Casting Director Tips: Acting For TV Without a Traditional Script

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


On Demand Webinar - Available for immediate viewing and unlimited access.

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 -

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




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.


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

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.


  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
  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 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

Relevant Tags


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:

How to Navigate the Film Director / Producer Relationship

History is littered with the bones of many failed films which fell apart due to conflicts between the director and producer. While you'll often hear how important it is for a filmmaker to have relationships with all the vital players and department heads on his or her set (and it certainly is), the reality is that the relationship between the director and the lead producer is the one that will begin the earliest and last the longest throughout a particular project. A healthy, cohesive relationship between the film director and the producer will show the cast and crew that a united front has been formed and that everyone is pulling in the same direction. An unhealthy, bifurcated relationship will put the cast and crew on their heels, which will inevitably hurt the project.  Directors and producers are often people of vision and power. Harnessed correctly and collaboratively, that combination can bring out the best in everyone and help to make a project stay on time, on budget, and on message and voice.  Harnessed incorrectly, ego and hubris take over. It may seem obvious that communication is the key to assuring that the relationship flourishes, and that's not totally untrue. But the key to a productive and positive relationship between the director and producer is understanding all aspects of what needs to get done, recognizing what the other person's needs are, defining what's worth standing up for and what's worth letting go, and recognizing that at the end of the day, you're both fighting for the same result. As President of Production at Zero Gravity Management, Tai Duncan oversees film projects from inception to completion encompassing all aspects of development, casting, finance and production. Zero Gravity is a production and management company based in Los Angeles that boasts a strong client list of screenwriters, directors, actors and financiers for feature films and television. Tai recently produced PROUD MARY for Screen Gems starring Taraji P. Henson and HOW IT ENDS for Netflix starring Theo James and Forest Whitaker, HONEST THIEF starring Liam Neeson and THE MARKSMAN starring Liam Neeson. Zero Gravity produced the Warner Brothers, Ben Affleck starring action/thriller THE ACCOUNTANT, the drama A FAMILY MAN starring Gerard Butler and Willem Dafoe and Executive Produced the hit Netflix television show OZARK starring Jason Bateman.   Needless to say, as an on set producer, Tai knows a thing or two about the director/producer relationship including the pitfalls and the paths to glory. Beginning with pre-production, Tai will take you what steps you will need to take from moment one to forge a productive relationship that will last through post and beyond. Tai will talk about the steps you need to make to assure you are communicating clearly and effectively. He will talk you through script notes, casting, hiring crew, location scouting and scheduling. Moving on to production, Tai will teach you how to keep things smooth on set, how t manage disagreements, scheduling and money issues, and the push and pull between what a director wants and what he or she has in the can. Tai will then move on to post, and how to manage expectations during the assembly cut and the director's cut. He will discuss scoring, sound and color, sales and marketing, festival approaches, and even distribution strategies so that everyone is fully communicating and staying on the same page throughout.   "Don't allow a failed relationship, miscommunication or misplaced ego sabotage all the work and effort that's gone in to putting a project together. Cohesiveness begins at the top and must continue throughout the project. I'll show you how to get it done." - Tai Duncan  

How to Market Yourself to a Talent Manager

Acting is such a tough profession. Facing rejection, navigating the Hollywood system, understanding the rules and politics of it all—it’s all hard enough in general, but even harder when you have to go at it alone. That’s why it can make all the difference to have a talent manager. Good talent managers can drastically transform your career as an actor. They have the connections that can get you into rooms and auditions you weren’t privy to before, they can help you prepare for roles and auditions, and they’ll give you the expertise to support you in navigating your own career and finding success long-term. Talent managers are great, but finding one in the first place can be a challenge. Just like with everything else, this comes down to marketing yourself. There are a lot of actors out there looking for representation, and it’s easy to get lost in the crowd. To find a good representative, it’s critical that you stand out. Displaying talent as an actor certainly comes into the equation, but so does marketing yourself correctly and creatively to better pop when a potential manager is looking through potential clients. To do this, it’s important to understand what a talent manager does, how they think, and how they operate. There are ways to get talent managers interested and excited about representing you. Sometimes it just comes down to learning the language. Joe Lorenzo started working in talent management 15 years ago and has since transitioned to Los Angeles, running his talent management and producing firm, Society Entertainment. He currently has working talent on a variety of networks including ABC, FOX, CBS, Showtime and more, streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon and a variety of independent films. With his background as a casting director, Joe has been able to get name talent, name directors, and recognized writers on to projects he is producing. Joe packaged 4 films in 2005, including the feature film GIRLS CLUB with Jaime King, and the Television Movie of the Week, CHRISTMAS AT WATERS EDGE with Keisha Knight Pulliam. In 2006, Joe produced ROCKER, a low-budget indie with his client as the writer and the star. In recent years he produced the feature films NEXT OF KIN in Los Angeles, BOSTON GIRLS in Boston Mass, and THE NO SIT LIST aka BABYSITTERS BEWARE, in Los Angeles. Joe has been managing actors for a very long time and intimately knows what it takes for an actor to land representation. Joe will give an in-depth rundown of how to attract and work with talent managers, from a talent manager’s perspective. He’ll begin by discussing the best ways to get a talent manager’s attention, including the importance of headshots, how to write your resume, tips for a great acting tape, and how to get the right people to give you referrals. Then he will discuss what managers generally look for in clients. Next, he will go over what talent managers expect from the clients they sign, including how best to communicate and the power of honesty. Joe will delve into how managers approach both developmental clients as well as clients that are already currently working with credits. He will speak to the ever-present question of the differences between agents and managers, the different ways each can help you, and how an attorney can also come into play. He will then talk about the different major markets in the industry and how an actor can find success even if they do not live in any of these cities, including mastering the self tape audition and how to ace a live Skype audition. Joe will give you four specific ways to edge out to the competition in the room or on tape and will delve into ways actors can stay current on their own, including creating their own content and being proactive on social media. Finally Joe will give you an idea of how new clients generally start their relationship with their manager, including paperwork you should expect and how to approach initial conversations. You will leave this webinar with a strong understanding of how talent managers operate and more confidence in how better to approach and work with them to bolster your own acting career.   Praise for Joe's Stage 32 Webinar: I loved how straightforward and upfront Joe was about everything. I’m excited to use this to step up my own game! -Leticia G. This was so helpful. It’s great to hear about managers directly from a manager himself—especially one as giving and honest as Joe. -Jeremy H. This was great! I learned so much. -Henry V. I’m so glad I saw this. It really helped me wrap my head around acting representation, which always felt so unwelcoming and enigmatic until I heard it from Joe. -Ashley W.

Actors: How To Prepare To Work With An A-List Director

Actors: Learn how to develop your own preparation techniques from an actor who has worked with A-list directors like Marco Bellocchio, Ridley Scott and more, and whose new film, KIDNAPPED, was in competition for the Palme d'Or at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival! Plus! You'll receive an exclusive handout to help you develop your acting craft.                                                                  This year, Alessandro Fiorucci walked the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival for the premiere of his new film KIDNAPPED, helmed by A-list director Marco Bellocchio. KIDNAPPED was in competition for the prestigious Palme d'Or award, the highest prize awarded at the Cannes Film Festival, as featured in Variety (to read the article, click here). This is every actor's dream, but it took years for Alessandro to hone his craft so that he can enjoy opportunities like this. Perfecting his craft is what got Alessandro his role in KIDNAPPED. In this exclusive Stage 32 webinar, Alessandro will teach you his acting process so you can prepare yourself to work with A-list directors. Alessandro is an actor, director and screenwriter with decades of experience in the entertainment industry. Alessandro has worked with acclaimed directors such as Marco Bellocchio (THE TRAITOR),  Paolo Virzì (MAGIC NIGHTS, THE LEISURE SEEKER), Stefano Mordini (THE INVISIBLE WITNESS, THE PLAYERS), and many others, including working on set for Ridley Scott (BLADE RUNNER, GLADIATOR, ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD). Alessandro attended renowned acting schools "La Scuola delle Arti di Pino Quartullo" and the "Recitare Cantando" school, which is partnered with the "Actors Studio" in Los Angeles. Do you want to take your acting to the next level? From Stanislavsky to Meisner, there are countless schools of thought when it comes to acting training, but what’s most important is that you find a style and technique that works best for you and that will help bring your characters to life. Whether on set, in an audition room, or filming self tapes, it is critical that you hone your craft so you consistently perform your best work. This is what will prepare you to work with A-listers when you earn the opportunity. In this rare opportunity for actors, Alessandro will teach you how you can create your own acting preparation process to ensure you book your auditions and have success on set. Alessandro is here to help you improve your craft and preparation process so your career can flourish! PLUS! Alessandro will provide you with an exclusive handout to help you hone your acting craft. Downloads include: Comprehensive Acting Technique Guide A good actor spends their entire career learning and refining their craft. It all starts from knowing how to explore yourself and your character, and this webinar will provide you with the tools and outlook necessary to help you develop your own technique that will carry you through your career and have you ready when it's time to work with an A-List director!   "As an award-winning international actor and lover of the seventh art, I am so excited to teach you how to create your characters in this webinar!" - Alessandro on teaching for Stage 32  

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, people are going to not only want to help you succeed, but work with you 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. In this exclusive Stage 32 webinar, Jessica brings her unique brand and boundless energy to help you advance your career 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. You'll even learn how to reach out to those you may have previously thought untouchable and show you that no one is off limits! You'll walk away from this webinar with the tools you need to 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.  Praise for Jessica's Stage 32 Education "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.  "Jessica is an amazing teacher and industry professional. 

Your Ultimate Guide to Packaging Your Project - 4 Class Intensive with Handouts

Mentoring in a virtual class setting with Tiffany Boyle, President of Packaging at Ramo Law PC - exclusively through Stage 32! Learn how to attach producers, actors, directors and financing to your project, and get access to exclusive handouts including sample pitch decks, one-sheets and email templates.    The art of packaging—and it is an art—requires juggling many elements at the same time, but it usually comes down to three major factors—attaching a producer or production company, attaching talent (actors and director), and attaching financing. Each is its own unique process, yet at the same time, all are invariably tied to one another—your success with one will usually aid your success with the others. Beyond these three elements, understanding how to pitch your project is vital. No matter how many producers, talent, and other attachable elements you approach, none of it will come to fruition if you don’t have a good pitch and the right materials to send. So how do successfully producer or filmmaker package their project? How can you navigate politics, relationships, and the industry as a whole to secure the elements you need for success? We have you covered. Since joining Ramo Law in 2009, Tiffany Boyle has leveraged her business-oriented sales and packaging skills to bring hundreds of films and documentaries to fruition. Since 2018 alone, Tiffany has optimized clients’ financial and business positions on more than 35 films and documentaries. Through her critical review of content and strategic use of Ramo Law resources, Tiffany creates successful content packaging that bridges the needs of both client and industry demands. In addition to all these skills, Tiffany also served as a co-executive producer and brought in financing for films like SOMETHING ELSE (Tribeca 2019) and ARKANSAS starring Liam Hemsworth and Vince Vaughn. She led the sales and packaging for TRAGEDY GIRLS (SXSW 2017) and FREAKS (Toronto IFF 2018), she brought foreign financing to ASHES IN THE SNOW (Los Angeles FF 2018) starring Bel Powley, and she sold an autobiography to Hulu for development into a limited television series. Tiffany has seen it all when it comes to film and TV packaging and understands what filmmakers need to do to find success with this tricky process. In this advanced level and intensive 4-session class, Tiffany will break down the best practices and the steps you should take in securing attachments in order to give your project a strong, marketable package. In her first session she will focus on the initial step you should take of attaching a producer/production company to help shepherd your project forward. Next Tiffany will walk you through how to get both significant actors and directors to pay attention and get attached to your project. In her third session she will delve into financing and teach you everything you need before you approach financiers, the different types of financing there are, and who to approach to secure funding. Finally, Tiffany will walk you how to present your project by explaining what you should pitch, how you should pitch it, and, when you get that bite of interest, what materials you should send next. Along the way, Tiffany will provide exclusive and valuable handouts that you can take with you for your own projects, including: Sample Pitch Deck One Sheets Sample Outreach Email Templates for Agents, Financiers and Others  

Actors: Stand out to Decision Makers - What You Need to Prepare to Book More Work

You’ve taken the classes, you’ve studied your craft, and even nailed your audition…or so you thought. Ever wonder why you might not be getting certain acting jobs, even though there may be nothing wrong with your acting? The truth is, the jobs don’t always go to the best actors. There are numerous factors that go into casting, the decision ultimately lies with decision makers. So how do you make decision makers choose you? The challenge for many actors is not what they’re doing right, but what they’re doing wrong. You’ve thought about the role, the character’s backstory, even what accent you might put on, but have you thought about who you’re really auditioning for? There’s more to auditioning than just your acting skills. Everything from your tone upon entry, to knowing who you’ll be in the room with when auditioning (i.e., the director, producer, casting director), and even your social media. There’s a lot more to think about than just your acting chops, but fret not, with the right guidance you’ll be able to fully prepare yourself for your auditions. Multi Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and author Shane Stanley has worked in almost every capacity on and off the set with hit shows like ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT and SEINFELD and producing films like Sony Pictures’ GRIDIRON GANG a #1 box office hit starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Shane produced and directed NIGHT TRAIN, which spent several weeks this year as the #1 movie on Hulu. For three years, Shane was Vice President of Sheen/Michaels Entertainment where he produced several motion pictures starring Marlon Brando, Mira Sorvino, Thomas Hayden Church, Donald Sutherland, Marisa Tomei, Sean Penn, John Travolta, and Charlie and Martin Sheen. Shane continues to produce and direct independent films of all levels, and just wrapped production on his latest action thriller BREAK EVEN. Having spent over 30 years auditioning actors, Shane knows better than anyone what it really takes to land acting jobs. In this exclusive Stage 32 on-demand webinar you’ll learn which actors usually end up booking roles and why. You’ll also take a look at your own acting career, what roles you should actually be submitting to and why you may not be reading casting breakdowns properly, discuss cold emailing producers, filmmakers, and casting directors, your acting reel, navigating the audition room, and how social media can be your best friend or your worst enemy. By the end of this webinar, you’ll walk away with more confidence to nail your next audition. Testimonials for Shane's Previous Webinars: "Shane was thorough and encouraging. Easy to listen to and follow. I'll be signing up for other classes he teaches in the future." -Karena K. "Just straight-forward, real, the kind of producer most of us would kill to work alongside." -Clark R. "Shane was relevant, knew what was happening, and could walk the walk." -Chuck R.

register for stage 32 Register / Log In