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!
Learn directly from Jon Sperry, one of the most experienced dialect coaches in America who has coached such actors as Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Rodrigo Santoro, Sofia Vergara, Zoe Saldana, Russell Crowe, Matt Dillon and Harvey Keitel! In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, you will take your acting to the next level by learning how to accurately speak with American and British accents. You will also learn the common regional variations, so you can have a well-rounded comprehension of the accent and play any role that requires an accent from either country. Utilizing exceptional instruction from a world renowned Acting and Voice coach, this webinar will help you begin to learn to speak like a native British or American citizen, no matter your natural accent or dialect! You will leave the webinar knowing: How to reduce or eliminate your natural accent or dialect. How to hear the difference between characteristic American and British sounds. What regional accent differences exist and how to mimic them. How to decipher a person’s origin by their accent and how to apply that to your acting. An introduction to speaking like a native of both countries. You will also have recorded exercises to help you practice on your own time! Your host Jon Sperry is one of the top dialect and voice coaches in America. Jon has trained and/or coached many hundreds of actors of all levels, including such actors as Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Rodrigo Santoro, Sofia Vergara, Zoe Saldana, Gael Garcia Bernal, Julie Delpy, Liam Neeson, Juliette Lewis, Famke Janssen, Matt Dillon, Minnie Driver, Russell Crowe, Sophia Loren, Debbie Reynolds, Giancarlo Giannini, John Turturro, Geena Davis, Melanie Griffith, Thomas Kretschmann, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. He has enjoyed a long collaboration with Harvey Keitel on 15 films, including The Piano, Bugsy, Reservoir Dogs, The Bad Lieutenant, and Thelma and Louise. He has coached films made by Francis Ford Coppola, Jane Campion, Ridley Scott, Theo Angelopoulos, Barry Levinson, Andy Davis, Robert Rodriguez, Roland Joffé and Quentin Tarantino, to name a few. Jon is an expert in his field and he is here exclusively for Stage 32 to help you with your accent training!
Internet TV is not “TV light”, in fact it’s not TV at all. It’s a completely different sandbox than TV and while many of the rules of the game are the same, there are distinctly different rules you must know before you break them. In this informative and entertaining seminar, Digital Strategist and Web Series Launch Expert, Brian Rodda outlines the Top 5 things to consider while in pre-production for your digital series. Items to be discussed are: Appropriate length and form specific to different video distribution platforms (Youtube vs. Vimeo vs. Netlfix, etc…) casting/working with a Digital Influencer, expanding your world with Ancillary Content, Marketing Budgets, securing social media real estate and so much more! To read the Television Academy's interview with Brian click here!
Founded in 2011 by Richard "RB" Botto, Stage 32 is the world's largest online platform connecting and educating film, TV and new media creatives and professionals worldwide. Stage 32 works with over five hundred industry professionals and executives who provide education, instruction and professional opportunities for members of the platform. Stage 32 currently has over 1,200 hours of exclusive film, television and digital craft and business education in its library. Stage 32 members use the platform daily to build their network, take online webinars, classes and labs, find work and cast and crew their projects. Stage 32 members range from students to Emmy, BAFTA and Academy Award Winners. We work tirelessly to ensure that you know that Stage 32 is your online home to stay connected with over 600,000 creatives and professionals from across the globe. Now, we are excited to present a virtual panel featuring some of the top minds in the Stage 32 community to discuss the current state of television, as the industry adapts to a new development and production landscape after the COVID-19 pandemic and a continuing battle between the WGA & ATA. In this roundtable discussion you will hear the point of view of a production company (Tracy Mercer, Senior Vice President, Television at Amasia Entertainment), a television packager (Stuart Arbury, Director of TV & Episodic Content at Ramo Law), a literary manager (Raquelle David of Elevate Entertainment), a writer, producer, Stage 32 CEO (Rich “RB” Botto), all moderated by producer, writer, and the Stage 32 Director of Script Services (Jason Mirch). Stage 32 is proud to be putting the "social" in #SocialDistancing. Please share this event on your social media and tag @stage32 on Twitter and @stage32online on Instagram.
What is the most important element toward your film to landing a distributor? The script? The director? You may be surprised. For many distributors, the choice of one film over another often comes down to whether your film features an actor that audiences recognize. Actors’ performances breathe life into a film, and their fame gives a film its marketing power. Whether you're shooting a student or short film, ultra low budget, low budget or new media, it's important to sign talent that will help move the needle on your project. As important, you must know how to navigate the wide, varied landscape of actor agreements to assure that you are buttoned up legally so that distributors and sales agents are attracted to your project. Because performers realize the hold they have over a film project, negotiating talent services agreement can be a nail-biting experience. Virtually every recognizable performer has a team of agents, managers, and attorneys ready to protect the actor’s interests and negotiate the best deal they can for their client. For producers, knowing how to negotiate an actor’s contract is critical for the success of their films. Making sure that you have your film set up properly from the legal perspective at the get-go will help put you in the best position to negotiate. And, making sure you know the clauses to look out for during negotiation and how to handle them is crucial. Thomas A. Crowell, Esq. is an entertainment and intellectual property attorney and partner with the New York law firm of LaneCrowell, LLP. Mr. Crowell counsels clients on a wide range of entertainment law and intellectual property rights issues, including deals with TLC, Elsevier Publishing, Starz, Discovery Communications, Focal Press, the Smithsonian Network, WE: The Women's Entertainment Network, The Science Technology Network, IDW Publishing, and Sony Entertainment. His clients' work is seen in the pages of Marvel and DC comics and on movie, TV, computer, and mobile screens across the world. Throughout his career he's helped hundreds of producers and actors protect themselves when signing the Talent Services Agreement. Thomas will walk you through labor and employment issues to consider when hiring key cast for your production, as well as give you payroll company resources you can use. You'll learn how to sign you production up as a signatory with SAG-AFTRA and how to be compliant. He will help you determine which union agreement your film will fall under and discuss the differences to consider between a student/short film, ultra low budget, low budget or new media project. Once you understand how to set up your film correctly, he will teach you how you can negotiate with agents, managers and other actor's representatives. Finally, Thomas will go over the key elements of a legal actor/talent services agreement. This is an all encompassing look at the broad landscape of actor's agreements taught with an easy to understand and comprehensive delivery. Whether you are making student films, short films, feature films, or new media projects with ultra low, low, medium or big budgets, you will learn EXACTLY what you need to get your actor's agreements buttoned up and protected. "One of the best yet! All are informative and I have learned from each, but this one topped the charts. Definitely want Thomas back. Thanks!" Jessica R. "This was incredibly detailed. I appreciated that Thomas took a lot of time showing real life examples and included easy to understand descriptions of all the clauses that would make my spin. Well worth the time." Paul P.
Kristi Speiser, Certified Image Consultant and Life Coach for actors has been in the business 25 years and worked with stars such as Jennifer Lopez, Will Smith and Gerard Butler! Now she brings her extensive knowledge and experience in honing, refining and defining an actor's image exclusively to Stage 32. Examples of Kristi's Image Consulting Work “Going within is the most challenging place one will ever go. But this brings the biggest payoffs and sets you up for more success in life both personally and professionally” - Kristi Speiser When you're an actor, you're seemingly being given advice at every turn. Whether it's who to take acting classes with, how to address casting directors in and out of the room, or what roles you are or aren't a fit for, the opinions never seem to stop coming. It can be overwhelming. But one piece of advice that is golden is that understanding your brand and assuring that you are doing everything possible to put that brand on display will undeniably give you an advantage in a very crowded field. Simply put, most actors go into headshot sessions, auditions, and meetings with no clue or definitive idea as to what they're putting out there or how they are being perceived. That's something that's fully in your control and something that you can begin honing, shaping, and changing starting today. Kristi Speiser is a certified image consultant and life coach with the International Coaching Federation. After a hugely successful 20 year career working with actors in fashion advertising, Kristi moved on to become Chief Operations Manager in her husband’s acting studio. For 25 years she had an insider’s access to the business side of acting and entertainment. Exposed to thousands of actors, she played a part in the rise of major directors, producers, and stars like, Jennifer Lopez, Will Smith and Gerard Butler. Exclusively for Stage 32, Kristi will teach you how to gain a full understanding of you who are and use that to help you define your brand. She will show you how you are likely perceived by decision makers and gatekeepers and how you can change that perception so you stop wasting time and money pursuing the wrong roles or markets. She will show you how clothes, voice patterns, communication behavior and more can be altered and modified to any situation to increase your chances of success. She will discuss how you can build effective and important relationships so you stay top of mind of casting directors and producers. Kristi will even get down into your headshots - telling you the real truths - and what photos and information should be on a personal website. In short, Kristi will teach you how to treat your career as a business and how embracing that mentality alone, and implementing these strategies toward that end, will result in more work and more happiness! This is a major deep dive into your image and brand designed to help actors of all experience and skill levels. This information will leave you refreshed, reinvigorated, and ready to tackle any audition or meeting! She helped me realize the image I was putting out there was not an accurate representation of who I was. She opened my eyes to a world of color, silhouettes and accessories. Through her nurturing, I not only discovered the ability to reflect my essence outwardly, but also how to own it. – Leena H. She is an expert at what she does but most importantly someone who truly desires to see her clients succeed in the industry. – Stephanie F. I felt like I was being pulled in a dozen different directions when it came to my career: my look, my characters, my goals, my personality… Kristi brought all that into focus. – Shayna R.
In the current, competitive TV landscape of serialized dramas, complex comedies, and sprawling genre epics, series bibles are becoming important selling tools to help writers illustrate their visions. A dynamic and intriguing bible can create interest in your project, and push your pitch or spec script over the edge to a sale. It’s your chance to lay out the larger arc of your story, list examples of future episodes, and explain the broad themes your show will explore. It conveys confidence to producers and executives by saying: “I've thought about this in the long run, and I have a slew of awesome ideas to explore in series.” Because there is no standard industry way to format your bible, they can be extremely confusing to create. Executives receive bibles as small as 4 pages (a mini-bible, really) and as long as 27 pages. Should it include your personal connection to the material? In-depth character bios? Visual motifs? Artist’s renderings of the setting and characters? Although bibles can vary greatly from project to project, there are some general rules and strategies to follow to make sure yours stands out from the pack as professional, polished, and powerful. Michael Poisson's career is one that has been filled with incredible ambitious drive and creative passion. He is a veteran television executive and is currently a writer on the hit Netflix series Raising Dion, as well as Adult Swim's Robot Chicken. But Michael’s story begins with his first industry job at CAA where he broke the glass ceiling for men everywhere and became their first ever male receptionist (before then, CAA had segregated based on sex: guys in the mailroom and girls in reception). From there he worked his way up to Rick Lefitz’s desk at CAA in TV Packaging, before jumping to Ryan Reynolds and Allan Loeb’s TV pod, DarkFire TV, for two years. He moved on to work as the Director of Development at Krysten Ritter’s company, Silent Machine Entertainment, where he worked closely with writers to develop their ideas to pitch to studios and networks. Michael has also had numerous successes as a screenwriter. In what has become an ultra-competitive environment, Michael will teach you the ins and outs of creating a compelling and willing TV bible. Starting with the proper formatting, how to introduce dynamic characters, and moving through how to include active and engaging episode examples, Michael will show you what grabs and keeps an executive's attention. Michael will also discuss artwork, articles and visual aids and whether your bible truly needs them or if they should be left out entirely. He will show you how to create and present carefully crafted, season long arcs that include strong and relatable themes. Always a challenge for writers, producers, and filmmakers putting together a series bible, Michael will teach you how to be clear and concise in explaining your direction for the series. He will spend quality time explaining and teaching the importance of a strong wrap up and closing beat and how to nail both. Michael will even teach you how to identify and decide which network or platform may be best for your show. "Answered so many of my questions about bible writing. Took away my fears as well! I can't wait to get started." - Mia L. "Demystification complete." Lorraine R. "Michael has energy and knowledge to spare. Best investment I've made in years." - Regina K. "There is so much mixed information on bible writing out there. It's confusing and, honestly, maddening. I appreciated Michael slowly, concisely, and thoroughly explaining what works, what doesn't and how to bring a winning series bible to life. Bravo." Angelo D.