It's not reality; it's real.

At VERY REAL CASTING we don't make up stories, we discover them. Because the story you want to tell is out there and we will find it for you. It will come from anyone and anywhere you want and it will go right to the heart of the message you want to tell.

We cut our teeth working with legendary documentary filmmakers like Michael Apted, Albert Maysles and Morgan Sperlock.

We’ve adapted their techniques to find memorable real people stories for commercials, print, the web and radio as well as for documentaries. We’ve done this for start-ups and for nationally known companies; for small jobs and for blockbusters.

For over two decades, we’ve created strong networks that enable us to find the people who can best tell your story. We nurture people's stories and gain their trust. We don’t manipulate them. Our results are clear, compelling and persuasive—because they are real.

 Martha Wollner

Martha Wollner

Martha Wollner (Founder/Senior Story Producer)

Martha's unique affinity for people and creative ability to find story, recognizing arc and dramatic conflict caught the eye of groundbreaking documentary filmmakers Albert and David Maysles. Over the next 20 years, Martha aided Maysles Films Inc. in capturing real people stories for award winning projects that ranged from documentary features to landmark commercial campaigns and corporate projects for a host of Fortune 500 clients. Her duties at MFI included casting, producing and second unit directing on feature documentaries. Following her tenure as General Manager of the company, Martha established her own company, Very Real Casting, dedicated to nurturing human stories for all forms of media.

Now in its 2oth year, Very Real Casting is rooted in the same skill set the Maysles Brothers saw in Wollner from the outset; the ability to find and establish relationships with people who deliver the greatest window into their real stories.

Martha is a proud member of NYC's renown Labyrinth Theater Company. Her performance and playwriting have both been featured at LAB. She has performed with the iconic Royal Shakespeare Company and attended the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland as both an actress and director. Her work in theater has long enhanced her story producing and casting skills.


Donald Wollner (Casting Director/Copywriter)

Donald has cast real people in over 100 national commercials for production companies including Maysles Films, Five Union Square Productions and Corra Productions.

Clients include Ford Motors, Gateway Computers, Dollar General Stores, Clinique, Temple University and General Electric. He has written ads and commercials for companies such as Maidenform, Kodak, AARP, Holiday Inn, Bounty Towels and the Monsanto and Ciba Geigy Chemical companies.

Don's plays have been published by Samuel French and Dramatists Play Service. He is an alumni of the New Dramatists and a member of the Writers’ Guild of America and the Dramatists Guild.

What clients say

"Martha's people bring heart to the screen. There is no one like her. "

- Albert Maysles, acclaimed American documentary film maker ( Salesman, Gimme Shelter, Grey Gardens, The Gates)

"Martha's people were so fresh and engaging that our client enlarged the campaign."

- Account Supervisor, Enviromedia Social Marketing

"She (Martha Wollner) understands story arc and knows how to find it."

- Michael Apted, director (Seven Up Series, Coal Miner's Daughter)

"Perfect real people casting! Illustrates exactly why I always want real, genuine energy and what it can bring to a spot."

- Harris Savides, commercial director and award winning cinematographer (Milk, Zodiac, American Gangster).

"Best real story casting I have ever had in the US."

- Louis Ng, Film Factory, Hong Kong

" Fastest and most spot-on real people casting."


" Campaign after campaign, Martha delivers better (real) people than our creative teams anticipate."  

- Media Executive, GSD&M Advertising

"Martha's the very best in casting. When she delivers talent to the shoot, you don't even have to direct them...they're pumped, primed, and ready to talk and tell their stories!"

- Sean Tracy, Director, Sean Tracy Associates

"Producing and casting talent for a video shoot was a daunting process, and Martha made everything easier - she was timely, helpful, and very communicative and responsive throughout the casting schedule. My company and our client were very pleased with the results and her professionalism was very appreciated. I would work with Martha again for any talent casting needs, without hesitation!"

- Jessica Siegel, Advertising and Marketing Executive