Child prodigy in the field of hair styling, is what defines the beginning of the international career of Coraline Gustave, who followed her passion ever since she was a little girl. By the age of 14, she knew exactly what she wanted to do, and with her hard work, talent and perseverance, she showed the world that she was right to follow her instinct.
All the way from a small town in France, Coraline Gustave followed a regular hair styling education from the age of 16, and worked in a salon to perfect her learning. Very quickly, her talent was noticed, and by the age of 18, she obtained her license with honors. Coraline was determined and wanted more. That’s how she prepared for the most prestigious diploma in the field in France : the Brevet de Maîtrise, a national recognition of the highest qualification in the field, and an expertise in the professional techniques. She only needed another 2 years to obtain the diploma. Confident in her work and talent, the young woman was noticed by one of the most successful French hairdressers in the world, who is behind Haute Coiffure Française, and avant-garde concept, Eric Zemmour, when she won in the hair styling competition he held annually to discover new talents.
The launch of Coraline Gustave’s international career
Immediately hired by Eric Zemmour himself, Coraline worked in his salon in the south of France for a year, and worked on stage in Paris in front of hairdressers from all over the world, to present the new hairdressing collections.
Coraline was then approached by a global ambassador of L’Oréal Professionnel, for a position in Krakow, Poland. There, Coraline worked for about 2 years in a new environment and culture, which allowed her to broaden and perfect her technique and creative skills. And learn to speak Polish.
In 2015, she went back to her native region, in Rochefort in Charente-Maritime, where she created her own color technique, called C-Balayage, which became a reference in all the hair salons around the globe.
“The C-Balayage is the color technique that I created. It’s a technique I use to color hair in a different way. It has to be done in two steps. The first step is to bleach the hair to make it lighter and then tone the hair to give the final color. It’s a technique that is really loved by my clients because you can change all your hair color in one session and at the same time the hair looks really natural. It’s a service I can adapt to every type of hair and every hair color.“ —explains Coraline Gustave.
The success of Coraline and her innovative creativity attracted a lot of attention towards her work, and Jose Eber, the most recognized hairstylist in the world, offered her a job in his salon in Beverly Hills, California. He is famous for styling the hair of Hollywood’s stars for four decades, something no other stylist has ever accomplished.
Living the American dream
In 2019, Coraline Gustave obtained her work visa for the United States, and had to learn to speak a third language, English, very fast. But no challenge is too big for Coraline, and she became one of the top hairstyling artist in record time. She’s worked with French and American celebrities, thanks to her unique background and education “à la française“ : The Four Season’s singer Frankie Valli, Kathy Hilton, filmmaker Kenny Ortega, actor Tom Selleck, tv show producer Sid Krofft, French singer Patrick Bruel to name a few. She also worked for the SAG (screen actors guild) AWARDS In 2020, and recently in March 2021, for the GOLDEN GLOBES AWARDS.
Coraline Gustave surely has more projects coming up, and we can’t wait to see where they’re going to take her next…
The Real Housewives franchise on BravoTV.com is watched by many for the lifestyles the ladies lead onscreen. The slice of life of some of the most elite socialites in the world is exciting and aspirational viewing. Each show may be wildly different, but there are some things we come to expect from all of them. So, what is a must for each season of Real Housewives that helps the viewer relate to the wealthy women?
The Real Housewives frequently indulge in game nights or take trips to casino resorts. The New York and New Jersey ladies have visited nearby Atlantic City, while the Beverly Hills and most recently Salt Lake City wives descended on Las Vegas. While casino trips might not be on everyone’s radar, they are considered by many as a luxury trip away. Much the same as how the Real Housewives view them. Sharing the same exciting excursions helps ground the show in realism for the viewer.
As CasinoWings.com shows through their vast range of online casino options, the industry has taken off in the online sphere. Many of the sites include live casino elements, which reflect the immersive experience that one could expect at a resort the housewives may attend. Indeed, the sheer number of sites competing in the market shows how popular the online casino industry has grown.
The casino backdrop in the show provides one rife with drama already. As the tension is high naturally, the cast members are inclined to indulge in drama with one another. The setting provides a perfect destination for secrets to be revealed and long-standing feuds to come to a head, such as the confrontation between Jen Shah and Whitney, Heather, Meredith, and Lisa in Salt Lake City’s premiere season.
The Real Housewives wouldn’t be the Real Housewives if we didn’t see a business take off during the show. Some of these businesses existed beforehand, such as Heather Thomson’s Yummie, but many of the most popular ones from Bethenny Frankel’s Skinnygirl to LVP’s Villa Blanca and SUR were conceived on the show.
The ALL NEW line of Bethenny Eyewear is coming to @HSN tomorrow! #tunein in starting at midnight to see them first😎 You won’t want to miss these fashionable, comfortable pieces at unbelievable prices! pic.twitter.com/HGuLO07rES
Research from the blog at Hubspot.com indicates that 99.9% of American businesses are ‘small businesses’, reflecting the entrepreneurial nature people have. 79% of these small businesses operate as one-person shows.
Entrepreneurial spirit is something that many people can relate to. By seeing stars go through similar predicaments onscreen, it helps us relate to them. It also gives us faith in our own business ventures. They may have a larger platform than we do at home, but that doesn’t mean the show’s focus on business doesn’t inspire. Plus, many of the businesses face catastrophe, such as Sonja Morgan’s numerous ventures. What did happen to that toaster oven?
The Real Housewives is avidly watched by millions each week as we flit from city to state to see different groups of women navigate life. As longstanding viewers (the show began airing with Orange County in 2006), we come to expect certain things from the show to help us digest the drama and keep up with the Joneses. These include casino trips and business launches, both of which reflect some element of our own lives.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, LOS ANGELES, CA, June 6, 2019 — The American Film Institute (AFI) presented the 47th AFI Life Achievement Award to Denzel Washington on Thursday, June 6, 2019, at a Gala Tribute in Los Angeles. Mahershala Ali, Chadwick Boseman, Jodie Foster, Antoine Fuqua, Jamie Foxx, Morgan Freeman, Michael B. Jordan, Issa Rae, Julia Roberts and Cicely Tyson all paid tribute to Washington’s life and work at the Dolby Theatre in the heart of Hollywood. At the evening’s end, Spike Lee presented the award to Washington.
Photo by Kevin Mazur /Getty Images for WarnerMedia
Additional guests included Ed Begley, Jr., W. Kamau Bell, Joy Bryant, Joel Coen, Richard Donner, Ava DuVernay, Cary Elwes, Carl Franklin, Antoine Fuqua, David Alan Grier, Keegan-Michael Key, Martin Lawrence, Frances McDormand, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Paula Patton, Jay Pharoah, Chris Tucker, Edward Zwick, Taís Araújo and Paola Núñez.
Surprise guest Beyoncé presented AFI’s Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal to her frequent collaborator, multitalented film, television and music video artist Melina Matsoukas (AFI Class of 2005). “She is fearless, no matter the challenges, and believes in breaking stereotypes in the industry,” said Beyoncé. “As a woman of color, conformity is not her thing. Her drive, vision, taste level and storytelling are boldly unapologetic.”
Photo by Mason Poole
The evening featured a musical performance from Jennifer Hudson, who sang a powerful rendition of Sam Cooke’s classic, 1964 civil-rights anthem “A Change Is Gonna Come.”
Presenters gave poignant remarks about Washington’s influence on their own careers. Chadwick Boseman said, “There is no BLACK PANTHER without Denzel Washington… because my whole cast, that generation, stands on your shoulders.”
Julia Roberts, who collaborated with Washington on THE PELICAN BRIEF, said, “Working with you was like working with The Beatles. You are the greatest talent of any time.”
Issa Rae, speaking about how Washington’s work informed her own, said, “He embodies and commands every role he takes on. His performances demand you look at every moment. And he dares you to look away.”
“Your gift is to unite us and inspire us, and I want to thank you for leading the way,” said Michael B. Jordan.
Photo by Michael Kovac /Getty Images for AFI
Accepting the award, Washington closed the night by saying, “The least we can do is think about the young people, the future, and individually and collectively do the best we can to try and turn this thing around.”
At the event, AFI CEO and President Bob Gazzale announced the second recipient of the Audi Fellowship for Women, a full-tuition scholarship created by Audi in 2017 to support a promising female director entering the AFI Conservatory. Nicole Mejia will receive the Fellowship, beginning this August in the Conservatory’s prestigious Directing program. On June 10, the inaugural Audi Fellow, Natalie Camou, will graduate at the AFI Commencement. This Fellowship is part of Audi’s commitment to drive progress, and a landmark investment in the future of the storytelling community.
The AFI Life Achievement Award special will air on TNT on Thursday, June 20, at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT, followed by an encore at 11:30 p.m. ET/PT. Sister network Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will also air the special in September, during a night of programming dedicated to Washington’s work. This marks the seventh year the Emmy®-winning AFI special will air on TNT.
Photo by Kevin Mazur /Getty Images for WarnerMedia
About Denzel Washington
Washington’s cinematic legacy includes powerhouse, Academy Award®-winning performances in GLORY (1989) and TRAINING DAY (2001), as well as celebrated roles in CRY FREEDOM (1987), MALCOLM X (1992), THE HURRICANE (1999), FLIGHT (2012) and ROMAN J. ISRAEL, ESQ. (2017), earning additional nominations for each. Washington has crafted compelling, unforgettable characters in recurring collaborations with master directors past and present, bringing stalwart grit and nuanced complexity to films essential to the American canon, such as Jonathan Demme’s PHILADELPHIA (1993), Spike Lee’s INSIDE MAN (2006) and Ridley Scott’s AMERICAN GANGSTER (2007) — and to blockbuster, crowd-pleasing fare such as Edward Zwick’s (AFI Class of 1975) CRIMSON TIDE (1995), Tony Scott’s MAN ON FIRE (2004) and Antoine Fuqua’s THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (2016). A creative force behind the camera as well, Washington has helmed critically acclaimed films, ANTWONE FISHER (2002) and THE GREAT DEBATERS (2007), in which he also stars. He won a 2010 Tony® for his performance in the play “Fences,” and directed, produced and starred in the 2016 film adaptation that earned him Best Actor and Best Picture Oscar® nominations.
About the AFI Life Achievement Award
Photo by Amy Sussman /Getty Images for WarnerMedia
The highest honor given for a career in film, the AFI Life Achievement Award was established by the AFI Board of Trustees in 1973. It is presented to a single honoree each year based on the following criteria as mandated through a resolution passed by the AFI Board of Trustees: “The recipient should be one whose talent has in a fundamental way advanced the film art; whose accomplishment has been acknowledged by scholars, critics, professional peers and the general public; and whose work has stood the test of time.” See the complete list of past honorees here.
WarnerMedia is a leading media and entertainment company that creates and distributes premium and popular content from a diverse array of talented storytellers and journalists to global audiences through its consumer brands including: HBO, Warner Bros., TNT, TBS, CNN, DC Entertainment, New Line, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Turner Classic Movies, truTV and others. WarnerMedia is part of AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T).
About Turner Classic Movies (TCM)
Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is a two-time Peabody Award-winning network that presents great films, uncut and commercial-free, from the largest film libraries in the world highlighting the entire spectrum of film history. TCM features insights from Primetime host Ben Mankiewicz, along with hosts Alicia Malone, Dave Karger and Eddie Muller, plus interviews with a wide range of special guests and serves as the ultimate movie lover destination. Currently in its 25th year as a leading authority in classic film, TCM offers critically acclaimed series like The Essentials, along with annual programming events like 31 Days of Oscar® in February and Summer Under the Stars in August. TCM also directly connects with movie fans through events such as the annual TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood, the TCM Big Screen Classics series in partnership with Fathom Events, as well as through the TCM Classic Film Tour in New York City and Los Angeles. In addition, TCM produces a wide range of media about classic film, including books and DVDs, and hosts a wealth of material online at tcm.com and through the Watch TCM mobile app.
About the American Film Institute
The American Film Institute was established by presidential proclamation in the White House Rose Garden and launched its national mandate on June 5, 1967 — to preserve the heritage of the motion picture, to honor the artists and their work and to educate the next generation of storytellers. AFI’s founding Trustees included Chairman Gregory Peck, Vice Chairman Sidney Poitier, Francis Ford Coppola, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., Jack Valenti and George Stevens, Jr., as Director.
Esther Turan is a force to be reckoned with. She proves this time and again through her roles as a creative producer, director, and the founder of Moviebar Productions. When she’s not directing or producing, you can find her empowering and teaching other females in the industry who are inspired to become filmmakers, directors, or producers. We chatted with Esther about her experience making her directorial debut with BP Underground, the challenges that she faced starting her own film production company, and the ways she is helping to empower women in the industry.
Cliché: What inspired you to get involved in the entertainment industry as a director and producer?
Esther Turan: I kind of journeyed into it because my father is a playwright and my aunt is a famous actress. I fell in love with the atmosphere that I found on the set. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to be, but I knew this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.
Being born and raised in Budapest, what was the vibe that you got once you came to the US? How did you manage to adjust to a new culture?
The first time I visited the United States I was 11 years old, since I have family in Chicago. I have always been Americanized in a way and I have always been interested in American culture. As a filmmaker, I think we all have to admit that at some point you start to dream about Hollywood, and as you know, once you make it in Hollywood then you can make it anywhere. So when I was a trainee in film school in between my freshman and sophomore year, I did an American production for a huge NBC drama and I had the chance to meet some big names. I also had the chance to witness how to make movies in America and I just really enjoyed it.
I use to work a lot with Americans before moving to the U.S. so there was nothing new for me. It’s not like I come from a completely different world, and you and I are probably similar age and listen to the same bands. The only thing I needed to do was adjust myself to American standards.
What was the experience like making your directorial debut with BP Underground?
My journey as a filmmaker started when I majored in TV directing, and then I focused on becoming a creative producer and I was very involved in the creative process of every project that I was working on. After some point of being a producer, I just had a burnout and thought instead of checking on other people’s projects that I wanted my voice to be heard with a message, and I should get it out.
What inspired you to establish Moviebar Productions? What challenges did you face in starting your own film production company?
Moviebar Productions is not a new thing as I established Moviebar Productions 14 years ago back in Hungary and it’s still a running company. Back in Hungary most of the producers were middle-aged men and I felt that it would be an interesting twist if a young woman under the age of 25 established a film production company and let’s see how it’s going to continue. My parents always taught me not to be afraid and have always encouraged me to dream. Eventually, I teamed up with the best production manager in town named Viktoria Trepper because I knew her and she gave me the expertise of physical production.
I always needed to find ways for people to take me seriously. When I first started out as a producer in the film production company, I found that creating strategies was challenging since you always have to adjust your strategies towards trends and what your goals are for the company. For instance, we started out producing television commercials, and then from the local market we created strategies for the worldwide market and then we reached a certain success.
How involved do you try and be in the creative process of films as a producer?
It depends on the project because every project is an individual project. It also depends on how I resonate with the specific director, producers or co-producers.
As a supporter of female empowerment and an advocate leader of women, can you describe your overall relationship with some other female filmmakers? In what ways are you helping to empower women in the industry?
I am very proud of the fact that my film production company is led by women, and I am also proud that I found a woman named Anna Koltay who would later become my co-director for the BP Underground series. However, I still feel that it’s a man’s world.
I am trying to surround myself with younger female colleagues who I can teach. Since the establishment of Moviebar Productions, we raised dozens of female filmmakers in the industry who started out as a trainee or as an assistant and then moved up to being a producer or production manager or line producer.
What’s the assumption or misconception that you’ve heard most often as a woman in Hollywood?
It’s not just my gender but it’s also me being from Central-Eastern Europe. In some cases, I did witness that some men from Hollywood and Western Europe think that women are easy to get and sometimes things get disturbing on set. I have learned to deal with it and if you’re pretty straightforward about your reaction then they will stop.
What has been the most memorable moment in your career?
The most memorable moment for me as a director was when we recently won a prestigious award for our documentary series BP Underground called Highlights of Hungary where the most creative causes and projects of our country are selected each year. The recognition of our work after investing so much energy and time was definitely a sweet moment. As a producer, there is no single moment but many moments of collaborating with some of the best filmmakers in the world. We’ve just finished a feature film with composer Nathaniel Mechaly and directors Björn Stein and Mans Marlind. I also had the chance to work with superb cinematographers such as Hoyte van Hoytema, Anthony Dod Mantle and John Mathieson.
At this point in your life, who was the person who helped guide you to get you to where you are now?
I think it would be my father, Robert Turan, and he is a playwright. He always has a huge interest in my taste and love for art, theater, and movies since I was a child.
What is your number one goal in 2019?
I’d love to continue growing our presence in Hollywood and collaborate with more great filmmakers. My dream would be to sell some of my ideas to the biggest T.V. platforms and creatively being involved in television.
With his first major role on FOX’s The Orville, ten-year-old Kai Wener is realizing his dream of becoming an actor. For Wener, working on the Seth MacFarlane created show, which is wrapping up its second season, has been both a lot of fun as well as a great place to learn the craft. When he’s not busy acting or working, you can find him playing video games online with his family and friends. We chatted with Kai about his character, Ty Finn, the feeling that he got being nominated for a Young Artist Award and his upcoming projects.
Cliché: How did you discover your passion for acting?
Kai Wener: I realized that I wanted to pursue acting as my career path when I was young. I would watch great cartoons on Nickelodeon and Disney Channel and then I would copy the characters from the shows. Besides doing that, I would also mimic the commercials that came on during the shows. Eventually, I realized that acting allowed me to have cool experiences on different sets while meeting some awesome people. I am having so much fun being an actor, it’s a dream come true for any kid.
What’s the experience been like working on The Orville?
The experience working on The Orville has been so much fun and it’s also been a learning experience. I get to work every day with the best cast like Penny Johnson Jerald who plays my mother and Mark Jackson who plays an artificial life form named Isaac. Another great actor who I get to work with is BJ Tanner who plays my brother. Some of the other great actors around me who are apart of the cast are Adrianne Palicki, Scott Grimes, J. Lee, Peter Macon, and Jessica Szohr. Not to mention that I get to learn about things that happen behind the camera from the show’s creator, Seth MacFarlane as well as from director Jon Cassar.
Can you describe your character, Ty Finn? Do you relate to him at all?
Ty Finn is the youngest son of Dr. Claire Finn on The Orville spaceship. He has one older brother and looks up to an artificial life form who is kind of like a robot, but better, named Isaac. Ty has already been through some pretty neat adventures for his age but is still very much a regular kid. He loves his mom and at the same time, will have fun watching his older sibling get in trouble, so yes, I definitely can relate to him.
Why should people watch The Orville?
The main reason people should watch the show is that each episode is like a mini-movie and there isn’t much of that on television at the moment. Each episode has super cool special effects and alien costumes that are realistic and out of this world. The show’s creator Seth MacFarlane makes sure to have a huge orchestra playing the music throughout the scenes. It’s like getting to watch something like Stars Wars or any other great sci-fi movie for free each week.
How did it feel to be nominated for a Young Artist Award?
After season one of The Orville aired, I started to see how many kids and teens loved watching the show and were fans which made me proud. I was able to represent the younger audience the show has by being nominated for an award that is for kids.
What was the best advice about acting that you’ve received and who was it from?
I’ll give you the same advice that my dad tells me. He told me, “As a young man growing up, to never compromise my values for an opportunity. Be patient, success will come.”
What are some types of roles or genres that you’d like to try in the future?
I’ve been working hard on reaching my goal to work on a feature film but I would also love to do some voice over work for a cartoon. I also hope that I will be able to play a superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe…fingers crossed for Miles Morales!
What are some things you enjoy doing when you’re not acting or working?
When I’m not acting or working, I love to play video games. The video game that is my favorite to play right now is Fortnite because it’s a source for me to hang out online with my friends and cousins when I’m not home. I also love to hang out with my parents and older sister at “The “Happiest Place On Earth,” which is Disneyland.
Are there any future projects that you are working on?
I just finished doing a national commercial for McDonald’s that should be airing soon. I’ve also had some great opportunities to read for some awesome television pilots and films. Hopefully, you’ll see me on one of those really soon. Of course, my fingers are crossed for a season 3 of The Orville so everyone can see Ty Finn grow up and go on more space adventures.
America is known for being a melting pot. Since we were founded, we’ve been a refuge for those in search of a home. We have no official language, due in part to this reputation, and we continute today to grow in our diversity in ethnic background. However, this is not reflected in our films and those who fill the roles of characters that happen to be mixed. So we ask the question: Is Hollywood still whitewashing roles today?
It is an issue not particularly given much focus to, but an issue nonetheless. Aloha, a film that is meant to show and represent the rich heritage of the Polynesian islands, casted quite possibly the furthest person away from an Asian heritage: Emma Stone.
The movie was released on May 29th and the story revolves aroud Bradley Cooper’s character Brian Gilcrest, a military contractor. He falls in love with Stone’s character, Allison Ng, through his tour of Hawaii as her as his guide. It’s cute, with a sad undertone.
It flopped its opening weekend, opening at only 10 million dollars — perhaps due to the crushing waves of bad reviews and boycotts by Asian Americans once they found out about the casting.
The director Cameron Crowe apologized back in June for an offense he caused when casting Stone. However, now Stone has recently spoken up about the role when being interviewed by news.com.au,
“I’ve learned on a macro level about the insane history of whitewashing in Hollywood and how prevalent the problem truly is. It’s ignited a conversation that’s very important.”
Supposedly the character was not meant to resemble her quarter chines and quarter Hawaiian heritage, but more so her swedish; hence Stone’s casting.
What do you think about Emma as Allison Ng? Is it relevant or are people being too sensitive. Let us know in the comments below!
You heard that right; The Big Bang Theory star Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting receives star on Hollywood Walk of Fame!
According to E! Online, the actress received her own Hollywood star this afternoon.
During the ceremony, Cuoco-Sweeting joked, “I didn’t write a speech, because I thought I would just speak from my heart and I already started crying in the car on the way over here, so I got that out of the way.”
She told the crowd of fans, “I still think they are going to call and say this was a mistake.”
Cuoco-Sweeting, who wore a pink Monique Lhuillier dress also thanked her husband, family, friends, and former co-worker John Ritter, whom she worked with on 8 Simple Rules.Cuoco-Sweeting actually requested to have her star near Ritter’s, which the city allowed.
On the topic of how Ritter would react to the news of her receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Cuoco-Sweeting answered, “He must be jumping off the walls right now.”
Thanking her husband, tennis player Ryan Sweeting, Cuoco-Sweeting said, “[To] my husband, Ryan, who has also dealt with a lot of Kaley days, you have no idea how much I love you.” She also shared, “This would not be the same without being able to share it with you today.”
Congratulations on your star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Kaley! We at Cliché couldn’t be happier for you.
Say it isn’t so! Of the newest celebs in this hacking scandal, Gabrielle Union falls victim to celebrity nude photo leaks. In the past several weeks various celebs such as Iggy Azalea, Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton have been targeted, hacked and exposed with nude photos and sex tapes being leaked online by unknown sources.
Now, why are these stars being targeted? There hasn’t been a definitive answer for that, however, this is not the first time Hollywood stars have been plagued by the stunts pulled by these online hackers– And from the looks of it, this is not going to be the last.
Former Disney Channel star Vanessa Hudgens and ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians’ star Kim Kardashian, are allegedly under fire– yet again, with newly leaked photos of women that appear to be them, yet these allegations have yet to be confirmed. Although they were previously caught in a whirlwind of tabloid drama, they were able to bounce back and continue their flourishing careers, but will things be the same the second time around?
Surely everyone can agree that those who are hacking and leaking these personal photos are in the wrong, but American Idol runner-up and current Democratic congressional candidate, Clay Aiken, had a bit more to say in his interview with The Washington Post about the latest celebrity hacking scandal– aside from the hackers needing to be “hogtied”. “Anybody who takes inappropriate pictures of themselves deserves exactly what they get,” Aiken expressed. Aiken continues on to say, “And it’s unfortunate that we don’t have internet security right now or the laws in place to protect people from pirating that stuff.”
Hopefully celebs will be more weary of snapping that sexy photo for their significant other because privacy these days is obviously at an all time low. Photos courtesy ofInstagram
It used to be that “the hiring powers” in the entertainment biz would take time out during their hard working day to meet new talent. They were called “generals.” It was free. Performers would either have a simple chat, a prepared scene, monologue or cold read for the casting director, director, agent/manager and/or producer. Companies and studios also used to hold their own “generals” with no cost to the participating talent. For years now, there’s been a profitable twist added to the scenario.
If you ask a young actor what a “general” is, they’ll probably tell you it’s someone in the military. Yeah, ha ha, but it’s really not all that funny. Due to many complaints filed, specific guidelines were mandated for “workshops” and “showcases.” But are these guidelines being followed by the “workshops”?
It’s been a “catch 22.” How do performers meet those that hire, if you can’t get in to audition for them? Easy. You can pay for the opportunity. Ask any actor and you’ll find their opinions are split pros and cons about the subject — whether talent is being taken advantage of, or if they are really being given the golden opportunity to strut their stuff for a fee (anywhere from $40 on up per “workshop”). This type of business has been such lucrative venture, some them have been around for years.
What do people do in these “workshops”? To nutshell, it varies. Often the guest of the evening (usually a casting director, casting associate or often a casting assistant) is given your picture and resume and they hand over a short scene to “cold read” with a partner (usually another actor) in front of the guest and other attendees. You have about 15 minutes to rehearse before performing as if it was an audition. Sometimes the guest has commentaries for the performers, sometimes a chat and it’s regarded as a “learning/teaching experience.” If you go in with the attitude that for every experience, there is something to be learned that’s great. But if you’re sole reason is to be there only for the purpose of meeting a particular guest, then that’s were resentment can creep in and your wallet won’t be the only thing screaming. Especially if you didn’t like the material they handed you or who they paired you up with or…or…
There is one particular bold and outspoken casting director who has stepped out and in front of the pack. Someone who’s been swimming against the stream…rubbing against the grain and defying what’s popular. In short, he’s been making waves. A kind of Lone Ranger among the majority of casting directors. Who is this person leading the way in protecting the underdog and demanding not only the unions be accountable to protect its members, but getting the Los Angeles City Attorney involved to help put a stop to the “abuse”? Billy DaMota, CSA. A well-respected casting director and award winning filmmaker, he’s on a mission, confronting the issues head on. Cliché: So, Billy…your thoughts?
Billy DaMota: I’ve been casting for 29 years, and I can tell you one thing for certain. Actors take workshops to gain access to working casting directors for consideration for acting work on their TV shows, period. Do the actors accidentally learn something in the process? Sure. But if you seriously believe that this is why actors spend $40-$50 to read a 3 minute scene for a casting assistant, you’re smoking some serious crack. Why don’t most of these casting directors just teach a “regular” acting class?
Get a working casting director to come to a place to teach, and have one or two of the 20 actors get up to use as examples of what or what not to do in a casting session. Great class, lots of learning, but only a few actors actually get up and read (kind of like a real acting class). Nope, you can’t do that because unless everyone can get up for the CD to evaluate his or her performance, the class will be empty. Few want to learn. Most want to simply perform for consideration of a job. That in legal terms, is an audition. No audition? Empty seats. Crickets.
Scenario #2: Big shot Hollywood CD, Mary is your guest. She has been casting for a couple of decades, on HUGE films and TV shows. She has just, three weeks ago, retired and is not currently casting. She has a wealth of knowledge, teaches an awesome workshop where everyone gets up to read and gets extensive feedback and evaluation. But no one enrolls in her class, because they’re not there to learn, they’re there to get a job. More crickets. Every actor and every casting director who participates in workshops knows it.
These are my opinions only. Pay as many casting assistants as you like to gain “valuable knowledge.” Pretend and imagine that you’re doing something noble by asking an actor to pay a casting person’s rent when they can’t pay their own. But don’t talk down to actors – and don’t treat actors like they’re stupid. It’s insulting and embarrassing. The emperor has no clothes, dude. What about those rules and regulation guidelines?
I didn’t write the law. I didn’t draft the CSA workshop guidelines. But I think they’re important. I’d like my profession to be recognized for the great work we do, not for taking a fee to attend workshops that may make cast our industry in an unfavorable light. I will spread those facts to my colleagues and to others who care and hopefully they’ll pay attention.
DaMota has more to say about the subject. Soon to be published: An Actor Grovels (Exposing the Casting Director Payola Scheme in Hollywood). Join him on Facebook or visit: http://donotpay.org/
Marina photographed by Ricardo Mamood-Vega
Billy photographed by Alan Weissman