hansen has been casting freelance and independent projects in the fields of cinema, TV and advertising. In the section Perspective German cinema two of her films were cast on the 2007 Berlinale shown - "Ash Wednesday" and "Blind flight".

How many times are you at the Berlinale?
This year I'm at the Berlinale for the fifth time.

And as a casting director?
For the fourth time.

What does a casting director do at the Berlinale?
Above all, casting directors go to the numerous agency receptions. That means that a single or several actor agency (s) in association have rented a bar or another location. They then invite their acting clients, but also casting directors, directors, producers and editors there. At the reception you usually get a name tag with your function. There are drinks, snacks and sometimes a program. This gives you the opportunity to get to know each other in person. Especially on the first weekend you rush from reception to reception until late in the evening and are on the move "non-stop". In between, every casting director has his individual producer or director meeting to discuss upcoming projects, for example. Other receptions, parties or association meetings Some casting directors go to films they have cast or even manage to watch films intensively on recommendation. Unfortunately, I can't do that.

How important is the festival to a single casting director?
The Berlinale is probably the industry's biggest get-together for making contacts in this country. The concentration and diversity that the festival offers and satisfies for over 10 days is unique. Every casting director has his specialty. While for me for example receiving the Film Academy Baden-Württemberg A must is, since I work a lot with young directors, it is certainly the international events such as a Senator reception or the events of the international casting director European Film Promotion (Shooting Stars). A casting director who has his office in Berlin will certainly have many meetings or castings on site in the office.

What is your attitude towards the agent reception?
I think it's important to get to know the agents you communicate with on a daily basis and their actors personally. In the classic everyday casting routine, everything is done over the phone and is also very hectic. Such meetings offer a counterpart that you meet from person to person. You get a different picture of the actor in the truest sense of the word when you look at his documents later in the office. Unfortunately, there is so little live casting in Germany that a cast is often only made based on the existing material. It's a great offer to have these meetings. However, it is nothing more than an appetizer.

What about the discrepancy between the real person and the material?
Honestly: very big. I could go insane about some beauty photography. At this point I would very much like to take the opportunity to reiterate the importance of an actor's authentic material. Keyword: age. This is a sensitive topic, especially for women aged 30 and over. The worst thing is when no age is given. With so many actors, casting directors often use public or their own databases the first time they search to recall all potential candidates. Age + gender are the first single-circle criteria. If the age is missing there, the actress and the actor have no existence. You fall through the cracks. Likewise, it cannot be that the result of the search for actors in the mid-20s spits out a span of 20 years.

What else is important to you with regard to information on actor material?

Regarding the indication of dialects, I can only advise: please mark the native dialect. The same applies to languages: native speakers or not. Another issue is the place of residence. Please differentiate between "Where is the actor registered (for 3 months)?" And "Where is he" bookable from? ". This is important because of the film subsidies. Due to the funds released, we are sometimes obliged to take actors from this region. Here I just wish for even better cooperation between actors and the understanding of how we work ... have to (!)

How important is the demo tape?

The demo tape is becoming more and more important. My experience shows that directors often only want the demo tape, without CV and photos. The demo tape has taken on a multifunctional function. Therefore, I advise every actor, in addition to a meaningful photo on the cover, perhaps also the blurb and the cover spine in addition to the usual information, such as the status of the show real (how old is the material that I hold in my hands) and the contact, perhaps more Photos and the vita to pack up.

What advice would you give actors if they got the chance to meet up at the Berlinale?

“The seasoning lies in brevity!” A natural and friendly “Hello”. Don't go straight ahead and tell everything you're doing. You can still follow up on the brief encounter later. “We met at reception XY. I would be happy if you take a look at my documents under xy. Games from autumn in the Munich Kammerspiele, feel free to come over. P.S. I'm a guest at the theater and still have free space for filming. "
This is a (!) Example.

Do you get job assignments yourself at the Berlinale?

At least one job will be created for me soon. A direct causality between meetings and an assignment is sometimes difficult to decipher. In any case, you will be remembered.

How do you feel as a young casting director in the vicinity of so many "old hands" in the film industry?
The "old hands" are very nice to me! Interestingly enough, in addition to the well-known casting directors who have been in the business for many years, there is a new generation of "young hands". The interaction with each other and across generations is very friendly and one also exchanges ideas. Clear! At a certain point you are competition ...

Has anything changed at the Berlinale since you first went there?

The festival is increasingly becoming an A festival. Another positive change is certainly the smoking ban. Although I sometimes like to smoke a cigarette myself in the evening, last year the stench started first thing in the morning and in the long run it also affects the eyes. Since this year you can "smell" people faster or not ;-)

Thank you for the interview!
Please find attached Hanna Hansens personal Berlinale plan 2008.

The interview was conducted by: Tina Thiele

Tina Thiele studied theater, film and television studies and cultural management in Cologne. She is the editor-in-chief of "casting-network. The industry portal". You can find more about her person in the section: About us.

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