Risa Bramon Garcia
For the past 30 years Risa’s worked consistently as a director, producer, casting director, writer and teacher. She’s had the great fortune to have collaborated with some of the most talented, passionate and groundbreaking artists in the world. She’s been able to move from one arena to another – from theatre to film to television and back – and is actively exploring new media.
With two feature films in her directorial body of work – the cult classic, 200 cigarettes, and most recently, The Con Artist, made in Canada and released in 2011, Risa’s also directed for television, including multiple episodes of The Twilight Zone for New Line/UPN, and shows for HBO, Lifetime and Comedy Central.
She’s directed dozens of plays in New York (The Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Second Stage, Manhattan Theatre Club) and in Los Angeles. She calls The Ensemble Studio Theatre her artistic home, where she’s been a member for 30 years, producing and directing six years of the flagship festival Marathon of One-Act Plays. In L.A. Risa founded and produced ACT ONE, a successful two-year festival of one-acts, in collaboration with Showtime Networks. And as a founding Artistic Director of Ensemble Studio Theatre’s L.A. PROJECT – now E.S.T. LA – Risa worked with HBO for two seasons, producing and directing a series of acclaimed one-acts for The Aspen Comedy Arts Festival. In her long association with HBO, starting in 1981 as a talent scout for comedians, Risa co-produced two years of The Young Comedians shows for the network. She was also a producer with The Carsey Werner Company.
Risa started casting in the NY theatre. From there Risa and her partner, Billy Hopkins, took their first step into feature film casting with Desperately Seeking Susan. They worked as a team for 11 years. During and after their successful partnership, Risa cast some of the most memorable films of the past 25 years.
Risa’s résumé includes more than 65 feature films, classics such as Something Wild, At Close Range, Angel Heart, Fatal Attraction, Wall Street, Talk Radio, Jacob’s Ladder, Born on the Fourth of July, JFK, The Doors, Sneakers, The Joy Luck Club, True Romance, Speed, How To Make An American Quilt, Dead Presidents, Twister, Benny and Joon, and Flirting With Disaster.
She’s cast numerous television shows and pilots, including Roseanne, CSI:NY, the recent NBC series, The Cape (a project she loved), recently A Gifted Man for CBS Risa is currently casting the new Showtime series, Masters of Sex.
Risa served as a Producer on Oliver Stone’s films Heaven and Earth and Natural Born Killers, movies she also cast.
Risa’s currently in the midst of writing a book, the natural outgrowth of her entire career thus far. Likewise, in the past few years her passion for teaching and coaching has become a serious concentration and she’s had great success in her work with actors and directors around the world.
“Within a few days after taking Risa’s class I walked into an audition for ONE TREE HILL and booked the job. Risa stresses INTENTION and CONNECTION and whether you are just starting out or have been around for a while, this training is imperative.” -Joe Manganiello. TRUE BLOOD, MAGIC MIKE
“Training with Steve absolutely changed my career. He gives me the practical tools and the confidence to book work. His insight, intuition and passion for the actor’s process make working with him invaluable.” – Daniella Alonso. REVOLUTION
“I have known Risa for nearly thirty years, as casting director, director, teacher, theater co-member, sounding board, friend, and advocate. What continues to inspire me most is her enduring passion for, and support of, actors, and the work that they do. Risa loves the process, she loves the people, and she continues to be devoted to locating, nurturing, and assisting in the growth of each individual’s specific gifts.” Evan Handler. CALIFORNICATION
Is Risa brilliant? Yes. Can she articulate what it takes to perform on a different level- one that provokes and inspires because it chimes with a common humanity that exists in all of us? Yes. But beyond just being an amazing teacher, writer, director, and casting director, Risa was able to make me, an agent-less, essentially credit-less actor at the time, step into a heavy-duty environment, stacked with multiple Academy Award winners and quiet the doubts that plagued me (probably all actors) by teaching me to focus on two powerful truths: one, that it is only about the work (and not the outside stuff) and two (and maybe more importantly) she taught me to ask- Why not me? Someone is going to be in this position, do this part, carve a career, why can’t it be me? If anyone wonders who to study with, I always send them her way. -Donal Logue, TERRIERS, GROUNDED FOR LIFE
I was engaged from the start and felt like we could have gone on. I left feeling more confident and really excited to play. thanks for giving us all permission to be ourselves and bring our sense of fun. And to see how much that parrot on my shoulder with those negative beliefs can paralyze and stiffen me. Thanks for your patience, generosity, insight and encouragement. I know what I need to do and I’m really excited about it. – Dendrie Taylor. The Fighter, Jarhead
Risa is a woman saturated with knowledge, history, experience, language, depth… and balls. Mostly her own. I would encourage anyone to take the opportunity to work with this extraordinary woman. My life is richer for the time I’ve spent with her. -Pamela Adlon. CALIFORNICATION
Risa’s class was such a wonderfully invigorating day of exploration. The special thing about Risa is that her attitude and passion gave us as actor’s the freedom, and more importantly the permission, to get out of our own way. To be committed to what we were doing, no matter if it was right or wrong. I will be back!- Aaron Tveit. GOSSIP GIRL