Karen Ryan is a Commercial Casting Director based in Los Angeles. To date she has cast hundreds of regional and national spots and many high profile music videos, and several award winning web series and short films. She has worked with NBC Universal, Disney, WME, Anonymous Content, Radical Media, Vice, Iconoclast, Big Feather, CryptTV, DeadMau5, Selena Gomez, Beats By Dre, Tyga, Adam Lambert, Keith Urban and dozens more. Karen is a proud board member of the Commercial Casting Director’s Association. She enjoys being a mentor and advisor to actors at various levels of their careers. Discovering raw, new, untapped talent and watching their careers go from strength to strength has continued to be a major highlight of her casting career. This past year she was invited to be a judge at the longest running film festival in Los Angeles, the prestigious ARPA Film Festival. Karen was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland and now resides in Los Angeles. Full Bio »
Commercial work can provide you with some of the most fun and lucrative work you can secure as an actor. Getting the right commercial spot with the right brand can help elevate you and your profile as an actor on a national level and capture the attention of casting directors, filmmakers and producers who want to work with you. Knowing what it takes to stand out and improve your callback / booking chances is essential to effectively outpace the competition and secure a lasting career in commercials. You've put the work into honing your craft, now it's time to learn how to navigate the landscape and land those roles.
Auditioning for commercials takes special skills and knowhow in order for you to stand out from the pack and win the room. Unlike theatrical casting, you have more room to play and let the real YOU shine during your audition. At the end of the day, giving a great performance in the room is important, but being crushing the role and being memorable is even better. Almost always, casting directors see hundreds of actors for each commercial. You want to not only knock your audition out of the park, but keep yourself first and foremost in the minds of the casting director so you're remembered for the next role, the one after that, and so on. It may surprise you to learn, setting yourself apart is not as hard as you think.
Karen Ryan has cast hundreds of commercials over the past 15 years and has in-depth knowledge of the things that directors, ad agencies and clients watch out for when choosing who best represents their brand. She has worked with Corona, Hyundai, Home Depot, Toyota, Walmart, Pizza Hut, Hershey's, Just For Men and more, as well as with major studios such as Disney and NBC Universal (among many others!). She has helped guide actors to be more effective in their choices, how they present themselves and how they can set themselves apart to ultimately improve their chances of booking commercial work. And now she's sharing that knowledge with you exclusively on Stage 32.
Karen will teach you the knowledge of how to up your game in the fast paced, competitive world of commercials. You will go through the process from breakdown to booking and understand how to prep your commercial copy. She'll share with you what non-verbal clues can give you a competitive advantage and teach you the do's and don'ts (from a casting director's perspective) in the the casting room. You will know what casting directors and producers are ultimately looking for and how you can bring the best YOU to the audition. She'll also teach you where and when to go off script and improv to give yourself a distinct advantage when the time is right. You'll also learn how to deconstruct your reel (honestly) and how to best present it.
You will gain complete insight into booking more commercial work and gain the tools and knowledge to help you win the room, book more work, and stay first and foremost in the casting director's mind.
"Karen truly cares about bringing out my best self. Since working with her I have booked more roles in one year than I had in the previous 5. The acting industry needs more people like Karen!"
- Sean R.
"Excellent advice and guidelines for improved auditions"
- Steven F.
"Bring Karen back! She's great!"
- Anne H.
"Loved Karen and all the info she shared!"
- Roxanne H.
Q: What is the format of a webinar?
A: Stage 32 Next Level Webinars are typically 90-minute broadcasts that take place online using a designated software program from Stage 32.
Q: Do I have to be located in a specific location?
A: No, you can participate from the comfort of your own home using your personal computer! If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar.
Q: What are the system requirements?
A: You will need to meet the following system requirements in order to run the webinar software: Windows 7 or later Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) or later.
If you have Windows XP, Windows Vista and Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion): The webinar software does not support these operating systems. If you are running one of those operating systems, please upgrade now in order to be able to view a live webinar. Upgrade your Windows computer / Upgrade your Mac computer
Q: What if I cannot attend the live webinar?
A: If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar. If you cannot attend a live webinar and purchase an On-Demand webinar, you will have access to the entire recorded broadcast, including the Q&A.
Q: Will I have access to the webinar afterward to rewatch?
A: Yes! After the purchase of a live or On-Demand webinar, you will have on-demand access to the audio recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!
In today’s marketplace, not only are more and more films are becoming female focused, but the demand for screenplays and films with female driven lead characters is growing rapidly. With the success of blockbusters such as WONDER WOMAN, ATOMIC BLONDE, RED SPARROW, ALIEN: COVENANT and TERMINATOR: DARK FATE, the box office is proving that not only is there an appetite for female-starring films, but also that they can be profitable. Everyone is looking for the next original idea with a female lead that can be turned into a franchise. With that being said, it is important to understand what goes into creating a female character in these male dominant genres and avoid the most common mistakes and tropes. There are many misconceptions and challenges that writers fall into when it comes to creating female characters for a large, global audience. The most common is the gender flip, which is taking a male character and write it as a female. It’s examples such as this that are most often believed to be the correct approach to creating a female character in a male driven genre when in fact it’s the opposite. This webinar will provide these kind of examples and explain where the mistakes lie, how to correct them and the importance of creating authentic female characters. Aimee Rivera is the development executive at Skydance Media. Skydance produces blockbuster films such as TOP GUN: MAVERICK, Netflix's 6 UNDERGROUND, directed by Michael Bay and starring Ryan Reynolds, ANNIHILATION, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: FALLOUT, TERMINATOR: DARK FATE, and WORLD WAR Z. Aimee is focused on finding female driven blockbusters and franchises for Skydance's upcoming slate. Aimee will go over how the #MeToo movement has changed the way female characters are written and an overview on how female leads in today's world have evolved. She will get break down WONDER WOMAN, ATOMIC BLONDE, RED SPARROW, THE HUNGER GAMES, TERMINATOR: DARK FATE, and ALIEN: COVENANT and look at the differences between these female characters and compare them to male franchise characters in films such as MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, JASON BOURNE and JAMES BOND. She'll teach you what makes a great character, what are the tropes and common misconceptions and break down the types of female characters you can write. She will discuss writing characters in male driven genres for today's market including whether there are boundaries you must be aware of when writing female characters, what the modern female character looks like in today's filmmaking world, whether male writers can write female characters, and what today's audience looks and connects with as it relates to strong, but flawed, female leads. Aimee will also get into her ultimate tips on writing female characters - not only in male-driven genres, but also in a post #MeToo world. She'll even share some writing exercises to assure that your female characters JUMP off the page. This is an opportunity to develop, hone and, ultimately, write female characters that not only will attract representation, producers and financiers, but to make sure your script is as market ready (and perhaps, franchise ready) as possible. Praise for Aimee's Stage 32 Webinar: The webinar was great and so was Aimee! She's extremely knowledgeable about the movie industry and writing screenplays and provided excellent examples of strong female characters in action movies. -Lyle D. This was great - a lot of information talked about very succinctly, with tips and discussions on the different facets and difficulties that can present themselves. Very enjoyable! -Dawn P. A great theme about female characters. Needed this very for my story. I like the simplicity of the elements taught with the details of what's needed for films nowadays. -Mary M. Aimee was very clear and concise with her points and description. Very informative on the subject. I was able to garner several pages of helpful notes that I'm sure will help me with many of my female characters. -Lauro C.
As an independent filmmaker, screening your project at a film festival may be the best opportunity to put your film (and yourself) on display. It remains a powerful platform for filmmakers of all levels to have their work seen. In fact you’d be hard-pressed to find a successful filmmaker working today who didn’t get their start at a festival. It’s where films get sold, where talent gets discovered, where reputations are crafted, where communities are built, and where the best networking can happen. And with the current movement away from the theatrical model and towards streaming, festivals can also often be the only possible way to physically show your film on the big screen to an audience during its life cycle. Film festivals are indeed often the next desired destination for a filmmaker, but it’s not always easy to get in, even with a great film. It can be disheartening after finishing a film and investing so much money and resources into it to realize there is still more money to be spent in going the festival route. The act of submitting to festivals can set you back hundreds, if not thousands of dollars simply through festivals’ submission fees. It’s probably going to add up no matter what, but it can set way pricier without a plan in place. It’s common for filmmakers ready with a film to more or less blindly submit to festivals: “Sundance? Check. Tribeca? Check. Cinequest? I heard that one was good, let’s do it.” Yet just because you’ve heard of a festival, just because it’s a legitimately great festival, doesn’t mean it’s the right fit for your project, and it doesn’t your film is the right fit for them. Successfully navigating the festival landscape requires a lot more effort and a lot more time than just pressing that submit button. Yet doing the research, understanding your goals, and carefully building your strategy will not only yield more positive results, but will also save you money on unneeded submission fees in the long run. For nearly a decade Harrison Glaser has been immersed in the professional film industry working for Austin Film Festival and Stage 32. As Austin Film Festival’s Film Competition Director, he programmed the festival’s films for five years and discovered his passion for identifying deserving projects and championing exciting and unrecognized talent. During Harrison’s tenure as AFF’s Film Competition Director, over 100 films he programmed went on to secure distribution, six short films were later nominated for Oscars, and one that he qualified ultimately won the Academy Award. His work with Austin Film Festival and Stage 32 allows him to champion undiscovered storytellers and help them amplify their work. He also serves as a professional moderator for many different film related industry panels both online and offline. Through his many years leading AFF’s film selection and working closely with other film fests, he has become intimately familiar with the inner workings of larger festivals, as well as the common missteps many filmmakers make when working with them. He’s excited to share what he knows exclusively with the Stage 32 community. Harrison will walk you through how best to develop your film festival strategy and choose the right festivals for your film, well before you start submitting. He will begin with the basics of why you should or shouldn’t be submitting to festivals in the first place, and how to best think of festivals as a tool. He’ll then lay out what the festival landscape looks like, including what makes up the “Festival Circuit”, what Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 festivals are, and the lowdown on both niche festivals and destination festivals. Next he will delve into the importance of having your own specific festival goal and how to find it. He’ll provide six examples of valid and common festival goals and how best to adjust your submission strategy for each. Harrison will go deep into how to research festivals before submitting and what you should be looking for before you should feel comfortable paying their submission fee. He’ll also offer various strategies to choose the right festival and giving yourself the best advantage in getting accepted, including considering niche festivals, finding your ‘in’ and developing your network. He’ll spend some time explaining how scam festivals work and what you can do to spot them and stay away from them. He will offer some tips and context of what you should do if you film is ultimately rejected from one of your top choices, and also what to do if your film is ultimately accepted. You will leave with a slew of strategies to tackle your festival run more strategically and more effectively. Praise for Harrison's Previous Stage 32 Webinar: "This was great. Very comprehensive about festival strategy and works for shorts and features. Probably the best content about this topic I've seen" -Paige F. "The teacher really knew his subject. He was also friendly & warm and made the students feel relaxed. A well spent event and I learned so much." -Toni M. "Appreciated the way Harrison did not gloss over any point — he spoke thoroughly about everything." -Elease P. "Very knowledgeable, open, easy to follow" -Marilyn L.
Learn directly from Nick Hoffa, Actor (recently Scandal, Justified, Castle), Performance Coach, and Host of Eyeline, a podcast that gets up in the brains of Hollywood actors. You can’t perform to your potential if you are in the dark about your skills. Every other art form values breaking down that artistic skill into its component parts. For some reason, acting resists this, relying instead on vague language like, were you in the moment? Or were you in your head? In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, your host Nick Hoffa will guide you through a questionnaire on the most common acting issues. After taking the questionnaire, you’ll have a concrete list of your strengths and weaknesses. Armed with this info, you will be able to audition better, perform how you want on set, take the right kinds of classes and spend time fixing past stubborn mistakes. Take control of your career and stop waiting for others to tell you how it went! You Will Leave This Webinar Knowing: Your acting strengths and weaknesses. How to let go of bad auditions or performances. What kinds of classes to focus on next. How to apply the questionnaire to every performance you do. When he’s not acting on TV, your host Nick Hoffa spends his time talking with working actors about their struggles and triumphs. He runs Wheelhouse Acting, a Los Angeles workshop for seasoned Hollywood actors and also hosts Eyeline, a podcast featuring conversations with Emmy and Oscar nominated folks as well as workhorses all over your TV. From these conversations, Nick has learned there is no one right way to do this, that success comes when you are honest with yourself about what works and what doesn't, and he is here exclusively with Stage 32 to share that knowledge with you.
In between acting gigs it's good for you to take on extra work (outside of waiting tables, doing temp work or driving Uber), and one best kept secret to do that is commercial modeling work. But, most actors don't know where to start with this different type of work! Unlike other jobs, most commercial modeling jobs only last a few hours. Commercial modeling work hardly ever interferes with film, TV and theater performances, and it’s a great way to stay busy in between film or TV performances. It’s a better way to make additional income doing what you love by being in front of the camera. Commercial models come in every form. They are the glorified versions of everyday people, and, let’s face it, as an actor you can morph into any of those roles once the camera turns on. A commercial model is hired to portray the doctor, teacher, mom, banker, student, grandparent, blue-collar worker, patient, real estate agent, athlete, musician, nurse, attorney, and the list goes on and on! Commercial models will earn a great hourly rate per session, and if the ad is running in a high exposure format (billboards, posters, on the side of a bus, Internet, package, etc.), generally bonuses are paid on top of your session fee. That certainly beats bussing your tables at a restaurant, working graveyard shifts at a call center, or stocking a back room at a retail store before your next film, TV show or play starts! So, what are you waiting for? Learn how to take advantage of being a commercial model to make additional income in between acting gigs! “I used the techniques you suggested and just booked a job for McDonalds. Thank you so much.”Silviu Gansca -Actor/ Model • New York “If you ever thought about pursuing TV commercials then you should also learn about commercial print modeling. This is a must for anyone breaking into commercial modeling or wanting to advance a career.”Joan See, The NY Conservatory for Dramatic Arts • New York
4 part class taught by Producer Michael Wormser, whose online distribution projects have reached over 30 million viewers! AVAILABLE ON DEMAND! Have you ever wondered how so many people have films, trailers, shorts and webisodes online that have achieved massive fan bases and are making millions of dollars? Well the truth is they aren’t any different than you, and in today’s world you have the same resources available that they do. There are many outlets to reach an audience, but how many of these are effective? In this course, you'll find out the best ways to not only reach an audience, but to engage and successfully grow an audience online. Stage 32 Next Level Classes is excited to bring you the previously-recorded 4 part class: Zero to Hero: How to Build an Online Audience taught by Michael Wormser, who brought the viewership content of Maker Studios from 40M to 250M monthly! Learn how you can see success in this competitive directly from an executive who's mastered it. Purchasing gives you access to the previously-recorded live class.Although Michael is no longer reviewing the assignments, we still encourage all listeners to participate!
Stage 32 Next Level Webinars is extremely excited to exclusively present They Said "No" - Why Did They Pass on My Material taught by Dan Wiedenhaupt, former Creative Executive of Atlas Entertainment (WONDER WOMAN, JUSTICE LEAGUE, SUICIDE SQUAD, AMERICAN HUSTLE, THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY) Many filmmakers and writers look forward to that exciting moment when they get their work in front of executives. Once in front of an executive, it's exhilarating waiting for the decision makers to view a reel, hear a pitch, or read a script. Then, when the call comes and the decision has been made, sometimes it's a "pass" or "no" and the only question left on a filmmaker or writer's mind is "Why?" Why did they pass on my material? Says Dan, "After reading thousands of scripts and hearing hundreds of pitches, I found that there are many common problems and red flags in scripts and presentations that nearly everyone makes - problems which will immediately make me, or another executive, pass on the script or idea. This is something that affects every single director or writer at any stage of the process - whether you're a first-time filmmaker or a Hollywood veteran. I have spent several years working in all aspects of film, television, and commercials - from both a physical production and development angle. I've seen the best of the best and I've seen some of the worst. After this time of cultivating my taste and my thick skin, I'm ready to pay the wisdom forward. I will be brutal, direct and to the point, and hopefully a little funny, pulling back the curtain of the development process." Dan will teach you why you are not receiving the response you are looking for from your film or screenplay pitch and how to fix those issues immediately. He will show you the do's and don'ts related to introductions and openings of a pitch or submission. He will teach you the red flags within your pitch including your story, presentation and personality. He will dive into what execs are looking for, how to assure you're tailoring your pitch to who you're pitching and navigating the "Culture of No" (and giving them a reason to say "Yes".) Dan will even show you examples of pitches he's passed on and pitches that had him begging for more. That's just some of what Dan will tackle, and rest assured, he'll leave you not only with a wealth of actionable information, but a ton of inspiration as well! Dan will explain to you exactly what it looks (and sounds) like from an executive's side of the table. He'll give you the tips and tricks to assure that your film or screenplay pitch is on point and attractive to representation, buyers, producers, financiers and development execs. Praise for Dan "There's nothing like learning at the feet of an expert in their field. I was inspired from the beginning to the end!" -Marla O. "There's nothing worse than being rejected. Except now understanding WHY I've been rejected. Thank you, Dan, for making me see the error of my ways and helping me course correct." - Terry G. "Worth 10 times the price. Gold." - Thom P. "I can't believe I'm saying this, but thanks to Dan, I can't wait to pitch. What was pure horror in my mind has now turned to an abundance of hope." - Tasha P.