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 »
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.
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
Mark J. Parker
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! For a live webinar, you will be given the link within 2 business days after the live session.
Learn directly from Jordan Bass, Casting Director and partner in bass/casting, a bicoastal casting company with feature film and television credits including New Line Cinema's Annabelle, Starz' Spartacus pilot, Lionsgate's The Last Exorcism, and HBO's newest Project Greenlight among others! For many independent films, the filmmaker also wears the hat of casting director. How do you go about the casting process? How do you choose one actor over another when they both had a good audition? What should you be looking for to create your ensemble cast? In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, host Jordan Bass will breakdown the steps in the general casting process so you have a full comprehension of casting, from script to screen. He will focus primarily on the approach to independent film, and will share his advice on how to best tackle the "puzzle" that is creating a great ensemble cast. You will leave this webinar knowing: A general understanding of the basic casting process from first read to final locked class. How to dissect a script. The most effective tips to writing a character breakdown. A general understanding of the audition process. The most common pitfalls actors make during auditions Tips for creating a great working ensemble. Jordan Bass is a well-respected casting director, as well as partner in bass/casting, a bi-costal casting company run by brother-sister team Jordan and Lauren Bass. Recent theatrical films include the New Line thriller Annabelle, Lionsgate's Summer Camp, Chris Sparling's The Atticus Institute, and Friedberg & Seltzer's hilarious send-up of the Fast & Furious franchise Superfast. Upcoming releases include HBO's new Project Greenlight feature The Leisure Class, Blumhouse'sMartyrsdirected by The Goetz Bros, Sean Nalaboff's Hard Sell and Ryan Schwartz's Still Life.
Over the past few years, studios, independent production companies, networks and streamers have been turning to stories based on IP (Intellectual Property). Often times screenwriters, filmmakers and producers find great source material based on a book, article, life or public domain and the next part is struggling to figure out how to adapt it. You want to make sure that you are able to tell your story in the best possible way. Could it make a good movie? Or, do you have more elements that could make it extend longer into a full TV show? Or, what about creating a podcast that could sell? Making this crucial decision on how to adapt your story can help accelerate your path toward success. When embarking on a strategy to figure out how to adapt your IP, it's important to understand the potential and the limitations within the material. This includes considering many variables including the genre, budget, and story beats. Although you may have begun with a specific format in mind, sometimes you may find that your material may inherently lend itself to one format or another. So, how do you truncate a story into a 110 page script? Should you include more characters and write a pilot that can serve multiple seasons? Could you write a podcast to help your characters come to life? Understanding your audience and where that audience consumes content today might alter your thinking. And, most importantly, you must be paying attention to the marketplace - what's selling, who it sold to, where it will live - so that you don't waste time and navigate the landscape in a productive, more successful manner. Jim Young of Animus Films is a leading independent non-fiction producer, with almost two dozen films under his belt. Jim has created a successful career producing true-story films such as THE CATCHER WAS A SPY with Paul Rudd, LIFE OF A KING with Oscar-winner Cuba Gooding Jr., THE MAN WHO KNEW INFINITY with Oscar-nominee Dev Patel, LOVELACE with Oscar-nominee James Franco and Amanda Seyfried, and the upcoming film, THE PEOPLE VS. VEGAS DAVE. Jim has a long history of producing critically acclaimed features and documentaries including YEAR OF THE BULL at Showtime, THE WORDS with Oscar-nominee Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana. Almost all of Jim's projects are based off of IP and he has a clear grip on what adapts best to what medium and what the marketplace is currently looking for. Jim will go over how determine your objective for your project whether you're a director, writer, actor or a hybrid. He'll go over what is important to you in the overall process in order to help you be clear on what you want to get out of adapting your IP into a film, television pilot or podcast - whether it be creative satisfaction, financial gain or proof of concept. He'll go over what the flow of your story is - open ended or single climax, event vs. character driven and visual vs. storytelling. He'll help you determine your writing style to help cater to which format will work best for your project, discussing comparisons between X-FILES, DIE HARD, STAR WARS and STAR TREK. You'll learn how different genres and budgets play into a project based off of IP. And, most helpful, Jim will go over the current marketplace in terms of popularity of projects based on IP, and break down the pros and cons of working in each medium - film, television and podcast. You will have a clear direction on which format will work best for your project. Like what you heard from Jim from during this webcast? Send your script to Jim and speak with him for an hour by clicking here. Praise for Jim's Stage 32 Webinars: "This was my first webinar and I learned so much. I thought Jim was thorough in his descriptions of what each medium has to offer regarding IP" -Marietta K. "Jim opened up new avenues for our IP that I didn't realize existed. He was a great presenter and shared his own experience with relevant info. It was really motivating." -Ricki L. "Thoughtful way of exploring options. Using podcasts was inspirational." -JoAnne E. "Tons of new information. Thanks!" -Jacqueline L.
We all know that America is bursting with talented filmmakers. Are you an independent filmmaker, cinema or digital media student, D-I-Y filmmaker or videographer? Do you have great ideas, a few skills and few filmmaking friends? Maybe you can shoot a short movie, but can you finance one, find an audience to watch it, or promote and sell it? Raindance Film Festival Founder and social media maverick Elliot Grove comes to New York to bring a fresh look at breaking into the film industry to get your movie made and seen by others. Elliot has produced over 700 short films, 6 features and trained thousands of new and emerging filmmakers around the world. Discover how to use the Raindance method and social media to build audiences, source financing and screen films. CHARGE YOUR SMARTPHONES! Join @stage32 and @RaindanceNYC and #IndieFilmNYC for this information-packed one-day seminar. DOORS OPEN at 9:15 am.
Hello, Creative Army. It's been a busy few months around the Stage 32 offices and for yours truly as it relates to my personal projects. I'm excited to share with you what I'm hearing, what I've learned, and what I've experienced since we last got together. As always, my AMA's are always free! Watch as many times as you'd like. Cheers! RB
Only 12 Spots Available! You will record co-star sides and guest star sides and send them in as a mock audition review with a casting director to get feedback! Exclusively through Stage 32 "5 out of 5 stars!" - Morgan M. Today, more than ever, self tape auditions are an integral part of the casting process. This is even more true in the age of social distancing. And due to the convenience self tapes provide and tight deadlines casting directors often operate under, more roles are cast via self tape auditions than ever before. Understanding how to set up, craft, and shoot a self tape can be the difference between landing more roles and having your talents fall by the wayside. There is a legitimate art form and craft that goes along with preparing a self-tape audition, and it’s not necessarily the same process or skill set as in-person auditions. To 'pop' on the screen and to stand out to casting directors out of all the other tapes is no small feat. And like any discipline, this requires practice, forethought, strategy, and a focus on craft. As the industry continues to move towards more self tape auditions, and now that production is beginning to resume, pilot season is around the corner, and new roles and opportunities are finally available for actors, there is no better time to hone this skill set than right now. 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 is ready to share with the community the skills and lessons he’s developed throughout his career. Over the course of three weeks, Taylor will work one on one with you on practicing and mastering the art of self-tape audition, all from the comfort of your own home. Taylor will begin by breaking down how best to put together your own self-tape, from performance tips to slating to where to place the camera to how to actually export and safely send the video. Taylor will provide you with both costar and guest star sides from current TV shows and work with you one-on-one in a class setting to hone your self-tape audition. Finally, Taylor will hold a mock self-tape audition by sending you brand new sides for you to prepare and tape ahead of the final class. In the final session, Taylor and a currently working casting director will review your tape and offer valuable feedback to take with you. With the casting landscape is changing so much, Taylor will offer vital guidance for you to stay ahead of the curve and do the work right in order to nail self-tape auditions and get the parts you’re after. WHAT TO EXPECT This lab is designed for actors of all levels interested in improving their craft and audition skills This is an in-depth, practical, and detailed lab with one-on-one time with the instructor and significantly more content than a standard 90-minute webinar. ***Only 12 Spots Available*** This class will consist of three weekly sessions. There will be an additional session on the third week where Taylor and a currently working casting director will review your self-tape audition. In this session you will receive valuable feedback and have the opportunity ask questions. Mock audition is strictly for education purposes and not for any employment opportunities Plus, to stay motivated and inspired, you will have access to a private, dedicated Stage 32 Lounge where you can communicate with your fellow classmates throughout the TV project development process. To see the full acting lab schedule, see below under "What You Will Learn". PLEASE NOTE: This exclusive Stage 32 lab is limited to 12 students and will be booked on a first come, first served basis. The opportunity to work this closely and for this long with an award winning and nationally recognized actor is an incredibly valuable opportunity. If you are interested, please book quickly. Once the spots are gone, they’re gone for good. Payment plans are available - please contact Amanda at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information Praise for Taylor's Past Stage 32 Acting Lab: "As a working SAG-AFTRA actor, I've begun to lean toward one-on-one coaching sessions with trusted local resources but my experience with Stage 32 and Taylor Nichols was one of the highlights of 2020 for me. I wish this was an on-going class. As a teacher, I found Taylor to be extremely generous with his time, and refreshingly insightful with his feedback and guidance. In many ways it felt like a one-on-one class but with the added bonus of learning while watching other talented actors of different age groups, and styles work and evolve with Taylor's suggestions. My experience from beginning to end is something I'm grateful for and am now actively seeking out my next Stage 32 class." -Lisa R. "I thought Taylor's Monologue lab was fantastic, he was super friendly and inviting and created a safe place for everyone to comfortably practice and not be afraid of judgement. The class felt like a small little family learning and growing together. I give the class 5 out of 5 stars for being everything I hoped it could be and learned exactly what I needed to learn in it. Which is rare." -Morgan M.
There are a wide array of audition classes, books, and online resources that provide important actor insight and audition technique and etiquette. However, very few actors or industry professionals have an understanding of how the entire casting process works. If you're an actor, you may focused on winning the room. If you're a filmmaker, you may be focused on finding the best performance the quickest way possible. If you're a producer you may be focused on getting the best talent to bring audition to your package. Either way, every person involved with the project controls an important piece of the overall puzzle. If you're an actor it's important that you understand how the entire casting process works so you can build champions, win the room and book more work. If you're a filmmaker or producer, it's important that you understand the casting timeline to prepare for pre-production. Have you ever wondered what happens behind closed casting office doors, both before and after an audition? This is crucial information that helps you determine how you can best contribute to the overall casting puzzle. You need to understand project breakdowns, actor submissions, audition scheduling and director callbacks. You will need insight as to why one actor may be selected to audition over another and you’ll also need to know about the many factors that determine which actors advance in the casting process and ultimately book the role. Marin Hope, CSA is a Los Angeles native and LA-based casting director, who won the 2020 Artios Award for Casting. Marin works alongside Heidi Levitt, casting film, television, commercial, theatre and New Media projects. Some casting credits include HBO's BESSIE starring Queen Latifah, Mo’Nique, Michael K. Williams and Mike Epps, AMERICAN MADE, starring Tom Cruise and Domhnall Gleeson, COMPLETE UNKNOWN, starring Michael Shannon and Rachel Weisz, HOMELAND, starring Claire Danes, THE LAST WORD, starring Shirley MacLaine and Amanda Seyfried, KINGS, starring Halle Berry and Daniel Craig, Bad Samaritan starring David Tennant and Robert Sheehan, WHO WILL WRITE OUR HISTORY, starring Joan Allen and Adrien Brody, and most recently MOLLY, Javier Bardem, Elle Fanning, Chris Rock, Laura Linney and Salma Hayek, which is currently in post-production. Marin has cast hundreds of actors in film, TV, theatre and commercial projects and is back exclusively on Stage 32 to detail the casting director’s process, beginning to end. Marin will walk through the entire casting process from her perspective as an accomplished casting director. She’ll begin by discussing project and character breakdowns, how they’re composed, what details are included, and the various forums and databases these breakdowns are posted. She’ll go over what details actors should not before submitting to a role and how to know ahead of time if you’re right for the role. She’ll teach you how to submit yourself for a role or how to get your agent or manager to do so. Marin will give you an inside look into how casting directors sort through actor submissions to choose who to audition and what elements will help a casting director notice and choose you. Next, Marin will discuss how casting directors schedule actor auditions, how many actors are generally schedule in a single day and what you should do as an actor if you’re unavailable for your audition date or time. She will delve into the process of 1st call auditions, who is typically in the room, what you should expect, how you should prepare, and what the casting director’s process is after a day of 1st call auditions. She will also give you a peek into who views your 1st call audition tapes. Marin will then similarly outline callback auditions, how they work, how they differ from 1st call auditions, and how decisions are made at this stage. Next she will talk about 2nd callbacks, chemistry reads, and test shoots, including how best to prepare for these, how decisions are made at this stage, and what to expect for a test shoot. She’ll delve into what it means to be “put on avail” and how to navigate when you’re “on avail” and when to know if you are “released” or have been booked for the job. Finally Marin will discuss the ultimate step of booking talent, including how you will know if you booked the job, what the process looks like from the casting director’s perspective after getting the green light to book talent, and how you should communicate with the casting office throughout. You’ll learn all of this from an esteemed casting director's perspective, which will give you a unique and valuable understanding of how projects are cast. Praise for Marin’s Past Stage 32 Webinar: Well, done. There are several things I learned which I will incorporate in future auditions. Thanks so much, Marin. -Joseph H. I thought I was just going to revisit what I already know, but Marin brought forth valuable new information. -Michele C. Clear, professional, informative presentation. Thank you!! -Pamela F. I think Marin's webinar is excellent and covered everything that an actor would want or need. I like her no nonsense approach. Takes a lot of the fear factor away. -Sondra C.