Casting Director Tips: Acting For TV Without a Traditional Script

Improv & Soft-Scripted Techniques
Hosted by Mark J. Parker

$49

On Demand Webinar - For immediate download. Unlimited access for 1 year.

Start Learning

Please make sure you use the same email address as the one you use to sign in to Stage 32, otherwise you won't have access to your webinar.
apply Your coupon will be applied after you agree to terms below.

- or -

$49.00
TOTAL PRICE:
Overlay Icon

Stage 32 Next Level Education has a 97% user satisfaction rate.

Mark J. Parker

Webinar hosted by: Mark J. Parker

Casting Director & Talent Relations at ABC's Lincoln Square Productions

Mark J. Parker has been the Casting Director & Talent Relations at ABC's in-house production company Lincoln Square Productions for the past three years. He's been casting in the improv-based/soft-scripted world of entertainment since 2012 in NYC, working on shows ranging from "Celebrity Ghost Stories" and "I Killed My BFF" to "What Would You Do?" "Adnan Syed: Innocent or Guilty?" and "20/20 on ID Presents: Homicide." In addition to casting, Mark is an actor, writer, director, assistant director, producer, social media director, publicity manager, script supervisor, talent coordinator, and more... His short film "Sticks," which was completed in 2016, has screened at over 20 film festivals throughout North America. He enjoys the balance of working at a major mainstream network and working in the independent film world. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

Learning improv techniques doesn't just make you a stronger actor, it also makes you ready for all kinds of situations in your day-to-day life. When actors hear "improv," they usually think of live comedy shows, which is definitely an exciting route for improv actors to pursue, but this kind of improv I'll be discussing and teaching is based on an outline, or "soft script" that actors follow, which is rooted in reality for TV.

Improv-based & soft-scripted TV programming is becoming more and more popular and successful, especially if it's crime-related or comedic, thanks to the many shows that air on cable networks like Investigation Discovery, Oxygen, Lifetime, MTV, TruTV, A&E, Comedy Central, and broadcast networks like ABC and NBC. If you can do it, it's a fairly fast and fun way to make some money as an actor, add more credits to your resume, and strengthen your skills to be able to change the direction of your performance quickly and seamlessly.

I've been casting these kinds of roles for five years now, and it's always exciting for me to see actors who can be flexible in their performances. After taking this webinar, you'll have a better understanding of this particular "style" of acting, and feel more confident auditioning for these kinds of roles, and for any role in general.

What You'll Learn

This is a completely interactive online webinar limited to 12 actors. You will be interacting as an acting group online with your instructor. Attendees must be prepared to share their webcams and workshop acting techniques with one another.

 

Part 1: Overview of casting & improv for camera

Introduce myself, talk about my experience, and also about how popular soft-scripted/recreation/improv-based shows are today. I'll focus on casting shows/specials like ABC's "What Would You Do?," A&E's upcoming "Kids & Guns," Investigation Discovery's "Adnan: Innocent or Guilty?", Hulu's "Swiped," Lifetime Movie Network's & Bio Channel's "Celebrity Ghost Stories" and "I Killed My BFF." I'll go around and meet the actors and learn their experience doing improv-based work (experience not required!).

 

Part 2: Online group workshop - soft-scripted & recreation scenes

Begin doing soft-scripted & recreation scenes. We will send out sample outlines ahead of time for you to look over. I'll pair people up, or do single person scenes, and do recreation moments, ranging from a police interrogation, to a ghost story, to a funny fake commercial, a hostage situation, etc. These are all real things I've had to book actors for. I'll feed direction, as if I were the director on set guiding them through the scene. I'll give any notes/feedback to the group about these scenes.

  

Part 3: Online group workshop - improv scenarios

Move onto improv scenarios. I'll assign different scenarios to actors in pairs, mostly all based on "What Would You Do?" moments but maybe also other shows as well. Anything from harassing someone, to stealing something from someone, to persuading someone to do something. Since we're doing this online, this will stretch your imaginations even more. Once I assign everyone one or two scenes, we will take a 5 minute break so they can prepare.

Begin the improv scenarios. I'd feed them lines and direction cues as they're doing improv with each other. Whenever there's a lull in their improv, I will chime in to give a line and see how they do repeating it/adding it in without breaking character. I'll give any notes/feedback to the group about these scenarios

 

Q&A

 

About Your Instructor

Mark J. Parker has been the Casting Director & Talent Relations at ABC's in-house production company Lincoln Square Productions for the past three years. He's been casting in the improv-based/soft-scripted world of entertainment since 2012 in NYC, working on shows ranging from "Celebrity Ghost Stories" and "I Killed My BFF" to "What Would You Do?" "Adnan Syed: Innocent or Guilty?" and "20/20 on ID Presents: Homicide." In addition to casting, Mark is an actor, writer, director, assistant director, producer, social media director, publicity manager, script supervisor, talent coordinator, and more... His short film "Sticks," which was completed in 2016, has screened at over 20 film festivals throughout North America. He enjoys the balance of working at a major mainstream network and working in the independent film world.

FAQs

Q: How do I watch my webinar live?
A: If you received a confirmation that your webinar is on Go to Webinar, you will receive an email from Go to Webinar with further instructions for participating in the live webinar. You can also access your webinar link in your purchase history located under settings in the top right-hand corner of your Stage 32 profile.

If you received a confirmation that your webinar is on Zoom, you will receive a separate email from Zoom with further instructions for participating in the live webinar. Your login link will not be in your Stage 32 profile. If you did not receive your link via Zoom please email support@stage32.com.

Q: How do I watch my webinar on demand?
A: You will be able to watch your webinar on demand as many times as you’d like inside your Stage 32 profile. The recording is processed and posted between 24-48 hours after the webinar concludes. You can follow the instructions below.

YOU MUST HAVE A STAGE 32 PROFILE TO WATCH YOUR VIDEO – STAGE 32 IS FREE TO JOIN If You Already Have a Stage 32 Profile:

  1. Log into your Stage 32 profile
  2. Click "Settings" in the top right-hand corner (gear icon)
  3. Click "Purchase History"
  4. Choose this webinar and click the link to view
If You Do Not Have a Stage 32 Profile:
  1. Go to www.stage32.com
  2. Create a profile using the SAME email address you used to sign up for this webinar. The email addresses must match in order to watch the webinar.
  3. Once you have your profile set up, you can view the webinar by clicking "Settings" in the top right hand corner (gear icon)
  4. Click "Purchase History"
  5. Choose this webinar and click the link to view

Q: What is the format of a webinar?
A: Stage 32 Next Level Webinars are typically 90-minute educational broadcasts that take place online using a designated software program from Stage 32. Your webinar will be taught by a working industry professional with in-depth teaching on a topic. If you are able to attend live you will be able to ask your Stage 32 Educator questions during Q&A.

Q: What are the system requirements to watch my webinar live?
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 10.9 (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 cannot attend a live webinar or 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 re-watch?
A: Yes! Like all Stage 32 education, after the purchase of a live or on demand webinar, you will have on-demand access to the recording.

Q: How do I get a copy of the handouts provided?
A: If the webinar you take included handouts you can find them as downloads underneath your on demand video. You must be logged into your Stage 32 profile to view the video and get the handouts by clicking settings in the top right hand corner, then clicking purchase history.

Q: What if I need accessibility and accommodations?
A: Email support@stage32.com to request accommodations.

Thanks for your loyalty to Stage 32 Education. We value having you in the Stage 32 community.

If you have any further questions, we are always happy to help. Please contact Stage 32 support at support@stage32.com.

Relevant Tags

Questions?

If you have a generic question about Stage 32 education you can take a look at our frequently asked questions section on our help page, or feel free to contact support with any other inquiries you might have.

Other education that may be of interest to you:

National Spots - Acting In Today's Commercial Climate

Hi, Curt Cornelius here! I'm a professional working actor and have been active in the entertainment industry for over 33 years. Commercially, I have over 100 national network spots to my credit, as well as over 3 dozen film & TV shows. In my Stage 32 Next Level Webinar we will discuss, in detail, the current commercial climate, union VS. non-union VS. Fi-Cor Ads, one's materials - including headshots, how to construct a resume and/or a reel and their vital importance. I'll also touch on the online submission game and the importance of creating one's social media presence. We'll also chat about commercial classes and workshops, and even the first steps in regards to how to land an Agent. And, lastly, I'll chat about the commercial audition itself - offering my best advice, knowledge, experience and tools in just how to give your best audition and win the room.  

Getting Started In Voice Acting: Mastering Your Voice Technique, Reading & Recording

Limited spots available - only 10 students accepted - 5 spots remain Payment plans available - contact edu@stage32.com for details   You’ve been using your voice your whole life, but do you really know how to use your voice? There are so many factors that go into having a successful voice acting career, but building a strong foundation and learning the basics is a must if you want to get anywhere. There are a few things every voice actor must learn before getting started, and we’ve got a veteran voice actor to teach you step by step through the entire process all you need to know! Van Gunter has been a Cannes Gold Lion award-winning voice actor for over 20 years and co-owns Boutwell Studios, a Post Production Audio Facility. Boutwell produces commercials for television, does custom sound design for video or motion pictures, original music scoring for jingles or soundtracks, and works on specialized projects, such as ADR, podcasts or radio dramas. He’s voiced for NASA, Valvoline, BBVA Bank and Pandora, among many others. Van is a true voice over professional and is excited to share his years of experience with the Stage 32 community. He will be taking a small group of 10 creatives through an 8 session interactive and intensive lab to get you set up from start to finish working on a professional voice session. This is an exclusive opportunity to work one-on-one with a professional like Van that you will not find anywhere else.  This lab will fill up, so make sure to grab your spot today before it's gone!   "Van was engaging, humorous, and very knowledgeable at his craft, with plenty of helpful notes to help me understand the career very well." - John M.

Writers: Tips to Handle the "No's" and How to Move Your Career Forward

"No" "Pass" "It's not for me" - What do you do when your script gets passed on by every company you send it to? Screenwriting is extremely hard, especially when it comes to handling rejection. But the reality is, the "no's" are a normal and part of the game. Even professional screenwriters get rejected numerous times a year. This webinar will offer tips and best practices for how to accept rejection, learn from it, and move on. Rejection can actually be empowering, and going through its trenches will ultimately make your scripts stronger and your victories feel that much better. Many aspiring writers let rejection, or the fear of rejection, stop their career before it even starts. Far too many writers quit after one or two scripts that didn’t sell. Even worse, many would-be writers don't even finish a script because they are afraid that it will never find success. Don't let that happen to you.  Unless you’re a prodigy, rejection is something you will encounter over and over and over again, even if you become a working writer. But there are ways to prepare yourself for it, and use it as a teaching device to help you become better at what you love. The reality is, you can’t control if someone doesn’t like your work. But you can control how you react to rejection, and how you choose to move forward.   ABOUT YOUR STAGE 32 EDUCATOR It took Steve Desmond 17 screenplays to become a full time working screenwriter. He didn't give up and neither should you. Steve has landed on the industry Black List four times and worked with major production companies and studios including Fuller Media (A QUIET PLACE), Warner Bros, Legendary Pictures, Blumhouse, and Mandalay Pictures, and more. FilmNation (PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN, ARRIVAL) hired him to adapt the Stoker-award-winning horror novel THE CABIN AT THE END OF THE WORLD, and he's co-writing a project at Paramount with Wes Ball (THE TIME RUNNER) attached to direct. His short film, MONSTERS, which he wrote and directed, has amassed over two million views online and screened in over 100 film festivals worldwide, winning 45 awards. Steve believes that going through these trenches ultimately makes your script stronger and your victories even better. In this empowering webinar he'll prepare you for it so that you become better at what you love by showing you: The different kinds of rejection, including "no," no response, and the toxic response How to use rejection to make your script better The feedback process and finding trusted readers Defeating self-rejection How to get your script out there Understanding gatekeepers and how to get past them Tracking your submission progress while celebrating the wins Juggling multiple projects so you're always moving forward And so much more! You can't control if someone doesn't like your work. But you can control how you react to rejection and use it to your advantage.     "Before hearing from Steve, I would take months off between scripts if I got a really mean rejection because I couldn't handle it. Now, I'm always working on something new. If they don't want my script. No problem, someone else will or I'll make it myself!" - Emilio S.     

How to Start a Career in Film and TV Acting

It’s the dream of many to have a career as a working actor, and it’s easy to see why. The ability to support yourself through performing, creating characters and telling stories is incredibly exciting and rewarding. The good news is this is not beyond your reach. Even during COVID, more productions are coming together for more and more networks, studios and platforms, and with them, more opportunities for actors looking to break in. If you’re dedicated, talented, and have a working knowledge of how the entertainment industry works and how you can work within it, you can absolutely find opportunities and ultimately career as a working TV and film actor. First it’s important you learn everything you need to so you can find success. It’s common for new actors to believe that the craft alone will lead them to work and a comfortable career, but there’s a lot more that goes along with this profession. Honing your skill as a performer is paramount, but it needs to be accompanied by strategy, initiative, and an understanding of the industry. So what do you actually need to do in order get a jump start on your acting career? What materials do you need to have ready, who do you need in your corner and how can you make sure you stand out from others? Let’s take a look at what it really takes to get into acting. Taylor Nichols is an award winning filmmaker, theater director and actor with over one hundred credits to his name. He is currently on the Emmy-nominated Hulu show PEN15 and the HBO smash-hit PERRY MASON. Taylor has also appeared on shows such as Emmy and Golden Globe nominated THE WALKING DEAD and PRISON BREAK, the cultural hit DIRTY JOHN, Emmy-winning MODERN FAMILY, 24, Golden Globe nominated THE MENTALIST and many more. In addition to acting, Taylor is an award winning short filmmaker and an experienced producer with feature credits including THE NEXT STEP and CASE 219. Taylor brings to Stage 32 more than 30 years of experience in the entertainment industry and continues to mentor and champion new actors beginning their careers. He’s excited to share with the Stage 32 community the skills and lessons he’s developed throughout his career. Taylor will lay out a realistic and soup-to-nuts approach to how you can start a career as a film and TV actor and pave the way for success. He’ll go into what it actually looks like to be a career actor and what the path to success realistically looks like.  He’ll delve into building the prerequisites any actor needs to start, including pictures, a resume, a demo reel and the right attitude. He will discuss where and how to get started and how to take advantage of the right acting classes and theater companies. Next Taylor will share with you the tools you will need for your acting toolkit and will then teach you about acting representation and how to get it for your own career. He’ll delve into the casting process for both TV and film and give you advice on how you can stand out by creating your own content and using social media to your advantage. Finally Taylor will teach you how to treat your career like a business to stay afloat, smart, and successful. Through the lessons Taylor is laying out, you’ll have a comprehensive blueprint you can use to start your career in acting with your eyes open.     Praise for Taylor's Stage 32 Webinar   "I think this was the most well informed and detailed getting started class I have ever taken"-Cecelia S.   "Taylor Nichols gave so many nuggets of wisdom and helpful information about the business and about acting."-Amor O.   "Taylor was straight forward and honest. I thought he was very clear on what you need to do to get out there for both experienced and inexperienced actors" -Kelvin H.

The Ultimate Guide to Networking When You Don't Know Anyone

Networking. The mere word puts a chill up the spine of many creatives, especially when you may not even know anyone or know where to start. But if there's been one thing that's been proven time and time again, it's that we work in a relationship business. Winning champions of you and your work is as important than creating and honing the work itself. Whether you're introverted and have a distinct fear of putting yourself out there, or if you're an extrovert who isn't getting the results you're looking for in your relationship building efforts, we're here to help. Let's start by merging the idea of networking with the mindset of relationship building. The truth is relationship building can be a fun exercise you'll want to tackle every day. It's all about setting a positive approach, embracing a long term mentality, and building upon every success. The most successful people in film, television and digital media have spent years cultivating relationships, and remember, they all started without knowing anyone. They've understood that by being likable, selfless, and collaborative that people are going to not only want to help them succeed, but work with them as well. This is why the tribe mentality is so prevalent. And it's why the people who put relationship building strategies into practice every day are those who have found longevity in the business. Industry veteran Jessica Sitomer has over 20 years in the industry as a development executive, producer, writer and career coach for the Cinematographers Guild. Through the years she has perfected the art of relationship building - helping creatives grow their networks from one to two people to hundreds to thousands. When she moved to Los Angeles, she knew two people and one of them moved the day after she got to LA. She made it her mission to learn how to survive and thrive in the creative industry. And survive and thrive she has. Not only is Jessica's network huge, but she has also written three best-selling books on the subject of networking and relationship building, And… Action! Powerful, Proven, and Proactive Strategies to Achieve Success in the Entertainment Industry, The Greenlight Coach and You Got This: For Those Who Work Hard and Play Hard - How to go From Burnout to Bliss. Here Jessica brings her unique brand and boundless energy exclusive to Stage 32 to help you get to the next level by giving you concrete steps and tools to build relationships that lead to roles, jobs, reads, financing, and more. Jessica will show you how to best approach social media and how to utilize this valuable tool in a way that takes away the intimidation factor to meeting people. She will show you how to be more collaborative, to check your ego at the door, and to make sure you're communicating in the right fashion. She will tackle live events and how you can make sure you get the most bang for your buck. She will teach you strategies to help you grow as a communicator and collaborator. She'll even teach you how to reach out to those you may have previously thought untouchable and show you that no one is off limits!   This is a comprehensive overview of how you can take your networking and relationship building skills from good to great. You will learn everything you need to know to step up, stand out and change the course of your career.    I've been following, reading, and listening to Jessica for years. It's little wonder why she's been so successful. This webinar challenged me to put all my self-made BS to the side and just let myself go. And the results are already speaking for themselves. She's a superstar in every sense of the word. - Miriam P. 

How to Turn Your Film or TV Idea into a Podcast to Get the Industry's Attention

This webinar includes a downloadable resource sheet that goes over a podcast checklist, equipment needs, platforms and voice over resources! Podcasts are hotter than ever with hits like HOMECOMING, 2 DOPE QUEENS, and DIRTY JOHN and are a great way to get your film or TV idea noticed. Podcasts are much less expensive than shooting your pilot or making your film on spec so they help you test the waters with storylines and characters, while figuring out the tone of the show and even building a loyal fan base for an eventual film or TV series. If you’ve got a great film or TV idea and are stuck trying to figure out how to get the right eyes, then you need to consider turning your idea into a podcast! This is such a new frontier, so it’s difficult for many to know where to even start. How do you tell the story you’ve imagined visually, through audio? Where do you even pitch a podcast? Not to mention, many creatives underestimate the power of audio, and making use of intimacy and soundscape to inform a story. Have you thought about getting into the podcast space? Or are you stuck with a film or TV idea that you can’t seem to get off the ground or have anyone pay attention to? With the guidance of someone who has found great success turning film and TV ideas into highly-coveted podcasts, you’ll be able to give your ideas a life you have yet to imagine!     Podcast producer Caroline Slaughter's recent iHeartRadio podcast ASTRAY was ranked Top 15 nationally and is now being developed into a TV series. She is currently working on podcast TOM SLICK with Andy Samberg. She is also executive producing the podcast TOM SLICK: MYSTERY HUNTER with ANDY SAMBERG and screenwriter JEB STUART (Die Hard, Vikings: Valhalla) attached, which will launch in Spring 2022. Her next non-fiction podcast in BODY TRADE in collaboration with Trailblazer Studios and Reuters News.  There is no one better than Caroline who knows what it takes to teach you how to create a successful podcast!

register for stage 32 Register / Log In