PAMELA KRAMER INTERIVEW
Interview conducted by Karin Crighton
In 2014, I had the opportunity to interview Shannon Lark of the Viscera Film Festival, celebrating women in horror. While Viscera has sadly shuttered, many women are working today to even up our underrepresented numbers in the beloved genre. Among them is Pamela Kramer, producer, casting director, and owner of Bradley Baron in the NYC area. I first met Ms. Kramer sitting in on her class, "Dying for the Camera", a fantastic good time! This is a great class that helps you “get out of your own way”.
Karin Crighton: You’re currently in preproduction for your own series, Absent Witness!
Pamela Kramer: Yes, it’s a paranormal drama, inspired by the real life events of Karl Petry, a psychic medium who works with the government, police and private sector. I’ve been sighted all my life, so the paranormal is very “normal” to me. I am an Intuitive Spiritual Healer. Being an empath & seeing the energies around people and things have helped me become a master energy worker, which serves me quite well as a CD.
KC: As an individual trying to create your own work, do you find challenges working as a woman in the industry?
PK: The [higher ups] play by their own set of rules; and part of your job is to figure out their rules, and the game changes on a dime. Being a woman in this industry, both as a casting director and a producer, I’m finding interesting ways to navigate through these waters. I’m a very direct person, and in this field people are not very upfront and so it’s almost like they're waiting for you to ask the right questions. Some of it has to do with being a female, and the higher up the food chain you go, there’s a different mentality. I don’t like that there is a separation [between genders], but there is a separation. There are different types of rules and the rules are not always clear. I actually named my company Bradley Baron, not only as a tribute to my late brother Bradley, but also as my “Remington Steele.”
Even today, when I go to buy a car, I tend to bring a man because I know I’m most likely going to get a really good deal.
KC: You coach a lot of young female actors seeking to enter the film industry. I’ve seen many articles lately bemoaning a stereotypical depiction of woman as objects or victims. Do you think that’s an accurate depiction of the horror scene?
PK: In 1998, I cast Psycho Sisters with JJ North and Theresa Lynn Judd, where I also met Karl Petry. Yes, it (the film) was a little risqué, but it was about sister serial killers who emasculate men. It was very provocative. I do see a turning point where woman are no longer perceived as only victims. They are becoming strong counterparts, as heroines and villains. There’s more room these days for woman to be empowered in this genre and mainstream. There are juicy roles like Clarice Starling in Silence of the Lambs; a highly intelligent character and actor. Being the beautiful sexy barely dressed female victim is, of course, still the recipe for the classic horror film with a titillating victim girl, because that sells. But things are catching up.
On the TV shows Arrow and Gotham it started out with male superheros; now there’s a female superhero and female supervillains. Supergirl is also coming to television, so this is exciting times for horror/sci-fi/fantasy entertainment.
KC: I saw you worked on Strangers with Candy; I have to ask about that amazing show since it was definitely an opportunity to cast women in very unusual roles.
PK: Unusual types for unusual roles! When the show moved to New Jersey I was signed on. I had to find a contortionist with tattoos and an albino African American. That’s the difference between a casting director and an agent, an agent has the ability to say “I don’t have that type”, but the CD has to go find it! And while they actually ended up cutting the albino African American for that episode, I actually found him on my next project.
Being a woman in casting, you have to have patience and vision with producers and executives and listen to what they’re saying and what they’re not saying to really understand what they need. At times it’s an opportunity to offer suggestions they hadn’t considered, such as “What do you think about a woman in this role?” You can’t really push talent, so much as to present a selective group of talented contenders.
KC: Is there any advice you give the young talent, female or male, looking to enter the horror industry?
PK: I’ve been an acting coach for over 30 years and it’s very rewarding watching talents grow. Coaching, casting and the intuitive energy work, go hand in hand. I deal with talent of all levels, and it helps seeing their auras and energies. Students walk in and I can see potential and abilities, but as a coach and teacher, you can’t want it more than that person; that’s the hardest part of the job. I have to approach my coaching in the aspect of motivating the actors; it’s creative without being draining. I can encourage them and ask them to humor me and just go for it.
KC: Outside of Absent Witness, what would be a dream project for you to helm?
PK: My dream would be two-fold, a film on the Shadow People; the ideas are in place, it’s a matter of resources. And the second is that it be directed by Jodi Foster; strong women in strong positions! We haven’t seen enough of her.
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