Thursday, January 27, 2011

Director Elizabeth Spear

Elizabeth Spear is the director of Little Gods, the first feature film to be entirely shot and edited on the iPhone 4. She is a Texas-born award-winning filmmaker, with a B.A. degree in English Literature and Studio Art from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. She is currently earning her PhD in Communication at European Graduate School. We'll talk to Elizabeth about how she made the film and how she's marketing it.

Click here to purchase and watch the movie.

Click below for the interview.

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Director Dan Eberle

Dan Eberle's latest film, Prayer to a Vengeful God, is now available across Canada and the USA through Cable On Demand. We'll talk to Dan about producing and marketing your own independent films.

Click to listen to the interview:

Listen to internet radio with The Casting Couch on Blog Talk RadioActor Paul Vasquez (left) and director Dan Eberle (right) on location in New York shooting Prayer to a Vengeful God:

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Filmmaker Bernard Salzman

Award winning writer / director / producer / cinematographer Bernard Salzman, has collaborated on over one hundred and sixty projects, including documentaries, features, TV Movies and reality TV world wide, for such clients as: BBC, Paramount, Universal, FOX, ABC, CBS, HBO, Showtime and many others. He is the head of Inner Circle Films and Eye Opener Films. He lives in Miami, Florida.

We'll talk to Bernard about the film and TV business, with a concentration on his documentary and reality TV work.

Click below to hear the interview:Listen to internet radio with The Casting Couch on Blog Talk Radio

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Writer Steve Allrich

We're going to start off the new year by talking to an old friend, writer Steve Allrich. Steve is the screenwriter of The Canyon and is currently working on a couple of other projects. We'll talk to him about the Hollywood writing game.

Click below to hear the interview:
Listen to internet radio with The Casting Couch on Blog Talk RadioSteve Allrich

Monday, September 20, 2010

Writer Joel Goldman

From Joel Goldman's website:

I started writing thrillers when one of my former law partners complained to me about another partner. I told him we should write a murder mystery, kill the son-of-a-bitch off in the first chapter and spend the rest of the book figuring out who did it. So, I did and I never looked back. That was in 1992.

Six novels later, the Kansas City native is a successful writer and voice-over artist.

Check out Joel's website here to find out more about his books, including his new release No Way Out.

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Friday, September 3, 2010

Writer Tess Gerritsen

Do book reviewers treat female writers differently than male writers? And which should mean more, anyway: praise from the New York Times Book Review, or avid fans?

Tess Gerritsen:

We commercial authors don’t need the Book Review, but the Book Review needs us. It needs our publishers to buy ad space. Yet fewer and fewer publishers seem inclined to shell out the thirty thousand bucks to buy a full-page Book Review ad. When my publisher and I were discussing the promotional campaign for my latest book, Ice Cold, there was no discussion at all about buying ad space in the Times, even though they’d done it for my prior books. And I agreed with them that buying an ad in the Book Review is a waste of money. Why?

Because readers who buy commercial novels like mine don’t even read the Book Review any more. It’s become that irrelevant to their lives.

Listen to internet radio with The Casting Couch on Blog Talk RadioTess is the bestselling author of 22 books, including eight titles in the Jane Rizzoli/Maura Isles series. The Rizzoli/Isles series is now a show on TNT starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander. For Canadian viewers, Rizzoli & Isles will debut on October 5.

Trailer here:

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Dan Eberle - Writer/Actor/Director

Dan Eberle (The Local) returns to the Casting Couch to talk about his new film, Prayer to a Vengeful God, which opens in October. He'll give us the lowdown on the new movie, how he got it made, and how he navigates the festival scene.

See trailer below.

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Richard Rose - Artistic Director, Tarragon Theatre

Tarragon Theatre in Toronto is celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year. Richard Rose has been the at the helm as Artistic Director since 2002. Tarragon's mission statement is right up this radio show's alley: To create, develop and produce new plays and to provide the conditions for new work to thrive.

Over a career spanning more than 30 years, Rose has directed shows all over the country, including 13 plays at the Stratford Festival, and 30 plays at Necessary Angel Theatre, which he founded.

At Tarragon, Rose has directed a number of shows, including Scorched, Léo, The Oxford Roof Climber’s Rebellion, Humble Boy, Bea’s Niece, No Great Mischief, Simpl, and Remnants. He has also directed productions for seven opera companies and taught at a number of universities and schools, including York University, University of Toronto Drama Centre, Equity Showcase, and the National Theatre School. He is currently Adjunct Professor in the York Theatre Program.

We'll talk to Richard about the theatre scene in Canada, and what he's working on for Tarragon's 40th season.

You can visit the Tarragon website here. The new season's calendar is now available, so have a look.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Matthew Tompkins - Actor and Producer

An actor of both stage and screen, Matthew Tompkins has appeared in numerous feature films, commercials, and theatrical productions. He is also the producer of The Fragility of Seconds and Radiant, which were both released in July, 2010.

Click here for the interview. We talk about Shakespeare, commercial productions, and movies. Matt also has some great advice for independent filmmakers.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Michael Atkinson - Writer & Film Critic

Michael Atkinson's new book Hemingway Cutthroat hits the shelves this month. We'll talk to him about the book, as well as spend some time chatting about movies, and the writing game.

A prolific writer, you can find out more about Michael here. It includes links to his blog and other work.

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Brett Battles - Writer

Brett Battles is the author of the Jonathan Quinn thriller series. His books include The Cleaner, The Deceived, and Shadow of Betrayal.

An avid traveler, Brett has trekked from Ho Chi Minh City, to London, to Singapore, to Paris, to Bangkok, and other exotic locales that are featured in his books. We'll talk to him about Jonathan Quinn, and what it's like as a writer in the thriller game.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mark Preston - The Lettermen

Mark Preston is back on the The Casting Couch to talk music, show business, and the release of New Directions - the Lettermen's latest album. The Lettermen have been touring like crazy for the past year, and have dozens of more tour dates coming up. Mark will give us the view from the road, as well as a sneak peak at a couple of tracks from the new album.

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Michael Bourret - Literary Agent

Michael Bourret returns to Casting Couch Radio. Michael has been a literary agent at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management since 2000. He moved to LA late last year to head D&G's Los Angeles office. We'll talk to him about what's new in the writing world, and what he's up to in LA.

Listen to The Casting Couch on Blog Talk RadioYou can also catch our last conversation here.

michael bourret

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Cliff Guest - Director and Producer

Cliff Guest has been in the film and video industry since the 1980s, directing and producing music videos, commercials and feature films. His credits include videos for Madonna, Aerosmith, Peter Gabriel, and Cher, as well as ads for companies like Proctor and Gamble and The United Way.

Cliff is currently in Florida, developing projects at Knee Deep Films Inc. We'll talk to him about the ever-changing entertainment industry, and his no-nonsense take on the independent scene.

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Arik Abel - Zooppa

Zooppa is the place where major brand names meet new and experienced storytellers. Brands provide a creative brief for the message they want to spread to the world, then award cash prizes for the best ads that Zooppa's members create. We'll talk to Zooppa's marketing director about this new opportunity for filmmakers.

You can learn more about Zooppa here.

Listen to the interview by clicking below.

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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Audition Tips #5

I'm doing another casting call for a corporate pitch, which means I'm looking at a lot of headshots, resumes, and websites. Some thoughts:

1) Actors always seem concerned when they don't have a website. "I need a website...I need someone to build me a website...I wish I had a website..." Nonsense. Blogs and Facebook are easy to use, and they're free. Use them. Add your resume and pics, then send the link when applying for an audition. Actors that don't have a web presence today are simply lazy.

2) It is far better to use a blog or Facebook if your website is cheap and looks it.

3) Don't add music to your website. If your website already has music, remove it. It's irritating to open a webpage and be blasted with a song. The song may be the soundtrack of your life, but it does absolutely nothing to help you land an audition. I would guess that casting directors hear about three seconds of your song before doing one of two things: turning off the volume, or closing the website.

4) The word "headshot" is a little passé, at least in the context of "Send me your headshot." It's a holdover from the days of print photography and the post office. Sending one headshot was simply convenient and inexpensive, both for the actor to send, and the casting director to file. I suggest actors send at least two photographs with the email, and have two or more on their website. The more the better. One should be a close up from crown to chin, the other a full body shot. The rest can be a sampling of everything in between. All of them on one webpage (and from here on out "webpage" means Facebook-blog-webpage-whatever) is the best. The more options, the better.

5) Use the spell checker. It matters. It is especially weird to see websites that have music and flashing lights, but bad grammar and misspelled words. You worried about the wrong things. The music tells me nothing, the spelling actually quite a lot. This morning I received resumes that spelled the following words incorrectly: acting, improvisation, and director.

6) If your page has a bunch of different photographs, with a bunch of different haircuts, it's handy to know which style you're sporting right now. Blonde? Brown? Bob? Shoulder length? Say so. For guys, if you have a beard in some shots, but no beard in others, say whether or not you have to keep the beard due to other commitments, or if you can shave/grow it whenever needed.

7) As I've said before, if you change your hairstyle, you owe money to two people: the hairdresser and the photographer. Never drastically change your appearance unless you're prepared to get new photographs.

8) Photographs from more than a few years ago are probably useless. Discard them.

9) I like to surf the acting blogs and forums to see what actors are thinking. Believe it or not, the stuff written above is not criticism, it is simply opinion. Opinion that I hope will help actors achieve their goals. That said, I notice that a lot of talk on the forums comes from actors that complain about not getting an audition in 6 months or a year. A year! Who would fail at something for that long before coming to this conclusion: "I'm doing something wrong." If your website is the same as it was last year, and your photos are the same, and your email's opening pitch is copy and pasted from every other email you've ever sent to a casting director, then here's a news flash: your approach isn't working. Change the website. Change the photos. Change the pitch. Adapt and experiment.

10) I have an incredibly hard time convincing actors of this next one. No matter how many times I say it, it doesn't happen. Maybe they think I'm stupid, or just plain wrong. Perhaps they're right, but I don't think they're right. What I say is this: "Record some video of yourself doing a monologue or scene, and put it on your website." Never happens. I can't fathom why. All day long you'll hear actors complain that they have no video demo material. Meanwhile, cheap video cameras abound, scripts cost eight dollars from Dramatic Play Service, and writing your own scene is free.

Put the camera on a tripod or, if you can't afford that, put the camera on a table and a stack of books. Sit near a window to get enough light. Don't have the window directly behind you, have it to the side, to add some shadows and definition (watch any TV show where ladies drink coffee in a cafe, then copy the shot). Then do a monologue, or two or three, or ten. Do them only in a head and shoulders shot, so we don't see your living room. Pick the best of the bunch and put them on your website. Being able to hear and see you speak is the most powerful tool you can give to a casting director. Unless you're strictly going for modeling jobs, headshots can't come close to showing what you can do compared with seeing you act. If you're worried that this will look amateur, beat this opinion to the punch by plainly stating, "I like to keep fresh by practicing stuff from a variety of genres." Write this above the video player. Bingo. You've taken away the amateur vibe, and you've shown that you work on your craft. Good all around.

Back to Casting Couch Radio.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Graham Brown - Writer

Graham Brown was born in Chicago in 1969. He grew up in Illinois, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, traveling often with his family. Graham earned a degree in Aeronautical Science from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona and went on to get a law degree from Arizona State College of Law in Tempe.

A pilot and former lawyer, Black Rain is Graham Brown's first novel. He and his wife now live in Tucson, Arizona. You can learn more about Graham and Black Rain here.

Thursday, May 13, 10PM EST.

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Michael Atkinson - Novelist, Essayist, Film Critic

Michael Atkinson is a novelist, poet, essayist, and film critic. His work has appeared in dozens of publications, including The Village Voice, The Guardian, LA Weekly, and

The second book in his Hemingway mystery series, Hemingway Cutthroat, will be in stores and online in August, 2010. You can visit Michael's website here.

Listen to the interview by clicking below.

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Saturday, May 8, 2010

Marsha Moore - 24 Hours Paris

It was great having Marsha back on the show. I interviewed her a while back about her book 24 Hours London. Her new book about touring Paris at any time of the day or night is out this month. We talk about that, and some more exciting news: the release of her first fiction novel.

You can find out more about Marsha here.

Listen to the interview here.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Writer Julie Chibbaro

Julie Chibbaro is back to talk about the writing game, as well as an update on Deadly: The Search for Typhoid Mary. The book is due out in 2011.

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