Swide gets comfortable on the casting couch and chit-chats with New York-based Casting Director, Maurilio Carnino of MTC Casting.
First and foremost, could you tell us your job title?
Casting Director, Founder, President of MTC Casting, New York-based casting agency.
How did MTC come about and how did you get involved?
MTC came about from a desire to provide industry clients my expertise on models and casting. It was also my dream to be independent, work for myself, be creative and to simply have fun!
Can you recall your most memorable casting job, what was it for?
I feel like every season is memorable for me, it’s certainly another notch under my belt. Although working with people like Sophie Theallet, Costello Tagliapietra, John Varvatos, David Delfin, Diane von Furstenberg… is something that I will never forget!
Maurilio Carnino with designer, Sophie Theallet
What do you look for during castings?
First I take into consideration the direction of the designer and stylist. What I look for the most is attitude, a great walk, combined with the right proportions and amazing grace! Freshness and novelty are always welcomed!
How do castings editorials, campaigns and runway shows differ?
For an editorial, I look for the connection between the model and the camera. Even through a small digital camera I can see if the model will deliver on set, or if they’re just a beautiful face. At times, campaigns are a bit more “commercial”, but I always look for the same qualities. I think about the product that’s at hand. There needs to be a connection between the model and the consumer. It’s also important that the consumer wants to be that person in the ad campaign and connects with that lifestyle! In casting a runway show, the walk is most important along with body language, rhythm, grace, and of course attitude!
So many models to confirm, so little time.
The thing that differs casting runway shows apart from other types of casting is the fact that you need to cast about 20 to 50 models, if not more. And with all those models, you need to be able to tell a story, intertwine all the looks together on the runway and make it cohesive. In the end, sometimes the casting choices aren’t entirely my own, but a collaboration between the stylist, designer, creative director, and myself!
Who are you top guys and girls right now?
(From Left to right: Kate Kosushkina, Salieu Jalloh, Diana Farkhullina, Aram Gevorgyan and Sedene Blake) Photo by Style.com )
Right now, my favourites are: Aram Gevorgyan (VNY NY/ ILove Milan), Salieu Jalloh (Red NY), Kate Kosushkina (Supreme NY), Diana Farkhullina (IMG NY), Sedene (NYM NY/D Management Milan) Although….Linda Evangelista is my favorite of all time!
What's considered a big casting "'dont" for a model?
Talking too much, trying too hard, asking too many questions. Also portfolios with excessive pictures are a big 'no- no', but that is the agent's fault!
Any horror stories to share from past shows?
DvF: Show Spring Summer 2006. The show was already over and the finale had begun when I saw the models running backstage while screaming from the runway! I panicked and yelled, "No, no! What are you all doing, go back, it’s the finale!" It turns out that the light fixtures came crashing down over the audience. It was bad! I still remember DvF in stilettos, tiring to help wounded editors and friends in the audience!
Vintage Backstage Reel DVF
Is your job stressful? If so, why?
Stressful is an understatement, especially during show seasons! Casting 7 to 13 shows that all take place with in a week, and sometimes 3 of them are on the same day. It can be really hectic. Thankfully, I can count on the cooperation of my amazing staff, I could not do without them! Models always arrive in the city about 3 to 4 days before the show week begins and we have to pre-cast them for the various designers who we work with. After seeing the pick of the litter, options have to be requested, negotiations have to be made, clear conflicts with schedules, and finally the intensity of the day of show. We start every day at 8AM (some time earlier) and finish at midnight or later. Weekends and holidays like Labour Day, President’s day, and Valentine's Day are nonexistent! During Fashion Week there is only one thing that we are focused on, and that’s FASHION WEEK.
You know what they say, "it takes a village to produce a successful runway show".
Even during fashion week, MTC staffers Greer Goldenberg, Lia Cohen and Cayla Goldenberg crack smiles rather than under pressure
What's the best part of being a casting director?
…. Being a Casting Director! Meeting all the creative, wonderful (and sometimes crazy) people that work in the industry! Seeing the latest styles and trends before everyone else. Meeting young and beautiful models from around the world. Seeing new faces, believing in them, booking them, and watching them grow into huge stars. In short, I love the travelling, scouting, searching, teaching, the backstage atmosphere, all the work coming together, and the craziness!
What are the ingredients for a successful show?
Hiring MTC ;)
Where's the weirdest place you've street casted?
NYC! There’s definitely a bunch of weirdo’s here, that’s why I love it!
Young, old, ordinary, extraordinary, human or canine...MTC casting sees no limits.
Do many clients ask you to street cast? If so, why?
Street casting is something that clients request more and more, everyday! It’s a different part of my job that I enjoy very much because it challenges my scouting skills. Street casting is a touch of reality. It’s something that I encourage certain clients to consider, there’s a strong connection between the real people and audience. We just created a database for real street talent: A streetcat named Desire
MTC find, Paul Duncan in the September 09 issue of CITY Magazine.
My team and I are out in the streets of NYC every week scouting real people for photographers and clients like Ryan Mc Ginley, Katy Orne, Alan Clark, Saks 5th Ave, Esquire Magazine, City Magazine, London’s Saturday Telegraph, and GQ to name a few. We feel that replacing celebrities in editorials and campaigns is the trend. People don’t always relate to celebrities …
The many beautiful faces of New York (A streetcat named Desire).
Any advice for aspiring casting directors?
Your life is now over, be ready to have fun!
MTC Casting presents NY fashion week F/W 2010-11 recap
STRESS FACTOR: 4/5 A great deal of responsability is placed on the casting/production team to assure a show goes off without a hitch.
FUN FACTOR: 5/5 Hitting the streets in search of fresh faces . Feeling like a proud momma in watching new faces turn into superstars.
WOW FACTOR: 5/5 Being able to point at a campaign and say,“ Yup, I took part in creating that”.
X FACTOR: 5/5 Isn’t it obvious?
Photo credits: With kind permission from Maurilio Carnino and Lia Cohen