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From Actorfest to 'Pan Am' in Two Days Time


Ready for career takeoff? Ebrima N'Dure sure is. Like many of this year's Actorfest NY attendees, N'Dure showed up to the Metropolitan Pavilion bright and early on the morning of Sunday, Oct. 23 to take advantage of the annual event's open call auditions and myriad skill-strengthening panels and exhibitors. Little did he know that after a brief visit to the Grant Wilfley Casting open call, he'd land a featured background role on Pan Am, the recently launched ABC dramatic series with a sumptuous 1960s aesthetic guaranteed to enhance the reel of any performer fortunate enough to find themselves aboard its friendly skies.

The Grant Wilfley Casting open call has been a staple of Back Stage's Actorfest NY for the last several years, and it's a relationship that has proved beneficial to both event attendees and casting personnel alike. "A lot of people who are new to the city and people we don't see all the time at our other open calls [attend Actorfest]. New faces to the city are always good for us," explains GWC senior casting associate Allison Hall, whose current TV projects include Boardwalk Empire, Royal Pains, and Smash, in addition to several high-profile feature films featuring New York units.

"We're always in a different location for Pan Am," Hall continues, referring to the show's globe-trotting weekly itinerary. "We needed a younger Haitian boy, but I was having a hard time finding someone who looked young but was still over 18."

Fortunately, Hall and her on-site team found their guy in Actorfest attendee N'Dure. Not two days after meeting him at their open call, they were sending the young actor to a wardrobe fitting, readying him for his first visit to the fabled "Jet Age." "We sent him to get fit, and he's working next week," Hall confirms.

N'Dure wasn't the only one who scored a ticket aboard Pan Am via this year's Actorfest NY casting event. Hall says that her team found several great new faces to portray stewardesses and pilots. They'll join the ranks of 2010 Actorfest NY attendee Colin Buckingham, who landed work on Men in Black 3 thanks to Grant Wilfley's on-site open call last year, in addition to a part on 30 Rock after an Actorfest "meet and greet" session with casting director Barbara McNamara the very same day.

Be sure to keep an eye out for N'Dure on an upcoming episode of Pan Am. And if you’re a West Coast reader, don't miss Actorfest LA, which will be held Nov. 5 at the California Market Center in downtown Los Angeles. Open call auditions include NBC, Telemundo, mun2, and Disney Parks Talent Casting. For more info and to register for the event, visit www.actorfest.com.

-- Jesse Landberg

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This just in: Feedback about Actorfest from a terrific Casting Director:

"This was great, a surprisingly productive day. I'm working on a pilot, a feature film, and a short film and I have at least half a dozen actors from today that will definitely be auditioning for my current projects." - Liz Ortiz-Mackes, Casting Director

And feedback from a successful actor via Back Stage's Actorfest page ( http://www.facebook.com/pages/Actorfest/65067491755 ):

James Weston: "Want to thank Backstage (West) for having Actorfest & the Casting Directors for participating. I went a 3 consecutive years, took the advice of the CD's and since then appeared in 'Matrix Reloaded & Revolutions'; 'Hulk'; 'Transformers'; 'Hereafter'; 'Star Trek' (2009). Did stunts in 'Contagion'. Precision Driving in 'Red Tails'. Precision Driving Coordinator for the NBC series 'Trauma' & castmember in 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon'. Special Thanks to April Webster, J.J. Abrams, Michael Bay, Catherine Ferrarie Humphries, John Morse, Maryellen Aviano, Nancy Hayes, Beau Bonneau Casting, Walter Brown, Michael Greggans. If you don't know who they are look them up on IMDB. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1377340"

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