Stephanie Gorin Reigns Supreme in Casting
By Kristen Riley
Love slasher films and steamy dramas on The CW? If so, you have probably seen Stephanie Gorin’s work. As the top casting director in Canada, she has cast over 106 projects including the SAW films and the current TV drama Reign. Living and working in Toronto, Gorin meets hundreds of actors every week. Recently, she went a step beyond just casting actors and helped thousands more by creating the online series The Casting Room, enabling actors to have better auditions. We checked in with the queen of casting to get the inside scoop on how to break into the industry.
You are watching the Trailer for The Casting Room
Even as a child growing up in the small town of Georgetown, Ontario, Gorin has always been interested in the entertainment industry – although early on she didn’t think being a part of it was a viable option. As Gorin reflects, “It really seemed like a pipe dream to ever think it was a world I could truly live in. We didn’t even have a cinema or a local bus.” Luckily, that didn’t keep Gorin from pursuing her dreams. She went on to train at Sheridan College for Musical Theatre. After graduation, while working as a temp at Mirvish Productions in Toronto, Gorin was asked to help schedule casting sessions. Mirvish liked her because she had a keen sense of how to run things smoothly. Gorin said, “I had assistant stage managed with The Welsh National Opera for 2 years so I had a good grasp on how to keep organized.” Just like that, she began her life in the world of casting. Her first big show at Mirvish was Les Miserables, a show that Mirvish is currently doing a one-night reprisal of.
From there, Stephanie went on to cast an array of TV movies, features and other projects. Her IMDB is riddled with hits like The Tudors, The Borgias, Degrassi: The Next Generation, Reign, Hemlock Grove and the SAW films. It’s hard to believe that Gorin even had time to create The Casting Room, but luckily for all the actors out there, she did. When asked about why she decided to make the series, Gorin said, “After doing many fundraising workshops, I realized that so many young people, and others in the business, made a lot of simple mistakes that were easily fixable – but no one had ever told them.” And it wasn’t just the inexperienced actors whose auditions were suffering, she saw many great actors lose film and TV roles because of not handling themselves well in The Room. Gorin said, “I thought it would be nice to find a way to help people, but by sharing with a fun spirit.” She paired up with Naomi Snieckus, one of her readers with whom she had great chemistry, and started filming.
Stephanie Gorin (left) in the rain with Katie Boland (Long Story, Short)
Each episode of the show focuses on a different common slip-up that an actor can make, and each episode is rooted in real life experiences Gorin has had over the years. When asked about her biggest pet peeve she responded, “Not being prepared for the audition or not showing up, as someone else could have had the spot.” After focusing on all of the negative things an actor can do, Gorin also told us what an ideal audition looks like. Her favorite auditions are ones with “mutual respect, a well-prepared actor who has thought about the character and learned the sides well, and who is open to direction so we can have fun in the room.”
Casting appears to be a fun, challenging job for someone who loves entertainment. For those interested in pursuing a career in casting, Gorin says it is important to see film and theatre often as well as to watch different genres of TV shows. She also suggests trying to get a job assisting or interning for a casting director. Most importantly though, “You have to love actors.”
Gorin’s love is apparent. Whether as a musical theatre actor herself in college, as an assistant at one of the biggest theatre companies in Toronto, or as the creator of a pro-actor web series, it is clear that her passion is putting the right actors in the right productions. There aren’t many industry people out there who would go out of their way to help hundreds of actors audition better, but Gorin has. Her gracious attitude and fun-loving spirit is ever-present in The Casting Room and we can’t wait to keep watching.
Kristen Riley is a writer, actor, and nanny based in Los Angeles. She graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She does not tweet, but if you would like to see many pictures of her dog, Penny, you can follow her on Instagram @klrlegsmcgee.